With a B specification RS25 engine powering him this weekend, Italian Giancarlo Fisichella is hoping for a competitive showing at his 'home' race. Q: Giancarlo, how do you sum up your start to the season? Giancarlo Fisichella. Photo...
With a B specification RS25 engine powering him this weekend, Italian Giancarlo Fisichella is hoping for a competitive showing at his 'home' race.
Q: Giancarlo, how do you sum up your start to the season?
Giancarlo Fisichella: To win the first race of the season, with my new team, couldn't have been a better start to the year. Since then, it's true, I had a problem with the front wing in Malaysia which cost me performance and led to the accident with Webber; and then in Bahrain, the engine broke. But at both races, we won with Fernando, which is very important for the team even if I didn't score points. I think Renault is still the best chassis-engine combination, and there are sixteen races left this season -- that's a long way to go. I am determined to fight hard.
Q: The old adage says that your team-mate is your number-one rival; Fernando is sixteen points ahead in the championship now. Does that worry you?
GF: At the moment, anything can still happen. When you look at my season, I was top in the points after the first race, now I am third because of two retirements. Who knows what will happen over the next four or five races? For me, the important thing is to score points, get on the podium and win some races. If the team can continue developing the package, then I think we can fight for the championship and at the moment, Fernando has an advantage over me. But we have the same car, so I think we have the same chance to compete for the title.
Q: How is your relationship with Fernando?
GF: We are good friends. We work well together, he is a nice guy, fast and consistent and it is tough to be quicker than him. That's not a problem; on the contrary, it is an extra motivation for me. That is the way it should be, because it is better for the team.
Q: For an Italian driver, what is it like to have the opportunity to race against, and beat, Ferrari? Do the tifosi resent it?
GF: I remember how things used to be: twenty years ago, Patrese crashed in the Brabham [in 1983] when he was leading and the fans cheered because that meant Ferrari won the race. Nowadays, I think the Italian people and the Ferrari fans are much closer to the Italian drivers; we have had an Italian on the podium at every race in 2005, and with Ferrari not being so strong in the first races, I think people at home are starting to like seeing an Italian on the podium rather than somebody else! I am happy about that, and want to score a great result for my country.
Q: Does racing in your home country put more pressure on you?
GF: Definitely there is more pressure: it is my home race, in front of my fans, and I want to put in a good performance. I try 100% everywhere, but a strong race here is more special. So I think there is more pressure, yes, but that is not always a bad thing. I am comfortable with this, and I can handle that situation.
Q: What are your best memories from Imola?
GF: For me, they are very clear: firstly, it was in 1992, when I won my first race there in Formula 3, and then in 1997 when I scored my first F1 points in the Jordan, finishing fourth. I have had some special times at this track.