Exclusive Q&A - Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella 11 Apr 2008
When former Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella signed for Force India in January many in Formula One circles sniffed at his decision and phrases like a clear relegation and better off retired made the rounds.
Now three races into the season, those naysayers are eating their words, with Fisichella pushing his comparatively disadvantaged car into the spotlight with some impressive performances. And while a Q2 slot still remains elusive, the Italian is clearly satisfied with the squads growing strength
Q: Giancarlo, we are three races into the season. How would you sum up your performance to date?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Its all according to plan. Except for the first race in Australia where we missed an early chance to score points.
Q: You have been full of praise for the team and their level of development since your arrival. Can you pinpoint any specific areas of improvement?
GF: All the aero updates have delivered the expected improvements in performance and my positive feeling at the team has contributed to achieving very respectable results.
Q: Coming from Renault - a team with much more resources - are you surprised that in the past three races you have been fighting with their drivers for positions on several occasions?
GF: Actually I am very happy to be fighting with them as it shows that Force Indias project is a very promising one and that I made a good decision to join the team.
Q: Is that a hint of satisfaction we hear?
GF: Yes it is. Especially because everyone thought that Fernando (Alonso) was going to save the team and Renault spent a lot of time and money to give him a good car. In fact, in the first three races of 2007 I performed better with them than he has done so far this year.
Q: And are you surprised by their rather poor performances? Before you left the team, did you foresee 2008 would see another slip down the standings?
GF: Im a little surprised because Renault is a good team with very good people and good resources so I expect them to come back. But I hope not by too much
Q: Returning to the VJM01, you have been on the cusp of making it into Q2 at every qualifying so far this season, but you have yet to make that leap. How high is it on your to-do list for the season?
GF: It is my first priority! But in Australia and Bahrain we made some strategy mistakes whilst Q2 was in my reach
Q: While there is a clear upward trend in your performance, it looks like that of your team mate Adrian Sutil has stalled a little. Is the car supporting your driving style more than his and is your set-up implemented on his car?
GF: No, I think it is only a matter for him to adjust to this car and its different driving approach. He is quick and he will soon show it.
Q: Next weeks test session in Barcelona will be crucial for the races ahead. Are there any improvements planned for the VJM01? And if so, what?
GF: Well, its just a planned aero package. Other major improvements will come for Monaco, and shortly after we will have a new front suspension. The seamless gearbox will arrive only in Budapest.
Q: You appear to be very comfortable at Force India. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving
GF: I look as I feel - happy, very happy!