Renault test driver Nelson A. Piquet discusses various topics Q: What's your relationship with Heikki (Kovalainen)? Nelson A. Piquet. Photo by xpb.cc. Nelson Piquet: I don't have a long relationship with him yet because it has just...
Renault test driver Nelson A. Piquet discusses various topics
Q: What's your relationship with Heikki (Kovalainen)?
Nelson Piquet: I don't have a long relationship with him yet because it has just started and we don't see each other all the time. We see each other in events like this and we don't really have time to socialize. He seems a little bit shy and into himself, too, more or less like all the Europeans compared to Brazilians. It's not as easy as having relationships with Brazilians like Ricardo (Zonta).
Q: Do you think you can learn something from him?
NP: This year I'm going to learn from the race drivers, what they are going to do on track, what's their behaviour, their answers to things. They're going to be all examples for me, not to do mistakes for next year and to learn how to deal with things.
Q: Which are your first impressions looking at the new car?
NP: It's difficult to say, I mean, the painting is beautiful, it's got beautiful sponsors, but mechanically and drive wise, we will only know on track when we're driving with somebody else. Or even only in Australia because it's very difficult to know what teams are doing before the first race. In Australia everybody will know how the car is.
Q: In your opinion, which are the favourite team and driver for 2007?
NP: It's difficult to say. Good drivers went to teams which were not the favourite, the favourite teams doesn't have a world champion driver now, it all balanced a bit. Maybe for us it looks like to have a bit more of an advantage, but we never know. I still think McLaren and Renault are going to be very strong.
Q: What were your impressions driving last year's car?
NP: For me, the first time I drove at Silverstone was very very good, the car for me is quick, is not very difficult to drive compared to a GP2, I got used to it quite quickly and after the three first days of testing it was like I settled in the car one month before and I had tested every day. I was very comfortable with the car.
Q: You also had the chance to drive the new GP2 car. What do you think about it?
NP: It's not changed. They have a little different wing in the back but it doesn't change a lot. It's to make something different for this year and to improve a little bit the aerodinamic of the car. It's not a big change.
Q: Which is your opinion about GP2 overall as a championship?
NP: It's a very good championship. It has a margin to get better, of course, because there are still a few teams which are investing much more than others, and it's very expensive, but there's nothing close to it that can bring drivers to Formula One. I think they had Formula 3000 which was a quite good car, but GP2 is the closest to Formula One they've ever done, I think comparable with the Formula Two of the 1970s.
Q: Will you drive on Fridays?
NP: That's something which is going to depend on how the team is working and how the results are, so I'm not able to answer now.
Q: How would you describe your driving style?
NP: I think I'm a driver who doesn't risk like crazy, I don't crash a lot, I'm more cautious and careful.
Q: You are undoubtedly talented, but some people say you are not a hard worker. What do you think?
NP: A GP2 car is much more physical than a Formula One car and I have been perfectly well in all the GP2 races. To be physically fit for a Formula One car you need to drive, to test, not to spend lots of hours a day in the gym. If I spend a lot of time in the car I'm going to get more fit, but changing the car for a gym is not the ideal situation. I try to do a lot of go-karts and other kinds of sports, but you're going to see when I race how fit I am.
Q: How confident are you that you're going to be on the grid next year?
NP: I'm sure somebody is going to give me the opportunity to be on the grid next year, because I have done a good job to now in the testing and again in the next tests I'm going to try to keep focussed, not to do mistakes, not to push too much, to help the team as much as I can and to prove that I'm a good driver.
Q: If someone of the backmarkers gives you the chance, are you going to take it or do you prefer to test for a top team?
NP: It depends on the contract.
Q: Your father once said that it's better to test for a top team than to race for a backmarker.
NP: Of course, in your first year that's the case. In the future, you're not going to keep forever testing and one day you are going to do like Davidson, to go to a bit worse team but trying to have a shot and becoming a race driver. It depends a lot if it's your first year in Formula One or the fourth-fifth year.
Q: What do you think of Lewis Hamilton?
NP: He's a good driver. The only difficult thing for him is that he's going to learn all the circuits again and having a very strong driver next to him. For sure he's going to do well, maybe not in the first year because it's very very difficult, but he's definitely a good driver.
Q: As a Brazilian, which is your favourite football team?
NP: My favourite team is Brazil Sao Paolo, but I just hate football. I don't like playing it, I don't like watching it.