12 April 2012
Thursday press conference - Chinese GP - Pt.1
I don't think it has helped in terms of last year for me on the roadside. I can play the tyres, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. I always try to adapt myself to different conditions that you have in F1 most of the time, which is even more difficult, to be adapting to every single condition. You have different conditions in free practice than in qualifying and it's very important to be able to adapt yourself to any condition.
But that's something that you're going to continue to exploit?
Of course, there is a big potential there and with experience it will get better because when I came to F1 it was (sound drops out) to keep changing your style. People always ask me 'what's your style?' but I think in F1 you don't have one – you are always changing your style and trying to adapt yourself to any condition.
Fernando, what we expecting from you and what are you expecting from yourself and Ferrari this weekend? What's changed since the last race?
Nothing changed. I think it's going to be a tough weekend for us again. I don't expect any big surprises as we've been saying, the team and myself, all week, the car has some small improvements, nothing big for this race and I think it's the same, more or less, for all the other teams around us in the paddock. So I expect more or less the positions to maintain, or to keep the same as the first two races, which means a difficult to weekend for us. Struggling to be in Q3, I guess, in qualifying and then in the race to score as many points as possible as we did in the first races – trying to do a good strategy, a good management of the tyres and a little bit of luck. It's always a factor that we always seem to forget is there. I remember in Australia we had a great team effort from everybody there, a good strategy, pit stops etc, but we also had some luck to get the fifth result and in Malaysia we had the same. Starting from the first corner, we avoided any accident. It seems normal but every first corner is always a risk. We had Grosjean and Schumacher crashing in turn four in Malaysia, which we were very close to being in that accident as well. So, it's always… a race or a grand prix is not only pace, a good strategy or good driving skills. It's a big package and luck is a big factor. Hopefully the luck is still with us this weekend.
Will a wet track be part of that luck?
I guess so.
So you're praying for rain?
It can be a very good weekend for you or very bad because it's a little bit of gamble in the rain. Anything can happen. You can be with the right tyre in the right moment or completely the wrong tyre in the wrong moment, so this is what happens in wet races. As I said, with a normal race we know our possibilities, we know our limitations at the moment, which is not quick enough. So in a wet race, we can lose a couple of points or we can win a lot more. Maybe this risk of a wet race can be good for us at the moment because in normal conditions we are not as fast as we expected.
Fernando, you've passed Jackie Stewart's number of wins with your victory in Malaysia. Only Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell have won more races than you. That last win of yours was also compared with Gilles Villeneuve in that it was a win against the odds. What does it mean to you to be talked about in the company of those drivers?
I'm privileged to be in that group of great drivers that I watched on TV as a kid and now I'm having a good career in F1 and I've been extremely privileged to drive for fantastic teams in my career. So, the number of victories will hopefully increase even more and I will be up in this table. Records are not something that you pay a big importance to now, as you concentrated on your next grand prix or you are so focused on your daily preparation that you don't pay too much attention but I'm sure that in 10 or 15 years time I will appreciate it much more than now. But I'm not paying too much attention now.
Narain, it's been a difficult start to the season. Just give us some indication as to how difficult it has been for the team, for the drivers and the sort of mountain that there is to climb for the HRT team.
Yeah. The start of the year wasn't very good because we missed all the testing and then we came to Australia with a new car and like all new cars, it had a lot of problems with cooling and hydraulics and few laps. Clearly our car is still lacking a lot of downforce, which is the biggest problem. Pedro de la Rosa is quite good to help the team to go in the right direction, he has a lot of experience with big teams, so we're trying to improve. It's still a very small team and we have limited resources but I can see that the structure is a lot stronger than last year. There are some good people in the team and so we will improve quite a lot at the Mugello test hopefully.
It's obviously left you as a backmarker in the last race which got you involved in a public argument which we won't go into, but what is life like as a backmarker in F1, especially when there are a lot of cars on the circuit due to the reliability of the cars? Are your eyes on the mirrors all time?
Tagged as: Ferrari , Williams , Fernando Alonso , Senna , China , Force India F1 , Vitaly Petrov , Perez , HRT , Bruno Senna , Shanghai , Sauber , Narain Karthikeyan , Petrov , di resta
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