Q & A with BAR's Enrique Bernoldi 12 Apr 2005
With BAR due to get back to work at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France this week, official test driver Enrique Bernoldi spoke to the team about their progress in recent sessions, his role with the Honda-powered squad and his ambitions for the future.
Q: How was the most recent Paul Ricard test for you?
Enrique Bernoldi: It was good and I managed to complete the whole testing plan. I was driving the interim car (the BAR Honda 067) and my programme was to run the tyre options for Bahrain and Imola.
Q: You completed a record number of laps for the team in one day, how was it?
EB: Yes I completed 176 laps in one day! You have to get yourself ready mentally to do so many laps and it was a real challenge for my fitness. I pushed myself as much as I could and was very pleased with the result.
Q: How do you prepare mentally and physically?
EB: Good fitness is essential. You train your neck so that your muscles are able to last that long in the car and you also have to have spend some time in the car already. I have been driving the car quite a lot so I was physically prepared and mentally focused.
I do a lot of cardio-vascular fitness work, some weights in the gym but mostly cardio and neck machine work to keep the muscles strong. I train constantly and once you have a pace then you understand which areas you need to concentrate on and at the moment, due to the long lap runs that I am doing on the tyre programmes, my neck is the most important part of me to keep in shape.
Q: How has your role developed since last year?
EB: I joined just before the last three races in 2004 and everything was new to me, so at the beginning I was getting used to the car and preparing myself physically after being out of F1 for a few years. Now I can go to a race track and be on the pace straight away. I now test more specific items in the programmes as I know the car so well.
Q: How does the testing schedule work with the concept car?
EB: We have the back end of the new car and simulation of this years downforce requirements on the B.A.R Honda 067. It is harder to drive than last years car, also because we are testing the harder compound tyres too.
Q: With the proposed reduction to 30 days testing, will your test schedule be even more intensive?
EB: I think that the Paul Ricard test shows you how intensive it has become! It is not just more intensive the focus is even more on what we have to do so that we do not waste track time at all for any part of the programme. The testing will become more and more efficient as our time becomes more limited.
Q: What is your favourite test circuit and why?
EB: I think that it is Mugello as it is similar to Suzuka with lots of fast corners and it is an undulating track. The most physically demanding I think though is Barcelona, with all of the righthand corners and the high G-forces. Jerez is where I have been testing the most with the team, so it is the track where I spend most of the time at the moment. I like to go to a new circuit to break up my testing programme with new and fresh challenges.
Q: Do you have to learn what the engineers are expecting in your feedback?
EB: You have to learn how to communicate with the engineers most effectively this is very important. You have to be able to express what you want from the car and to communicate what is happening with the car so that the engineers can use your information and the data from the testing session to improve the car constantly.
Q: Explain your routine over a test session.
EB: I work very long days and so sleep is very important for me and I get up as late as possible during a test. I arrive at the circuit about 15 minutes before the engineers meeting at 07.45, when I have a quick breakfast. After the briefing I have a massage, especially on my neck and shoulders, and get ready to get into car at 08.50 and leave the garage at 09.00 when the session starts. Lunch is sometimes at a fixed time, but if we need to carry on due to mileage requirements, then I will eat later. I resume the test in the afternoon and then attend another engineers meeting, have a massage to relax my muscles, and after the final engineers briefing I have my dinner. We finish at about 20.00 if all has gone well, so it is a very long day!
Q: What are your own performance targets for 2005?
EB: First of all, I am the person that puts the most pressure on myself. I am very competitive in everything that I do and I like to improve myself as much as possible. B.A.R Honda is the best team that I have been with in my career and I am testing in such a professional way that I am learning all the time. I have also moved to the UK for this year so that I can be nearer to the team and concentrate on my role. My target is to be even fitter, be able to consistently do as many laps as I am doing now and just be as fast as I can. I have to be in the situation that if the team needs me, I will be ready and prepared for anything.
Q: Away from a test session what is your routine?
EB: I concentrate on training and resting. I try to keep a good balance with both of those things, especially in the middle of the season. I try to watch what I eat and keep healthy all of the time and when I can I return to Brazil to stay with my family and friends.