Enrique Bernoldi is Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's latest recruit. The 25-year-old Brazilian competed in 28 Grands Prix for Arrows between 2001-02 and now has joined the B.A.R test team. With the race team facing three fly-away Grands Prix in Asia and...
Enrique Bernoldi is Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's latest recruit. The 25-year-old Brazilian competed in 28 Grands Prix for Arrows between 2001-02 and now has joined the B.A.R test team. With the race team facing three fly-away Grands Prix in Asia and South America, Enrique will play an a vital role in two forthcoming European tests at Jerez in Spain. Last week he joined B.A.R at Silverstone and, as part of his familiarisation programme, was given a dozen laps late on Thursday afternoon.
Q: Did this B.A.R offer come out of the blue?
Enrique Bernoldi: No. My manager knows David Richards well and they've been talking for several months. So, we were already in discussions when this opportunity arrived.
Q: What is your programme?
EB: I had a chance to drive the car briefly at Silverstone then the two tests in October at Jerez - so far, that's what's been agreed. The team has an option on me thereafter so it can decide what it wants to do with me. For the moment, I'm concentrating on those two tests; hopefully they'll go well and we'll see what happens later. I'm very motivated.
Q: Are you looking for a B.A.R test contract for 2005?
EB: Obviously, I'd like that. My ambition is to get back into F1. The team, as I say, has an option on me and I will do my best to help on development for the rest of this season. Then, obviously, I'm really keen on continuing next year. It's not up to me - what's up to me is to do my best to help the team as much as possible.
Q: With B.A.R locked in a battle with Renault for second place in the constructors' championship, this is an important time for the team. What can you contribute?
EB: I did nearly 30 Grands Prix, so I know how to drive an F1 car. It might take a little time as I've been away for two years but I believe my experience will benefit the test team and I'll be doing as much as I can to ensure B.A.R finishes the year in second place.
Q: What are your first impressions of Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda?
EB: I did a short shakedown in the wet at Silverstone before Monza and have had a seating fitting but I'm already getting to know the team and the engineers. So far, it's been great.
Q: Do you feel that you weren't allowed to show your full potential at Arrows?
EB: If you consider in my first year I did 17 races and only got to the chequered flag just six times, it shows I didn't get much of a chance. The car had a bit more performance in the second season but the team was going down financially so we couldn't develop anything. On top of that we had some bad luck. I was running sixth at Silverstone when the driveshaft failed and sixth also in Malaysia when the car ran out of fuel. So I could have scored points and, at that stage, that would have been massively important for me and the team.
Q: So, do you regard F1 as unfinished business?
EB: Absolutely. I was test driver at Sauber for a year and then had those two seasons with Arrows. Now I'm in a rather different position - I'm here to help develop the car and I'm really willing to do that and to start again in F1. B.A.R is a great team, so I'm really looking forward to getting back into a car and contributing as much as I can. It's the first time in six years since F3 I've been in a good team.
Q: After Arrows' demise, why did you decide to take a step down to compete in the Nissan World Series?
EB: Nissan is the fastest formula outside F1 - they're quicker than F3000 and the series has some good drivers, too. I know some others would have sat back and waited for a F1 recall but I decided it was best for me to keep racing; to be doing qualifying; to be active and to keep fit. I think that was the right choice as, when an opportunity like this happens, I'm ready to drive the car. Besides I've had a lot of pleasure in Nissan. I joined a very small team and together we've become race winners. I'm currently second in the championship with eight races left.