Giancarlo, 2007 will be your third year with the Renault F1 Team. What are your expectations? I am expecting very good
things for the new season. Renault is the only top team with a stable technical structure, and they know how to design winning cars.
For me, it is the third year with the team, and I feel very comfortable in this environment. I have a new team-mate in Heikki, and
we already have a good understanding. The spirit is strong in the team after two very successful years, so we are feeling
optimistic. When you have just won two world championships in a row, I think that’s the only way to be!
How confident are you that you can step up a level and challenge for the championship? My objective is to be in the fight
this season. That is how I have started every season with Renault, but for different reasons, things have not gone my way in the
past two years. I have a fantastic opportunity for 2007. There are many changes all the way through the grid, and many people will
talk about a new era for Formula 1. For me, though, it is not a new beginning: I am carrying on where I left off in 2006. I took a
step up in performance last year, and my clear goal is to do so again in 2007.
Will the stability of the team be an asset during the new season? Yes I think so – but we are not
afraid of changes either. It is good to be starting the year in a stable situation, and to be able to build on my relationship with
the team. That continuity means we can be competitive from the very beginning of the year, and we have seen in 2005 and 2006 how
important it is to get a good start in the opening races. We have changes to cope with as well, especially the change to Bridgestone
tyres. But in the last seasons, we have seen that Renault is very good when it comes to adapting to new challenges. I am confident
it will be the same again this year.
You have already had the opportunity to run on the Bridgestone tyres before Christmas. What were your first impressions? Those first runs were important to get a feeling for the tyres and their characteristics, but we will only know where we stand
when we start working with the new car. The Bridgestone tyres are very different to the products we used last year: there is less
grip, and they need a different setup to get the best from them. We have already established a good relationship with Bridgestone,
though, and I know from working with them in the past, that they are a very professional company. I think we will be in strong shape
when we reach Melbourne.
In the past two seasons, you were team-mate to the world champion. Now, you have a rookie driver alongside you. Does that
change your role? In terms of the job I am trying to do, no. My goal is always to push to the limit, to get the maximum from
the car – and to do the best possible. That doesn’t change depending on who your team-mate is. But for sure, my experience can be
very important during 2007. I am now the third most-experienced driver on the grid, and in a season where other teams have some big
changes, I think that will be important. People shouldn’t under-estimate the motivation within the team as well: Renault know how to
win race and world championships. The team has worked very hard during the winter,
In many ways, the eyes of Formula 1 will be on you in 2007, as the senior driver in the world champion team. How will you
manage with that expectation? I am hungry for success this year, and very determined. Just like in any sport, there are
always critics out there who doubt me, and who don’t think I can do the job. That is normal, it is their job to have an opinion. For
me, though, that is not important. People in the team trust me, and have the confidence that I can do a good job. I have trained
very hard this winter, and if the Renault car is quick and reliable like in the last few years, then there is a fantastic
opportunity for me to seize. Every driver starts the season equal, on zero points. I am aiming to do some good tests, and to feel
totally comfortable that we can have a strong start to the season in Melbourne.