After all the talk about how cold it might be at the Nurburgring with this race being much earlier in the year than usual, I couldn’t believe it when I got of the plane and found how warm it was. You can understand that, coming from Brazil, cold and rain is not really my scene, so already the weekend is looking good. We had some fun on Wednesday night when the whole team went to Michael’s kart track in Kerpen. I’m told this is an annual tradition for the guys, as it’s the nearest race to his home town. For me it was my first visit and it really was fun to see everyone in the team so relaxed and enjoying themselves.
But it’s been back to work today at the track, with engineer meetings and tyre briefings and of course, the media. During the weekend, having to talk to the journalists and TV can be a bit distracting, as you only really want to concentrate on your driving. But the Thursday meetings, with no actual track time on this day, are more relaxed and, as I know most of the journalists pretty well, I actually enjoy doing it. We always start with the TV interviews, which I do standing up against the board with all the team sponsor names on. After all, that is why they sponsor the team. With TV you have to be fairly serious with your answers, but after that, I sit down for a chat mainly with the Italian journalists and we can actually have a bit of a laugh and a joke. They are quite a mixture, with some of them interested in all the tiny technical details, others still want to talk about the last race – when to be honest, I’
This weekend, those of you watching on TV with extra good eyesight might notice that I have a new race engineer working with me, Rob Smedley. Up until now, I had been working with Gabriele Delli Colli, but the team decided I needed a change. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed working with Gabriele and he certainly knows his job. But you know, the relationship between a race driver and his race engineer has to develop into something almost telepathic and this was not happening. Maybe it’s because we both have Latin temperaments that can sometimes, like identical magnets, clash when you put them together. Rob is no stranger to me, as I have worked with him at several test session, including the long one we had in Bahrain before the start of the season.