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Fisichella upbeat ahead of home race 05 Sep 2006

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, French Grand Prix, Preparations, Magny-Cours, France, 13 July 2006

He will be one of the few Italians not supporting Ferrari at their home race this weekend. Indeed, Giancarlo Fisichella knows he must finish ahead of the red cars at Monza if he is to bolster Renault’s hopes of retaining their constructors’ crown...

Q: You came sixth in Turkey after a strong race - but Renault lost ground in the championship. What are your feelings two weeks later?
Giancarlo Fisichella:
Turkey was a difficult race. I lost control of the car at the first corner because I was very close to Fernando (Alonso) and wanted to avoid an accident. After that, we changed strategy and the race pace was very good - with the help of the Safety Car, I went from 17th to 6th. They were important points for the team, and I did my best. But we know it is important to be fighting for the podium at every race now.

Q: Tell us about Monza...
Well, it's my home race, so obviously special for that reason. I have a good feeling with the track: I won there in Formula 3, and got on the podium last year, being the first Italian to do it since Alboreto 17 years earlier. That was a great result, but a win would be even more special.

Q: Can you describe the good feeling you have there?
We run with very low downforce, the grip level is low and it's not easy to slow the car down from 350 km/h to 60 km/h for Turn 1, the slowest chicane. When the grip conditions are poor, I generally have a good level of confidence, like in Canada, and I am able to be consistent. That will be especially important for the race.

Q: This year, you go to Monza locked in a battle with Ferrari. As an Italian driver, fighting an Italian team at the Italian Grand Prix, will it be a strange feeling?
It is going to be interesting! There will be lots of tifosi pushing Ferrari along, but as an Italian, I know I will have support as well. I am looking forward to the weekend!

Q: You are fourth in the championship, ten points behind Massa. Is your target for the season to finish third?
Yes, absolutely, and I know I can do it. I lost ground to Massa at the last race, so now I have to do the maximum and catch up the ten points I am missing at the moment. I have really high motivation to do it.

Q: And what will be your main assets in that battle?
Number one, the team, the car and the tyres. We have a really strong package and it is being developed all the way to the end of the year. After that, I need to score the maximum points, try to get four podiums - and win at least one of the races. If I can do that, then it can help Renault take the championship at the end of the year.