Exclusive Q&A - Force Indias Giancarlo Fisichella 14 Aug 2008
Its an unfamiliar situation for Giancarlo Fisichella - over half the season gone and no points on the board. But the experienced Italian is long enough in the business to know that success does not come overnight, especially with an independent team that is still playing catch-up from the shortfalls of previous years. He is looking forward to the introduction of Force Indias seamless-shift gearbox, to the challenge of the all-new Valencia Street Circuit, and to a more fruitful 2009 with the team
Q: Giancarlo, the summer break is always a time to reflect on the season so far. Are these happy memories for you?
Giancarlo Fisichella: For the moment not so many happy memories, apart from the fact that I am happy with the job I have done and happy with the team. I have given my best in all the races so far, but we need more performance out of the car to record greater memories.
Q: Neither you nor team mate Adrian Sutil have been in a position to score points for the team. Is this something you worry about?
GF: Adrian was close in Monaco and I held one point for a few laps in Spain, but apart from that theres been no real chances. That does not bother me though, because I believe in the programme.
Q: Next weekends European Grand Prix will see the VJM01 race for the first time with its new seamless-shift gearbox. What are your experiences of the box from testing and why didnt you race it in Hungary?
GF: The plan was to run it only on Friday (in Hungary) and we stuck to it. I am very satisfied with the system - it works well.
Q: What improvement do you expect it to give you in terms of competitiveness?
GF: Two-tenths (of a second) on a single lap and maybe three during the race. But we need six- or seven-tenths to close the gap with the cars in front, so it is not going to be so easy.
Q: It seems Force India started the season relatively strongly but then lost ground to the other teams over the course of the last few races. What would you say is the reason for that?
GF: The reason is always the same. As the races go on everybody makes improvements and it is almost impossible to close the gap. The big teams make the biggest jumps and the small ones hang in there.
Q: We head to a new circuit for the next round, Valencia. Youve seen quite a few new venues introduced over your long F1 career - how does a driver deal with having to turn in a good performance on a track he doesnt know?
GF: We should learn it in the first 10 laps and we have plenty of time in Friday practice. The important thing is not to have any mechanical issues and to have maximum track time in accordance with the programme.
Q: How do you personally prepare for such a situation? Work with a simulator?
GF: I look at the data, discuss it with my engineers and walk the circuit.
Q: Force India owner Vijay Mallya said recently that you and Adrian will be surprised by the teams 2009 car, suggesting that both of you will be staying on next season. Can you confirm that?
GF: I am very happy with what Vijay said about his drivers. I think that Adrian and I show strength and great team spirit. As I said before, I am very happy with Force India, I have a contract for 2009 and never saw myself out of it.
Q: How much have you already seen of next year's car?
GF: Enough to believe in the 2009 programme!
Q: You have a new physio: Balbir Singh, Michael Schumacher's long-time companion, is now taking care of your wellbeing. Has he shared some of Michael's success secrets with you?
GF: It is a different situation, so I guess it may be difficult for him to compare it with his Ferrari days. One thing is for sure - Balbir is a world champion in what he does.
Q: Finally, how are you spending your summer break?
GF: With my family on my boat, having a great time.