Maranello, March 24th 2009 - It was a long wait, longer than usual, as the Australian GP’s date had been moved, but now we’re ready to race and I can’t wait.
Last week everybody spoke about the classifications and the point system with changes introduced and then recalled. I think the best idea was the one presented by the teams, where the GP winner would have taken a lot more points than the second. If the FIA didn’t like this idea I think it’s better to remain with last year’s system. I’d say that the rule to assign the title to the driver who wins the most races is not correct. A driver might win more races, but might be very inconsistent in his performance, not gaining many points; in this case I think he wouldn’t deserve the title. In case the difference in points for the winner and the second-placed would be bigger, there would be a bigger stimulus to fight for the win, but one would still have to be consistent during the season. We’ve 17 races in these Championships, this is not a 100 metres sprint at the Olympic Games where everything happens in under 10 seconds. And I’m really not interested in the fact that with such a system I would have won the title last year. I’m interested in what’s right for our sport.
I’m going to Australia with great confidence and optimism, but also with some caution: the test results are not always repeated during the race weekends. We’ve seen during the tests that there are also some other very strong teams, especially in the last sessions the Brawns. It seems that they’ve got the fastest car at the moment and I think that their pace is real; maybe they found something that makes the difference. We’ll see in Melbourne; but I think they’ve got a good car and they did their tests with the right weight.
There are many new elements this year we’ve got to work with from a technical point of view. We’ve worked very hard during the winter tests and now we can say that their use is normal. For example the possibility to adjust the front wing’s flap via a button and the manettino on the steering wheel: I don’t know yet if it will help to facilitate overtaking due to the lower downforce on the front when driving in a slipstream; during the tests we couldn’t really try that out. As far as the KERS is concerned I have to say that it’s a very important device for us and it will be also very helpful. I’m enjoying working with all these new solutions: they make driving much more interesting. The most important change and also the most enjoyable one are the slicks. When the tyres are used the car skids much more compared to last year, but that’s not a problem, because due to the higher mechanical grip it’s easy to keep them under control. With last year’s tyres, when you had a little bit of oversteer, the car suddenly skidded, while with the slicks it’s somehow more progressive and easier to correct the movements.
I’m 100% ready, perfectly in shape and I think that this also applies to the Team. We made some mistakes last year and we’ve been working hard all winter long to improve where we weren’t perfect.
Everybody worked hard, analysing the mistakes, trying to find solutions. I think we’re very well prepared and that we’ve done some great work.
My teammate is still my strongest competitor and I think that Kimi will be very strong - as usual. My goal is very simple: I want a season like in 2008 and to reach that goal I have to stay concentrated and work very hard. The first race is always a bit like a leap in the dark, but I can’t wait. As the race starts at 17:00 let’s hope that it won’t also end in the dark!