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Fisichella gets ready to bubble 11 Sep 2009

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari F60.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari fans in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Preparations, Monza, Italy, Thursday, 10 September 2009

He looked, somebody suggested in a manner that was not meant to seem unkind, like a freshly scrubbed kid on his first day at big school, as Giancarlo Fisichella sat proudly in the press conference at Monza on Thursday in his Ferrari gear. The smile was rarely off his smooth-shaven face. It said that Christmas had come early, and he was still having trouble believing it.

“Every day since last Thursday has been a fantastic experience, since the announcement, when I got into the factory, doing the seat fitting,” Fisichella said of the ride of his life. “Going around now I’m much more popular after 14 years of Formula One, so Ferrari is amazing. Even this morning, I was so excited, so nervous, coming here.

"Actually I enjoyed driving up the motorway with Robert (Kubica), because I met him in my car - we weren’t on the limit, obviously. But it’s just great, so I need to thank Dr Vijay Mallya, because he gave me the possibility to move to Ferrari; the president Luca di Montezemolo, I have been his personal choice; Stefano Domenicali; even my manager Enrico Zanarini did a fantastic job, so it’s a dream coming true, it’s fantastic for me.”

He’s been spending a lot of time at meetings in Maranello, doing his seat fitting, talking with the engineers about the programme and how they operate at Ferrari, as well as having a run in the simulator. “I did every day about two or three hours. It is good to learn, especially the different steering wheel and how to manage the KERS, the adjustable front flaps which we didn’t use in Force India. I feel on top of it. But obviously when you are going to drive the car for sure it is going to be different behaviour to Force India and I will need extra laps to get comfortable.

“Obviously it’s going to be different in the car; when you drive you are very concentrated not to brake late and to do the best you can. But KERS is not so difficult; you know you just need to switch a button and go flat out from the exit of the corner. It’s going to be difficult to manage it at the beginning, for sure but once I have done 30 or 40 laps it will be much better, I’m sure.”

And he admitted that part of the excitement was the effect his new role has had on family and friends. “It’s my life’s dream, but it was especially also my father’s dream and all my family. All my friends are really proud of what has happened to me. I’ve had a lot of texts and phone calls from a lot of friends and that has been amazing. Even the press has been fantastic with me, so for a few days it’s been like living in a dream for me. Actually, it’s fact, so I’m looking forward to being really comfortable in the team. When I went to Ferrari, I felt the fantastic atmosphere. The mechanics are so nice. It’s great, just great.”

He spent all of the recent Belgian Grand Prix studying the back of the car he’ll now drive, but he was cagey when asked to assess Ferrari’s chances here.

“Yeah, obviously I cannot say a lot about the car apart from the colour, which is red! It is amazing for me to be here in Monza with my home Grand Prix with a new team and in a Ferrari car which was my dream since when I was young. It is just great. I am sure it is going to be good for Ferrari performance this circuit, with the KERS and the aerodynamic package. Obviously, I need to get comfortable and confident with the car. I will spend first of all the morning to learn everything but I am sure the second free practice will be much more comfortable and I can already be confident to be competitive.”

He was also cagey about his goal for the next five races. “Well, the target is obviously to finish third in the constructors’ championship for Ferrari, so we need to score a lot of points with Kimi (Raikkonen). My target is to score points in every race if possible and it would obviously be nice to get on the podium, but we will see.

“I just want to do a proper job, to try and score points in every race and do my best, be much closer to Kimi and that’s all I have to do. It’s my dream to win straightaway on Sunday, but it’s not easy to jump from a Force India car to a Ferrari car and be comfortable straight away. I’m sure I can do it, I can be quick, so I’m positive, but step-by-step.”

David Tremayne