One day to be with the team, to analyse in detail every moment of these first two Grands Prix of 2012, to understand how and why things did not go the way we wanted in Australia and Malaysia. I changed my plans and came to Maranello after the race in Sepang, with this purpose in mind. I met my engineer Rob Smedley and I spent a lot of time with Pat Fry, going over everything that happened, because this is the only way I think we can understand the reasons behind these two bad weekends. I am disappointed, there is no denying it: not scoring any points in two races hurts, but now it’s time to turn the page. It’s the not the first time I’ve gone through a difficult moment like this and I know well that things can change quickly, but now is the moment to do my utmost because I want this negative period to come to an end. I want things to return to normal, to a situation in which I can show my talent as I have always done and as the team knows I can do. I was very happy to read and hear what was said by President Montezemolo, our boss Stefano Domenicali and my team-mate Fernando. Their words did not come as a surprise, because I know I can count on the support of what is a real second family for me, which is what Ferrari has been to me for all these years. I feel there is confidence around me, that the team is united in its support for me and that is very important. Now I want to transform that into results to pay back all this support. Now, I am heading home to Monaco to spend a few days with my family, then next week I will be back in Maranello for further meetings with the engineers and for a bit of time working on the simulator. Pat ran through with me the details of the F2012 development programme and we hope we can slightly improve our performance already in Shanghai. Both there and at Sakhir, one of my favourite tracks, we will once again be fighting on the counter-attack, trying to fine tune the car as well as possible to make the most of any opportunity, just as Fernando did in Sepang. The championship looks like being long and closely contested, with many teams seemingly able to fight for the top places and it only takes a little to find yourself in the front or the back. We hope we can make good progress as soon as possible and put ourselves solidly in the lead group!
This morning I arrived in Melbourne. The journey from Sao Paulo is very long: first you go to Santiago in Chile, then a long hop as far as Auckland in New Zealand, which is the final stop before we arrive in Australia. It’s funny: you lose a day because you cross the International Date Line heading West, and I’ll have to take the journey back the other way to get it back again! Today I had some rest after so many hours in an aeroplane and I tried to adapt quickly to the different time zone. My father is here with me: it’s always nice to have him alongside me at a race weekend. So we’ve arrived at the first grand prix of the year. I can’t wait to get started and I believe that wish is shared with all my fellow drivers. We racers miss competition like crazy and six days of testing are definitely not enough to satisfy our desire to race. I am very curious to see how things will go here in Melbourne. I believe it’s never been as difficult as this year to have a precise picture of the situation based on the winter tests alone: we will begin to learn the truth only in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying when we are all in the same conditions. I already said this last week in Sao Paulo: in my head is the thought that we can fight for the podium but that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with what Pat Fry said in Barcelona. I know perfectly well that the tests didn’t go as we’d hoped because we had some very ambitious targets in terms of performance. We had some problems getting the best out of the exhaust system we had chosen and we had to go for a makeshift solution. That cost us precious time and obviously also a bit of performance. Only in the last two days could Fernando and I do some true and meaningful work on the set-up of the F2012. I remain convinced that this car has great potential: we must just find the way to get everything from it. We hope to start doing that as soon as this weekend at Albert Park! I like this city. There is a nice climate, hot as I like it: today it was over 30°C, a temperature very similar to Sao Paulo. The fans also have a lot of enthusiasm and it’s always nice to see so many Ferrari flags in the grandstands, which are as packed as this in few other circuits. According to the weather forecast, tomorrow evening it will freshen up a bit and there could be some rain on Thursday but it should stay dry for Saturday and Sunday. At this year’s tests we only had a couple of hours of running on a wet track on my last day at Barcelona so it’s hard to have an exact idea of how the car behaves in those conditions. I’ve never had much luck at Albert Park. I’ve only managed to finish the race in the points three times in my nine appearances at the Australian Grand Prix. One of those was on the third step of the podium two years ago. It would certainly be fantastic to manage that again but I know that it will be difficult. There’s a great field of competitors: it’s not just Red Bull and McLaren who are strong. Other teams from Mercedes to Lotus to Force India and Toro Rosso could have their say. Everything’s there for the taking, from the first laps in qualifying. One way or the other, I can’t wait to get on the track!