2014 Columns



Resting and recouping

There has been some talk about my accident in Silverstone. Well, obviously it was one of the worst crashes I have ever had in Formula One.

Going so straight to the barrier from high speed there is no time to do too much. The cockpit is built very tight, there is no room to move your legs. And yes, it did hurt. I got bruises everywhere, and I had to rest some time and recoup my strengths.

Now everything is OK and I am looking forward to jump back to car and start working again to get things going better and better to the direction where we all want to the car to be.

As I have always said, there are certain risks in this business. You cannot make any motorsport 100% safe. Sometimes it just happens. But now it is in the past and I am just looking ahead for the new challenges to beat.

My history with German Grands Prix is nothing to remember. I have always liked both Hockenheim and Nurburgring, but from one reason or another we have never got the weekend perfectly right.

Actually my last visits to Germany have not been too bad. We got a podium both times. So at least, I can say, it has been going in better direction.

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Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull Ring 19-22 June 2014

Next step forward

Obviously, it means a lot to get things right in the top level of the motor racing. Sometimes it is not that tricky task, but sometimes it really is.

And it is never a case of just wishful thinking, that everything would go nicely to it’s place. Every step forward needs a lot of team work.

Well, we have been working very hard to improve our car. The team has taken a special approach to fix things, but we still have many issues to deal with.

The positive thing is, that we have improved a lot compared to the starting point we had before the season. The negative thing is, that it does not show in our performance and results. In this business it is a fact, that the rest of the grid does not never stands still. They always develop further ahead, so our target to get closer to the front always moves ahead, as well.

I have had some good moments during the race weekends, but every time something has happened and we have not been able get a single clean three days from Friday’s FP1 to the chequered flag on Sunday.

We keep pushing hard. Our day will come, that is our common feeling inside the team. Obviously, we know it is still a long way to go and there are many good things to achieve along the season.

Now it’s time to return to Austria. I have always liked that circuit. We went there three times in the beginning of my Formula Career. It was the time of V10 engines and it was good fun to go flat out on the long straights of that circuit.

For sure those old races back there do not help at all for this weekend. It is different times, different cars, different tyres, different power units. Only the challenge to find a best possible set-up is the same.

Zeltweg is the closest place to go racing from my home. It’s a different circuit again compapred to the others. Back then the layout was offering a good racing, good opportunities to overtake and a nice environment for a good atmosphere.

Let’s wait and see, how we get the weekend going.



Milestones and benchmarks


If something, it’s nice to remember that my 200th Grand Prix was raced in Montreal. Obviously, it is always nice to visit this city – with or without any celebrational race number. For me this weekend means business as usual. I would love to finish the race entering the podium, but to achieve that, we would need more luck than we have had during this first part of the season. Just before the season started, I found out, I’m to be the oldest driver in the grid. Now I will then go to my 200th Grand Prix. I was asked what this kind of milestone means for me. Obviously it shows, how time really flies. While racing flat out like always, I must say, it doesn’t change anything really. For sure, it¹s a milestone and I am sure, it is something I’ll look back with pride in years to come.

You don’t think about it until it happens. But time passes by very quickly and now I’m one of the more experienced drivers in F1 with 200 races under my belt. I’m here not just to make numbers, so getting a result with this race would give much more reason to celebrate.

Canada is one the most challenging places to go during the season. I have always liked the track, while it is so different compared to others. It’s one of those circuits, you really have to get it right with all the compromises in the set-up. We have some upgrades for Canada. So let’s see, if they improve things compared to the other F1 teams, who we know will not be standing still.

I feel the order will be pretty much same. Hopefully we will close the gap to the teams at the front.




The results will come!

This is the weekend we all have been looking forward to come. The streets of Monte Carlo bring always a little bit extra for all the exciting challenges of motor racing.

It’s a different circuit, we will use different tyres and the environment will be different, so there is nothing to compare to it.

Especially this time it will be even more exciting with these new generation cars. These cars tend to slide easily and in Monte Carlo there is no room for that. Most of all it¹s a question of the best drive of the year ­ the 100% concentration with the 100% working car all the 78 laps of the Grand Prix. That’s the only way to be happy after the race in Monaco. Monaco is a unique circuit and the qualifying is more important than any other circuit on the calender. Obviously for us, the qualifying is something we really have to get right. After last race in Barcelona we had a quite good test. It started with some issues, but all in all, I was happy with the work we managed to do there. The car is getting better for me and step by step we come closer to the front runners.

Obviously I feel the results will be coming, but it seems to take even more tougher pushing than ever before. Now the full focus is on Monaco. It will be extremely busy since the very beginning on Thursday morning. Everybody is targetting to have a nice, clean weekend and you cannot afford to loose any practice time to get the feeling right with the car between those barriers.

It’s a magical place. The paddock is full of people and the atmosphere is just great. Along the years I have experienced how brilliant it is to get everything right in Monaco.