Fisi's No. 1 Mechanic spills the beans There has been much discussion about Giancarlo Fisichella's return to Jordan Grand Prix, and analysis of how he might have changed or developed as an F1 driver since his first year with the team in 1997....
Fisi's No. 1 Mechanic spills the beans
There has been much discussion about Giancarlo Fisichella's return to Jordan Grand Prix, and analysis of how he might have changed or developed as an F1 driver since his first year with the team in 1997. One man well placed to comment is Nick Burrows, Fisichella's No. 1 Mechanic in '97, and today, four seasons on. Burrows, 43, from Sheffield, England, has been a No.1 Mechanic throughout Jordan's history since he joined the team in 1988. He answers some questions about Jordan's prodigal son.
HAS GIANCARLO CHANGED SINCE 1997?
"Not really, he's pretty much the same. I always got along with him and when he joined in '97 you could tell he was going to fit into the team well. Obviously he was younger and less experienced, but his character is the same. As for his racing style, it's probably become more calculated as he matured during his years at Benetton. He used to go flat out in every session but now he uses the practice and warm-up sessions to get the car set up right for the race. He knows it doesn't matter that we're not quickest on Friday if we can everything out of the car on Sunday. Fisi has always been quite a cool and tactical driver, including when he was young and just starting out, but he has become even more so over the years."
IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT HE IS UNLIKE OTHER ITALIAN DRIVERS. WOULD YOU AGREE?
"Giancarlo is very 'Italian' in his style and the way he looks. But in a driving sense it is true because he is not as fiery as many Italian drivers, he's a lot cooler. The other Italian driver like that is Zanardi and I would say they're in a similar category in terms of their character on the track."
HOW DOES HIS PAIRING WITH RALF IN '97 COMPARE TO THAT WITH TAKUMA THIS YEAR?
"When he was Ralf's team-mate, they were on an equal footing and it was an all-out competition against each other. By the end of their season together, Fisi was usually quicker than Ralf, and ever since he has always been quicker than his team-mate. Since he doesn't expect to get beaten by Takuma, he is prepared to help him. The day Takuma ever beats Fisi, that will definitely change!"
"Both Ralf and Takuma have caused accidents that took Fisi off the track and the accident in Argentina '97 seemed to get Fisi and Ralf off to a difficult start, however they earned each other's respect by the end of the year. Takuma's mistake in Malaysia this year upset Fisi immediately afterwards, but he calmed down very quickly. He's mature and gracious enough to know that once it's happened, it's no disaster, and he hasn't lost any respect for Takuma."
GIANCARLO MUST BE VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE WAY THE SEASON HAS STARTED. HOW HAS HE TAKEN IT?
"He is frustrated. But I think he's quite philosophical about it. He knows there is plenty of work to do on the car and engine, and is patiently waiting for his season to get better. He's quite happy with the car and the team, so the way it has started this year has been really unfortunate. When he joined us in '97, he came from a relatively slow car at Minardi, and he didn't have any high expectations. Now, he expects more, but realises that he can't have it overnight, and is prepared to wait for Honda and the team to work at it, and also to work at it himself."
DO YOU LIKE HIM?
"Fisi is probably one of the best drivers I've worked with in terms of how well we get along. He keeps himself to himself in some respects but at the same time he is openly friendly. For example, he came and played football with all the mechanics in Brazil. At the track and in the factory, he's easy-going and always professional. He's very level-headed and you always know where you are with him and what to expect, no matter what happens."
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GREATEST HOPE FOR GIANCARLO THIS SEASON?
"I'd really like to get Fisi's first win. That would be great! Partly because he's an outstanding driver and deserves to have won races already in his career, but also because he's a nice guy and you know that when it happens, he will share the triumph with the team."