"End the season with flying colours" Last weekend, Nicolas Prost finished first and third in the Spanish F3 Championship on the Valencia circuit. He talks about his season and his ambitions for the future. Q: Nicolas, how's your F3 season ...
"End the season with flying colours"
Last weekend, Nicolas Prost finished first and third in the Spanish F3 Championship on the Valencia circuit. He talks about his season and his ambitions for the future.
Q: Nicolas, how's your F3 season going?
NP: Overall, very well. I really feel at home in Adrian Campos's team where everyone backs me up. So far I think I've had a very good season. I've always qualified in the top 4 and my results have been consistent. I'm now lying third in the championship. In terms of pure performance I'm on the same level as the two Tec-Auto cars but unfortunately I haven't been lucky at the start of the season and that cost me precious points.
Q: What are your ambitions for the rest of the championship?
NP: I want to finish in the first three. I'd like to set some more pole positions and win more races. Jerez and Barcelona are circuits that I like very much and I hope I'll be battling for victory there.
Q: Is F3 the best school for learning to drive single-seaters?
NP: That's difficult to answer, but I know I've made a lot of progress since I began racing in F3. This type of car enables you to learn a lot about both set-up and driving skills. In addition, the overall level of the Spanish F3 Championship is very high and you really have to push to find those last tenths. That's how you progress.
Q: You also raced in your first Le Mans 24 Hours this year...
NP: It was an incredible experience, really a great race. The circuit's difficult and you have to approach it with humility. At the start of the 24 Hours I didn't take any risks because we had to avoid making mistakes at all costs. I put myself under a lot of pressure. The team had been working flat out for months and we had to finish the race to pay them back. Nonetheless, I was soon able to up the pace and I finished at the same rhythm as the quickest in the GT1 category. So it was a very positive experience.
Q: Would you like to go back to the Sarthe? In another category, perhaps?
NP: Yes, I would. I'd really like to win the Le Mans 24 Hours one day. Competing in this race in a GT is a real pleasure. I can just imagine how the drivers feel at the wheel of an Audi or a Peugeot! You can only dream about racing in a prototype like that.
Q: Does your father help you on a day-to-day basis?
NP: Yes, he always backs me up, and he helps me a lot. He gives me advice in every area to enable me progress on a consistent basis. What's more he's less on edge when he attends my races! It's a good sign!
Q: How would you describe your approach to driving?
NP: I think I'm a very methodical and concentrated driver. I listen a lot and I always try to progress. It's very important for me to have good communications with my track engineer. As for my driving style I'm what's called a late braker. My tendency is to want to attack the corners too much.
Q: You recently tested with the A1GP Team France and were given the post of rookie for the 2007-08 championship. A new challenge?
NP: Yes. It was a great experience. The car's fun to drive and the team really made me feel at home. I was soon on the pace during testing at Silverstone. This season I'm going to take advantage of the Friday sessions to find my marks and help the team to optimise the set-up. I hope I'll be able to do some races soon, but the priority is to be very competitive as Team France is after the title.
Q: Are you already thinking about next season?
NP: For the moment I'm concentrating on the end of my F3 season as well as A1 because I want to do well in both programmes. For next year I'm looking at different options. I talk to my father a lot about these things. GP2 is a possibility but the cost of a season in this championship is very high. I'm also very interested by endurance as the cars are exceptional to drive. Should the opportunity arise I'd like to race in the prototype category.