Q: You’ve been making a lot of history lately; your first race for LRGP, your first F1 points – what’s next?
Bruno Senna: It’s hard to say. We are progressing nicely, and I’m gradually becoming more comfortable with the car and with the team. There are a number of areas I still need to progress; I need to improve my technical knowledge of the R31 and there are some areas of my driving to brush up on – I’m certainly not 100% there yet. I’m sweeping up every piece of information I can each weekend and I hope that, as a team, we can continue scoring points and secure top 10 qualifying positions in the meantime – we should be household names in Q3 every Saturday afternoon. Hopefully by the time I’m fully-acquainted with the car, I’ll be securing more points for the team.
Q. Has the reality now sunk in that you are an LRGP race driver?
BS: Yes, it has well and truly sunk in. I had a great time in Monza because I already had one race under my belt. I have had various outings in the R31 this year, but I haven’t had the race weekend experience that the other drivers on the grid have had ; they were fully up to speed with their cars and aware of what they could achieve by the time I arrived. Everything is, of course, a little new from my point of view. Before Monza, I’d only had one experience of qualifying, which was very tough. The race was a great learning curve; it was enjoyable and I think it was a very encouraging result considering how much trouble I was in at the first corner. The evidence is there for all to see that the car performed well and the team adopted a good strategy – two very encouraging signs indeed.
Q. What has been the most trying aspect of your new role ?
BS: It has been quite tricky getting used to the tyres. Everyone started this season talking about tyres, tyres and tyres but, as with most things, the more practise you can get the easier it becomes. Getting the most out of the Pirelli tyres is not easy ; it’s a big learning curve, but it’s apparent there is plenty of potential to come (from them), so I hope to piece it all together in the next few races.
Q. The Singapore GP– this being a night race, how will your approach change?
BS: Singapore will be a real test. It’s a fairly recent addition to the calendar in F1 terms, and it will be quite a novelty for me. It will be quite demanding to extract everything I can from the car, but I am enthusiastic about what awaits, and I hope I can reward the team with some more points.
I will approach the weekend in a similar vain to Monza by completing as many laps as possible in the practice sessions, which will hopefully help me reach Q3 in qualifying. Singapore is a trying track; there are so many corners and you have to be on the ball to avoid making mistakes; it really does bring out the best in a driver. Knowing how to set-up the car is not easy either. Physically, it’s also difficult because it is very humid and the track requires you to be precise corner after corner. Driving at night, you notice the combination of light and shadow which takes some getting used to. As with the Malaysian GP, Singapore requires you to arrive at the track a little earlier to help acclimatise. Having said that, the team will also remain on their British Summer Time body clocks because of the weekend’s timetable! I’m looking forward to a fun and different type of race weekend.
Q. Lady luck seemed to desert you in Italy – what’s your take on the race?
Vitaly Petrov: Throughout the weekend the team made a good step forward. We improved on the set-up of the car, and of course our P7 and P10 qualifying positions were great news; there was a very buoyant team spirit after that! Then, for the race it was just a case of bad luck, but that’s sport. I think Vitantonio (Liuzzi) understands where he went wrong and we’ve now drawn a line under it and taken a positive step forward from that weekend. There’s no doubt the mood within the camp is high.
Q. Next stop Singapore – is that a special race for you?
VP: Singapore is a little different because you are racing at night and sleeping during the day, so you need to change your schedule and be prepared to be a nocturnal racer! As a driver, you really need to spend more time outside, which is why I arrive on the Monday prior to the race weekend so I can adapt to the conditions.
Q. Are you a fan of street circuits?
VP: Yes, I am. I like tracks that require maximum concentration and where you cannot afford to make any mistakes. It goes without saying that it’s not an easy track ; the traction is very important, which is something that has plagued us in the past. However, we are confident of improving on this by ensuring a good set-up for qualifying. The track consists of 23 very demanding corners but I’m looking forward to returning there and trying to improve on my performance from last year.
Q. What will be the key aspects for the car set-up?
VP: First and foremost, we have to get to grips with the traction (excuse the pun!). The track is bumpy, the car jumps a lot and it is easy to lock the wheels, which we will need to try and avoid this year.
Q. Have you gone through any special preparations to deal with the heat and humidity of this race?
VP: I don’t think you can easily prepare for this race. The conditions will be the same as we faced in Malaysia, and we can’t simulate these weather conditions back in England! I like the fact that we will be working at night and sleeping during the day ; I actually think that in adopting this pattern I will be able to sleep more! The best way to prepare is to arrive in Singapore as early as possible to acclimatise oneself. It will be the same for everyone so I don’t fear this race, not at all.