Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa is feeling confident ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend at the Circuit de Catalunya and will no doubt be hoping that the home fans give him a well needed boost.
To date this season Sauber have struggled and de la Rosa has notched up the teams only finish, when he was twelfth in Australia back in March. Despite that difficult start to F1 2010 though, he is still upbeat and has even predicted that he might be able to finish in the top-ten on Sunday.
“I grew up in the city centre of Barcelona, and I certainly love my home town. You have everything there – a lively city, the sea, the mountains and a permanently good climate. I'm very much looking forward to this race!” he said.
“My parents always had a summer house close to where the circuit is. From 1991 onwards I loved to listen to the fabulous sound of the F1 engines from there when teams where testing. Also in 1991 I raced in Formula Renault in the first event at the Circuit de Catalunya. My first F1 Grand Prix there was in 1999. The circuit has become the best test track for F1.
“It is a very demanding circuit – tough on the cars, the engines and the drivers. It is a track I really, really like. Turn three is very fast and very long – it is a true neck killer. There is a great variety of corners – high and medium speed, and a couple of slow ones in the last sector.
“We had a good winter test there back in February and I have the feeling our car suits Barcelona better than some of the more recent tracks. For the Spanish Grand Prix we will also have a new aero package in place. I'm sure at the end of the race we will either be close to or in the points.”
Team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile will also be hoping for better and as he has yet to actually finish a race this season, unsurprisingly, his main goal this weekend is to get to the end and see the chequered flag.
“I know the Circuit de Catalunya pretty well,” he added. “I won a GP2 race there, raced there in Formula 3 and did some F1 testing there. Even my first ever F1 test was in Barcelona. In those days the last two corners were different to now, as it was a very fast double right hander.
“The circuit is very demanding on the cars and challenging for us drivers. The car-and driver combination has to be very good, as it is difficult but crucial to get the set-up right. The fast right hander before the back straight is my favourite corner and quite challenging.
“I like Spain and the Spanish Grand Prix. The weather is usually very nice and there is a large crowd. I'm happy for Pedro that it is his home race and all his fans will be there. We have been testing there over the winter. We have an update to the car and I believe our reliability problems are solved. I should have a good chance to finally go racing after I have only done 19 laps in total in all four grand's prix.”