I have had a busy time in the run up to this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, which will be so important for Ferrari’s chances in the fight for the World Championship title. Last weekend I returned to Budapest and the Hungaroring, for a Ferrari event, which was very enjoyable. It is strange that, although I am Brazilian and I live in Monaco, Hungary will forever be an important part of my life ever since what happened there last year. More unusual, is the fact that I now seem to get a great welcome from the people whenever I go back, which I appreciate very much. Over the weekend, I drove some demonstration laps in last year’s F60 and also drove a Ferrari California road car and I was pleased to be able to give the doctor who looked after me in hospital there a ride in this fantastic car around the race track.
Last week, I also went to Maranello, where I met with my engineers to discuss technical matters relating to Monza and also did a session in our simulator, in preparation for this weekend. It is obvious that the fourteenth race of the year will be very important for the Scuderia, not just because of it being the home race, but also because of the current situation in the championship. In Spa, given everything that happened in the race there, finishing fourth having started sixth was a good result, but in terms of the points situation, we needed more. So, looking at the championship, there will be some pressure this weekend, although I have always felt that the spotlight that falls on Ferrari in Monza is a positive thing and I enjoy seeing all the red flags, hats and T shirts and hearing the noise of the tifosi cheering, whenever we leave the pits. From a personal point of view, Italy is definitely my second country after Brazil, as my grandfather emigrated from Italy and I even hold an Italian passport.
I have never done very well in the Italian Grand Prix and in fact my best finish is just a sixth place in a wet race in 2008. All the same, I like the track even if I have not had much luck there, like in 2007 when I was in the top three but did not finish the race. I have won in Monza, because I spent much of my early career racing there, with two victories in Formula Renault and one in Formula 3000. The track is now unique on the calendar in requiring very low downforce, so the car is very different to the rest of the year, running with very small wings, which means it needs to have good mechanical grip and work well on the kerbs. I think our car should be competitive here, or at least I hope so, because usually the F10 has gone well this season on tracks that feature hard braking at the end of straights, into slow corners, such as Bahrain and Hockenheim and even in Canada. I am looking forward to the weekend, because it is nice to end the European part of the season at such a great circuit.