Kazuki Nakajima is insistent. His run of misses when it comes to scoring points in the 2009 Formula One campaign cannot go on forever, with this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia his preferred venue for a change in fortune.
The temporary Spanish circuit does not hold great memories for the Williams driver, who had to pit for a new front wing following the first lap contact that sidelined local favourite Fernando Alonso in last year's inaugural event, but he is determined to end a run of results that he feels are not representative of his potential. While team-mate Nico Rosberg has threatened the podium in recent races, Nakajima remains scoreless through ten rounds, with a best result of ninth from the latest round, in Hungary, his only top ten finish to date.
“Something's got to give soon!" he sighed, "It's very difficult starting from the midfield because performance levels are so close between the teams, and it's hard to make up places off the line. If you don't, and someone with a longer fuel load gets ahead of you, your race can be over on the first lap, which is what happened to me in Hungary
when [Jenson] Button got ahead of me. It was frustrating, but I know some points will come my way soon.”
The Valencia circuit, conceived to give Spain two races to capitalise on Alonso's popularity, presents one of the season's greatest overtaking conundrums, making qualifying all the more important. Quick for a street circuit, with average lap speeds of almost 200kph, the harbourside course incorporates no fewer than 25 corners, but Rosberg has shown that it can be a good race for Williams, after a two-stop strategy paid off with eighth place in 2008.
"I think the biggest challenges over the weekend will be the cockpit temperatures and the grip levels, as it was quite green when we arrived last year as well as cockpit temperatures," Naka-san reported, "I kept up my training [during the summer break] as cockpit temperatures tipped 60°C last year and I don't want any distractions this weekend, but I wasn't allowed in the factory due to the enforced shutdown, which was very strange for me as I basically spend all my time there between races, either with my engineers or in the simulator.
“However, I've spent lots of time on our simulator preparing for Valencia over the course of the year, so I feel I know the circuit quite well. It's not a typical street circuit, but you have to be really careful around the lap as there are no run-off areas.
“I enjoyed the trip to Valencia last year, and am excited about going back, more so this time round because it feels like a long time since the last race and I want to get back into my car."