It has been a busy few weeks, with Indy following on immediately from Montreal and now, I have just finished a day’s testing at Silverstone, after Kimi did the first two days, so at least I got a little bit of rest before getting back in the car.
“When you look back to Canada, maybe we were not quite as quick as the McLarens, but in the race I was ahead of Alonso and maybe I could have finished on the podium, which would have been a good result, even if it had not been possible to win. Our aim there was to get as many points as possible, even if we could not match the pace of our competitor. But what happened there, when I was basically disqualified because of missing a light, which cannot be seen as a dangerous thing, I still find hard to deal with. But let’s forget about that now.
“As for Indy, we looked slightly more competitive, if not quite on the pace of our rivals. Finishing on the podium was not a complete disaster. Looking back at the last two races, if it had not been for that problem in Montreal, then the championship would still be completely open. Now, it is still open, but not looking quite so straightforward and we have to be careful not to make any mistakes. If you look at the recent past championships, sometimes we had two weekends better than Renault and sometimes it was the other way round. The competition was very close right to the end of the season. This time, even if our rivals have been better than us over the past couple of races, I think we can fight back and that is what we have been working towards back at the factory and over the past three days at Silverstone. I think we have some good ideas for the next upcoming races, which can change the situation. But we have to ensure we make no more mistakes and it would be nice to think it is time for our rivals to make some mistakes to give us a bit of breathing space. At Silverstone, we tried a new aero package and I immediately felt it was working well and I was very happy with the balance of my F2007.
After a few days at home to relax in Monte Carlo, it is time to head for Canada for these two races one weekend after the other. It is always an enjoyable part of the calendar for me. My record at the Montreal circuit is not so bad: I had a fourth place with Sauber which is not such a bad result and last year, I was fifth. Because of the location of the circuit, you could say it is something of a city track, but it’s nothing like Monaco! If you look at the speed we are doing it is much higher and although they are quite near, the guard rails are not right on the edge. What it does have in common with the last race, is that it is a circuit where you cannot afford to make mistakes as you can crash quite easily.
As it is a medium downforce track, it is important to have an efficient car here, which offers good mechanical grip as well as good aerodynamics. In other words you need a bit of a compromise and that can either work out very well or not be so good. In our case, I think the F2007 will run as a very strong package in Canada and actually, also in Indy, where Ferrari has also had good results.
One difficulty in the Montreal circuit is that it is not used much so its grip level changes dramatically throughout the weekend, so you have to be careful not to chase the set up too much. It is also useful to have a car that is comfortable riding the kerbs as you have to use them here to get quick laps. It is a circuit where a good package can deliver a very good result. Another important point is that this weekend is the second race in the engine cycle and, although you can never be one hundred percent sure, I think we have an engine that is strong in terms of reliability and added to that is the fact we did not push it too hard in Monte Carlo.
This is one of the nicest places we visit: I really like the city of Montreal and the people seem very open, so I am always happy to go there. Plus, the local people love Formula 1 a lot, thanks to the Villeneuve family of course. This year is a special anniversary for them and they did a lot to promote Canada and make Formula 1 popular there. I am looking forward to seeing Jacques, with whom I have a good relationship since we were team-mates. He is a very special guy with a special character, but when you get to know him, he is a very nice guy. I was happy to work with him at Sauber and hopefully we can spend some time together this weekend.