Maranello, 20th May 2008 - In a couple of days, I'll be on track for the first practice of the Monaco Grand Prix. I have to say I am looking forward to that, because my testing at the Paul Ricard circuit last week did not go particularly well as heavy rain affected my day of running. I was supposed to be working on the Montreal settings for the F2008, but I only managed three laps in the dry on old tyres before it began to rain. I did 15 laps in the wet, but it was very difficult to do anything meaningful. But at least the team got the two days before that running in Monaco configuration with Kimi and the results look reasonable.
It will not be an easy race this weekend and we can expect McLaren to be strong as usual, although I think we can be on the pace too. But we have to wait and see what happens on Thursday because it is difficult to say what we can expect from ourselves and the opposition. Even if we ran on the short track at Ricard, designed to simulate some aspects of Monaco, it still is not the real thing. Monaco is unique and impossible to recreate exactly the same track characteristics, so there are some unknown factors going into the weekend.
In general, I think the Scuderia is in better shape than it was before this race twelve months ago. I hope so as well! But you never know. Last year, even though I finished on the podium in third place, it was not what I would consider a good race because we were a long way off the pace of the McLaren, so I am looking forward to being stronger this year. One unknown as usual is the weather and the forecast is predicting rain at various times over the race weekend. Rain at Monaco makes it a big big lottery and it is impossible to predict anything and without any electronic driver aids such as traction control, it will be even harder.
I have to admit that this is not one of my favourite circuits. In terms of driving pleasure, I prefer the fast flowing places like Turkey, Bahrain and Barcelona for example. But that does not mean we cannot be strong here. We will prepare as well as possible and try and bring home as many points as possible. You always find tracks you like more than others, but this does not mean you cannot be competitive at those you are not so keen on.
One thing I really do like about Monaco is that I can stay at home every night. It is really good and as I live quite close to the track it does not take me long to get to the pits in the morning. I really enjoy returning home, which makes a pleasant change from all the hotels we stay in throughout the year.