Exclusive interview with Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella 03 Sep 2007
Five races to go and the driver market for 2008 is already in full swing. Media speculation abounds concerning the future of some of Formula One racings biggest names, including Toyotas Ralf Schumacher and Williams' Alexander Wurz.
At Renault, could Giancarlo Fisichella be set to bid adieu after three seasons with the French team? Despite enduring some difficult races this year, Fisichella is determined to end 2007 on a high and, with a top-six position in the drivers championship still up for grabs, the Italian is hoping for a change of fortune at his home Grand Prix at Monza this weekend
Q: Giancarlo, the race in Turkey seemed to embody your season so far - hindered by circumstance and out of the points...
Giancarlo Fisichella: Quite right. I felt I raced really well but the problem at the start kept me out of the points. The team has supported me with that.
Q: The beginning of the season saw Renault in freefall relative to your 2006 position, but the teams competitiveness has slowly returned over the last couple of races...
GF: We are a little better, but we are still far from the position we would like to be in. This was also evident at the recent Monza test. Renault has already stated very clearly that all its efforts are now concentrated on designing its 2008 car.
Q: Aside from problems with the transition from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres, what else has the R27 lacked this season?
GF: Mostly grip and that is due to lack of aero efficiency.
Q: You had big plans for 2007. Those plans have vanished
GF: I am a professional driver and I took the car I was given and worked my hardest to make it go. I cannot do much more than that!
Q: Heikki Kovalainen's start to the season was difficult, but in the last couple of races he has finished ahead of you. Is the teams improved understanding of the tyres aiding his driving style more than yours?
GF: That is only down to strategies and in my case occasionally they did not work - not because I have made any mistakes. We are constantly looking for points and, with six cars in front of us which are better than us, we can only fight for two positions and we have another six cars (fighting) with us for the same positions, so it is tough
Q: Heikki has 19 points you have 17 - a small gap. There have been rumours that he will stay and you will be free to follow opportunities elsewhere. Is the decision just down to those two points?
GF: I do not believe those two points make the difference. Heikki is a good driver and he has worked as hard as I did with the package that we have. I was in front of him until the last race and I could be ahead again after the next one. We work for the team to get the maximum points for Renault.
Q: Naturally Renault must be your priority for 2008 - but what other options would you consider?
GF: My contract is with Renault but the team has to choose very soon if I will be re-confirmed or not. Personally, I would like to stay because I have worked very hard and made very few mistakes.
Q: When do you expect Renault to decide about their driver line-up?
GF: That is a question for Renault to answer!
Q: The season hasnt finished yet. Do you think the team have a fair chance of challenging BMW Sauber for third in the championship?
GF: No, I dont think so, especially after it was made very clear by the team that all efforts are focused on designing the 2008 challenger. We have no more development coming to us to try to close the gap this season.
Q: With your home Grand Prix just days away, do you think the enthusiasm of your countrymen will give you a boost?
GF: I always push hard, I do not need extra support to get extra speed but a good result in Monza is always a boost!