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GP Week : Issue 3
5 Minutes with ... Giancarlo Fisichella GP Week: F1 2008. How is it and was there ever a moment when you thought you might not be here? Giancarlo Fisichella: Well, yeah, at the end of the 2007 season I was still waiting for Renault’s answer and there were not a lot of seats in Formula One, so I was a little bit worried but convinced that I would be once again in Formula One. I was in contact with a few teams and in December I did a very positive test with Force India and just after that test we decided to work together. And how is it working at a new team? It’s good. It’s a new challenge, a new team, and it’s going to be tough at the beginning of the season but I think we’ve got good potential. We’ve grown a lot already and made a big step forward and we can do much more for sure. The team is working very well and pushing very hard in the wind tunnel, in every area the factory is focussed, so it’s looking promising. You’re back at the Silverstone factory again, for the third time! Is it very different to Jordan days? The factory is a little bit bigger and there are a few more people than a few years ago but the atmosphere is still very good, very nice just like in the past so I felt very comfortable straight away and that’s good when a driver starts at a new team. There are a few guys from when I was last there: three or four who were on my race car are still in the factory, so it’s nice to meet them again. And last time you raced for Jordan, you won! Yes, 2003! It was a great memory, a fantastic day. It wasn’t a great car, but anything can happen. This year we know we cannot win a race, but you never know… And how is it working with Mike Gascoyne again? How much did his involvement influence your move here? It’s good. Mike has fantastic experience and is a focussed guy for the team. One of the reasons why I said, ‘OK, let’s go to Force India’ is the guarantee to have Mike Gascoyne here. So I’m really happy to work with him. And I guess Vijay Mallya as well… Yeah. He’s really important and a good guarantee for us. He has improved the budget of the team to $120 million which is a big step. Now the team is working 24 hours a day in the wind tunnel, already working on the 2009 car, so it’s good and the project is really promising. So what are your goals at the team? I’m on a two-year contract at the moment so the goals are to try to get into the top 15 and get top times in the qualifying, to score some points in the season and we’ll see if we can try to do better than score points if there is the possibility. You also have your own racing team, Fisichella Motorsport International. The new GP2 car is out and testing. How’s that all going and are you happy with it? Really happy with the car, really happy with the team and the drivers. The new car looks much faster, very cool, and so far we have always been in the top five so it’s looking very interesting. I’m happy with the two new drivers, two Spanish drivers (Andy Soucek and Adrian Valles) who are experienced and have good speed. I think it’s going to be a strong year. And for the first time you’ve got a Formula BMW team. Yes, but in the last two years I had two teams with GP2 and Italia 3000, but I am concentrated on Formula 1. Professional people are working at FMS so in the race weekend I like to see what happens and chat to the drivers but I am not too involved. Luca Filippi won the Italia 3000 title for FMS in 2005, and now he’s got a contract with the Honda F1 Team. How proud are you to see him coming through to F1? For sure, I’m proud about that. The first time I saw Luca driving my car and winning the championship, I knew he had a good talent. He can race in Formula 1 one day, so I’m happy to see him there. Then there’s your Racing Institute! Not yet! It’s a project. It’s going well and we are nearly close to the contract so if everything is right it will be ready in a couple of years. Is that something you’d like to do in a few years? Look after young drivers? For sure. I love this sport, I love to see young talent going up so yes that would be very nice. ‘Fisi’ is back for his third go with the team formerly known as Jordan, and is looking to get Force India closer to the front of the field. He spoke to WILL BUXTON 18