Well first of all I’m older! No, it’s clearly different for me this year. I have much more experience in Formula 1 and even if I knew the team before, I now know how to work with the engineers much better on the technical side. I also know all the tracks and understand better the various challenges of a season. Generally things worked out pretty well, although some things didn’t always turn out as good as we wanted. It’s going to be very interesting to start the new season.
I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team – everybody knows that – but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job. Knowing that everything I could do, I did, and feeling proud of my race or session. I hope to feel that way as many times as possible this year.
It’s tough to pick just one thing. You start your career in Formula 1 thinking ‘Okay, that’s a new challenge, a tough challenge’ but then you work into the season and you think ‘Whoa! This challenge is even bigger than I thought!’ All the elements of a Formula 1 season including the travelling – energy-wise, managing the jet lag – the media and marketing stuff, the physical demands and preparation for driving the car are quite something. I know what I need much better now and that’s what I’ve learnt from last year.
There were a few things which we had to go over before a decision was made and for sure it wasn’t nice waiting, but it was certainly very nice to get the confirmation. The timing was good too; just after the Race of Champions win, which was a coincidence. It allowed me to have a much better winter.
All through last year, the feedback given about the E20 was interpreted by the development team for the E21. This means there’s a lot of information from me and Kimi which went into this car. It’s difficult to say after the season ‘we would like this or that’ for next year. I think it’s more about the work done during the whole season; discussing this or that, or an idea about this or that. After twenty races you know more-or-less what has been good with the car and what hasn’t. Hopefully we’ve made the right calls for this year.
I like the development process and I really like seeing the new car ‘growing up’. You see the first design, you see it being tested in the wind tunnel and then finally after a long time you see the finished car. It’s very interesting and I really like to follow it and understand as much as I can, without being an engineer. It’s always good.
I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal.