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Exclusive Q&A with Giancarlo Fisichella 04 Jun 2007

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 24 May 2007

2007 was meant to have been his shot at the title: Alonso gone, a rookie team mate, and a car from the reigning world champions at his disposal. But the formbook changed over the winter. Since the beginning of the season, Giancarlo Fisichella has been chasing success - so far with more optimism than results. But after his fourth place at Monaco he sees a ray of hope for the coming races …

Q: Giancarlo, after the poor start to the season you demanded a radical change if the team was to maintain the fight for the world championship. Was Monaco a visible sign of improvement?
Giancarlo Fisichella:
Monaco was a good race for me and for the team. We definitely made a small step forward and we were quick in capitalizing from that. We shortened the gap from the cars in front and we believe we can seriously challenge BMW. We still have a lot of work to do to catch up with McLaren and Ferrari but the whole factory is working with that objective in mind.

Q: And what about your chances for the title - have you already given up on that?
I have to be realistic. The fight at the front is wide open, but we may be too far (behind) to be championship contenders. I would be very happy to start to be a podium contender and bring home some heavy points.

Q: The R27 seems to be a difficult workplace - strange, given that the majority of components are from last year’s championship-winning car. Does this mean that over the winter the team turned a fantastic car into a mediocre one…
Not true. The R27 is a good project but needs improvements on one or two areas. We believe we have now pinpointed those areas and we are now working to get immediate results.

Q: Given that situation, does part of you feel like you’ve been cheated out of your dream?
No way, are you kidding? Renault is a great team and I know how much they respect me, at least as much as I respect them. We fell into this situation together and together we will come out of it. Monaco has been the strongest sign.

Q: Has the change from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres really made a dramatic impact? And if so, why does it take so long to adapt?
For sure it was a big change for everyone, but not for me, the driver. The Bridgestone engineers have been of great help to us, especially as we started to better investigate how the tyres work on our car. But there was nothing we did wrong - or vice versa.

Q: Monaco is one of a kind. Montreal and Indianapolis will both again be all about speed. Is the R27 ready to show good performance there?
In Montreal and Indianapolis we should expect another little step forward, plus I have a very good feeling with both circuits, so we go there with a very positive attitude.

Q: The two test days at Paul Ricard with the Montreal layout looked very promising: on day one Heikki Kovalainen ended up third; on day two you hammered in the second-fastest time. What happened?
We set up the cars to suit the conditions and found that things were not too bad. It is always difficult to compare performances at tests, but as both cars were pretty fast we knew we did something right.

Q: With the Ricard test and the Monaco result under your belt, what expectations do you take with you across the Atlantic?
We are chasing the podiums - and in Monaco I was only one place from it - so that is my target!