Lotus F1 test and reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy has revealed that his chief objective in 2010 is to make sure that he is always 'prepared' in case he is called upon to substitute either of the grand prix newcomer's regular contenders Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen in a race this season – whilst making it very clear indeed that he wants to be competing alongside
them in the top flight in 2011.
Fauzy has previous form at the highest level, having been one of four test drivers at Midland F1/Spyker in 2007, but that collaboration ultimately came to nought when no race seat was forthcoming and at the end of the year his contract was not renewed.
Having been the first person to climb inside the cockpit of the new, Cosworth-powered T127 for its shakedown run at Silverstone last week, the World Series by Renault, GP2 Series and A1GP World Cup of Motorsport race-winner was subsequently also given the honour of being the first driver to take it out on-track at Jerez during the group test in southern Spain earlier this week, and he has confessed that such trust and distinction 'means a lot'.
Whilst he has two quick and experienced grand prix-winners to learn from in the shape of Trulli and Kovalainen, however, Fauzy contends that the internecine battle within the Anglo/Malaysian outfit will not merely be confined to just two drivers this year – and that he will similarly be doing his all to convince both Lotus and rival teams of his potential for 2011.
“I'm sure I need to learn,” the 27-year-old Kuala Lumpur native acknowledged in an exclusive interview with Crash.net Radio
, “but at the same time we are all drivers and we are all competitive, and between us there is always a challenge. It will be good to be able to learn from their experience, but I'm a very experienced driver myself having raced a lot in other categories – and now I need to use that in Formula 1. For me, it's a very important year as well, and to be with Lotus is an honour.
“I think to be honest the only real testing I can do is Friday drives [on grand prix weekends]. As a reserve driver, the most important thing is to be able to drive on the Friday, because you never know if one of the [race] drivers might not be feeling well, and you need to be prepared for that. You don't want to have to jump into the car and race straightaway, because that's dangerous and not professional.
“If we have time on the Fridays, that would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the track time and prepare myself – hopefully for next season. I just have to keep myself focussed, and you never know when something good might come around – I might even drive this season. I just need to be prepared and keep positive.”
TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE