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Fisichella and Alonso look ahead to Imola

NEWS STORY
18/04/2005

Looking at the Imola circuit, what are your expectations for the race?
Giancarlo Fisichella: Imola is a selective circuit, and I think it rewards a complete car that is strong in all areas: a comfortable chassis, strong engine and good tyres. The slow corners mean you need good traction, and straights need aero efficiency and plenty of power, while there are quick corners as well where you need a good chassis. You also need to be good over the kerbs, and the R25 is: it rides them well, and gives the drivers enough confidence to really attack a lot. I think the car will be at ease there, and from a personal point of view, I have more performance to find: I still need to work on finding a perfect balance so I can exploit the potential of the car. So far we have been very strong and from my point of view, there is more to come.

How do you think your main rivals will perform in Imola?
GF: Looking at the Michelin teams, Toyota have been our main competitors, and I am sure they will be strong: they have been good at two different types of track now, so why not Imola? The other big concern for us is Ferrari. I think they will be very, very competitive – we already saw that in Bahrain when Michael was close to Fernando. Now that they have had to time to develop the car, for sure we will have a tough job to stay ahead.

Fernando, as we begin the European season, what is your verdict on the first three races?
Fernando Alonso: I think the team has started the season in a better way than we expected. Winter testing should us we could be competitive and get good results, so we went to Australia feeling very confident. But to win all three races, with both drivers taking victories, and to have scored twenty-six points myself is a dream come true. The challenge now is to maintain that level, and stay on top.

How have you had to adapt to the new regulations?
FA: Personally, I have not changed anything compared to last year, and there are no big differences in how I approach the race weekend. The new rules have forced us to adapt our way of working – we have to be careful with the engine, and as soon as we think it is possible to drop the revs to protect the V10 and cool it more, then we do it. Equally on the tyre side, I have been able to get the maximum from the Michelin tyres in qualifying on the single timed lap, but I have been quite conservative so far in the races – especially with the rear tyres. In spite of that, we have been quick, and the Michelin tyres certainly make our life easier: their durability means it has not been difficult to keep them in good condition.

You are first Spaniard to lead the World Championship – how does that feel?
FA: I am enjoying the moment: I am leading the championship and have the best opportunity of my career to be in a winning car, and celebrate each victory. When we talk about the championship, we should not do it based on the first three races – it is the last three or four races of the season that will be the important ones I think. But having said that, I prefer to take the points now and build a strong position from the start. We know it will be a long year, so I just want to continue enjoying myself, and keep working as hard as I can.

Looking ahead to Imola, what will the demands be?
FA: Imola is a very tough circuit for the suspension: we hit the kerbs hard, and the car needs to be able to cope with that. The drivers must be aggressive through the corners, which I like, and it is impossible to relax: if you get the line wrong over the kerbs, you will be in the gravel trap or the barrier. You also need to find good mechanical grip in the slow corners, traction on the exit and a strong engine down the short straights. So far, the R25 has been competitive on all the types of circuit we have visited; I expect it will continue in San Marino.

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