Exclusive Q&A with Lotuss Fairuz Fauzy 10 Jul 2010
With testing restrictions severely limiting track time, the lot of todays third drivers is a tough one. Lotuss Fairuz Fauzy is one of the lucky few - following his practice outing back in April on home soil at Sepang, the Malaysian was back in action at Silverstone on Friday morning. Although an engine issue robbed him of a full session, he was overjoyed to get the chance to drive the T127 on the legendary British circuit. For Fauzy, as he explained to Formula1.com, any time behind the wheel is valuable groundwork for his intended future as a Formula One racer
Q: It wasnt an ideal start or end to your practice session, but how was it for you and how different did the T127 feel to the last time you drove it in practice in Malaysia back in April?
Fairuz Fauzy: I enjoyed it so much. It was good to be back in the car and of course the car has improved a lot since the last time I drove it - there is a bit more downforce. Yesterday I was going to run a comparison of the aero package with Heikki (Kovalainen). For us this will be the final aero package, as after this the team will focus on the 2011 car. So Heikki and I were going to do so back-to-back comparisons. Heikki had the new aero package and I had the older one. Overall Im very happy with the car, but it was a shame that before the start of the session we had a problem with the airbox so the team did a really good job to change the engine in 45 to 50 minutes so I had some time on track. Its really important for me to put in some laps on this track, which is not very far away from where I live.
Q: How did the engine change affect what you did?
FF: It wasnt the perfect car to drive because when you have an engine change you have to do a lot of tests to do to shakedown the engine and run through systems checks. So I only managed to do two flying laps and then we had a problem with the gearbox.
Q: You will also be appearing in Friday practice in Hungary, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Any of those venues you are particularly looking forward to?
FF: I would like to have a run at every circuit if I could! But Im looking forward to trying the new aero package for the first time when I practise again in Hungary. Its a good opportunity to try the car at Budapest, which demands a lot of downforce. Its quite similar to Monaco, where its a very tight and narrow track. Im also looking forward to Singapore, which will be my first-ever night race. Its good to race near my country - Malaysia is obviously not far away from Singapore, so I should have lots of family and friends there to support me. Being at a night race too will be a really good experience for sure.
Q: How does it feel to drive at Silverstone?
FF: Its just very special here. The circuit is unbelievable. There were more fans here (on Friday) than at some Grands Prix on race day. Most of the Formula One teams are based in the UK and most of the mechanics from all the teams are from the UK. Its like most of Formula One is made up of a British army!
Q: What did you make of the new track layout?
FF: Its very demanding, as there are a lot of bumps - as most of the drivers have been complaining about. But for me its not great to get a perfect track, because if you dont theres more of a challenge in setting up the car. I think the new bits should create more overtaking. The good thing is that Copse and Becketts are still included, which are some of the best corners in the sport. Its created a new challenge and a new era here at Silverstone for Formula One this year.
Q: Lotus have two quick and experienced race drivers, where do you see your future?
FF: I have always wanted to be a racing driver - in F1 of course. Im not far away from that. For me I just need to keep myself ready and be prepared for any eventuality. So if anything happens, Im ready for it.
Q: You are only the second Malaysian driver to make it to Formula One after Alex Yoong. Can we expect more in the future?
FF: Now we have one Malaysian team involved in Formula One - with Lotus, which is also part-owned by Proton - I think more attention will be placed on motorsport. I think if you do some proper preparation and go through the ranks from karting through the formulae to GP2, you can achieve it. I think the most important thing is to have the right young drivers programmes. Im sure with Petronass involvement with Mercedes and of course Lotus it will help the local industry.