Giancarlo Fisichella answers questions ahead of his final race for Sauber
Q: The Brazilian GP will be your last race for Sauber Petronas, what are your feelings?
Giancarlo Fisichella: It's been a very good year for me. There is a very good feeling with all the guys, from the mechanics and the engineers, to the guys who work in the kitchen. It's going to be a special race for me, first of all because I won in Brazil last year, and then it's the last race of the year and my last with Team Sauber Petronas. I am looking forward to it, obviously, but I will be really sorry to leave this team. But that's life, that's Formula One.
Q: How did the season go from your perspective? Did the results meet your expectations?
GF: In the races the car was very competitive, really good. It was consistent. We struggled a little bit in the qualifying sessions to get the best out of the tyres, apart from the last races when Bridgestone brought a new construction. That really helped. We were able to score good points, and to be competitive, which is what I had hoped for when I joined the team.
Q: What was your best race of the season?
GF: My best result was fourth in Canada, which was my most satisfying race. I wasn't quite last getting off the startline, but I had a problem with the anti-stall device and lost lots of positions before fighting back to finish fourth. Even Silverstone did not start off as one of the best; I started last on the grid and finished in sixth position. I had a problem in the pit stop and lost one position against Montoya. However, the pace was very, very competitive, and we did well. They were satisfying races because I was able to drive so hard and finish strongly despite these problems.
Q: How does the Sauber Petronas C23 from the end of the season compare with the one you started in Melbourne?
GF: It was a big, big improvement. We made some big steps forward. For the first three races the car was not quick enough. We had to learn how to make it work, the team and me. Then from Imola they really started to do a fantastic job as the wind tunnel at Hinwil became operational. With each race there were new aerodynamic components on the car, and we got quicker and quicker. The best part was the new bodywork at Silverstone, that was an especially big step forward. All through the year the team did very well.
Q: How would you describe Sauber Petronas as a team?
GF: It is a very, very good team. Considering that it is a private team, they did a fantastic job this year. They did good development, and the wind tunnel at Hinwil in which they invested so much really paid dividends. The atmosphere in the team is one of the best I have ever known. I worked with Minardi, Benetton and Jordan and in all of them it was very nice, but here there is less pressure. The feeling with the mechanics is fantastic. They really believe in me. The job I did this year was very good and we did some very good races, and I think as a result of all this that 2004 has been one of the best-ever seasons for Sauber Petronas and one of the most enjoyable for me.
Q: It's been a remarkable season for you, and the performance of the car has helped you to rejuvenate your career.
GF: Absolutely! That has been very gratifying. The best result for me this year was fourth, which may not be impressive compared to some, but all the paddock knows that Sauber Petronas is not a works team with unlimited resources. And in a few of the races, for example, I started from the back and finished in the points. These were very impressive results, and this is one of the reasons why teams like BMW-Williams and Renault wanted me for next year. That is all thanks to the car that Sauber Petronas gave me.
Q: What is your goal for the final Grand Prix of the season?
GF: Obviously it would be nice to repeat last year's result! But realistically we are able to score points and I would really love to finish my time with Peter Sauber's team by getting on to the podium. It would be a fitting way to say thank you for a great season.