Location: #SpanishGP, Barcelona.
First of all, we could talk a bit about your fourth place and your feelings about the race…
It wasn’t bad. Obviously after starting P3, I aimed for a better result. But it was a bit of a messy race, with too many Virtual Safety Cars. But even if you look at the race result, the cars in front were quite close. It was a really tight and hard race, almost like a qualifying for one hour. I think that we could have finished on the podium for sure, but there have been some things that haven’t worked out well. One of them has been the Virtual Safety Car. We didn’t use it as well as we should have used it. But I think that we can be happy with where we were, fighting for the podium almost all the race, and it’s a good starting point.
Do you expect that the rest of the year is going to be as tight as today’s race?
Well, Barcelona is a track that we all know very well, so every driver is very quick here. For sure, there’s not a team clearly on top of the order, like it was last year or two years ago. So it’s maybe a sign of a very tight order between all the teams and all the drivers, which is what we hope for. We don’t really want a few teams on top, like we’ve had with DAMS and ART. Both have very good cars, especially DAMS for qualifying – they were very quick. But we were very close in Baku and very close here again. We’re missing just a little bit to beat them, and we need to be able to find those last few tenths.
What’s your take on the Safety Car debate? There have been some controversial opinions about SC and VSC because they may benefit people just based on luck.
Well, it’s a season and it’s supposed to be good for everyone. But at the end of the day it’s not a man, it’s a machine; and it cannot be perfect every time. I think that it needs some big improvements since the first time that we tried it, last year in Bahrain. F2 did a good job with it but there is still something to improve and I still believe that Safety Car is the best thing that can be out there. But Safety Car always takes out everything and is like starting the race from zero. We need something like the VSC that can keep the gaps. The problem is that they have to work to keep the gaps as close as they are at the moment that we are racing. But you don’t have to change a lot at the moment in the VSC. Maybe some driver is giving too much space on another, and that’s what they have to work on right now.
Which differences do you feel between your former team, RUSSIAN TIME, and the way of working at Campos Racing?
To be honest, I feel really well at Campos. They do trust on me, they really follow what I ask of the car. From the classification and how the last year was for Campos, you could say that RUSSIAN TIME is a much better team, but for me it’s not. I have to say that I’m really happy about how we are working and how we are improving. The team made a good effort this year with finding new personnel and the best for the car. To be honest, let’s say that I don’t miss anything from last year.
What’s like to work with Adrián Campos?
He’s a very good guy, first of all, and he’s very experienced; and he’s been a driver, which is very good, because you know… When the owner of the team is a normal person, it’s easy; buy when you have an ex-F1 driver as the owner of the team, you always get some extra help and some advice from him. It’s good that he’s always there, taking part in the meetings, that he always gives his view about strategy, which is always a good hand for us.
Taking into consideration that this is your third year in F2, what plans are you making for the future?
I think that it’s 99% sure that this will be my last year in F2. I’m always hopeful with F1, especially after I tested with Williams last year. But my hopes are very high still.
How did Williams help to your skills as a driver?
We worked very well together, I tested 1 day in Hungary with them last year and also in the simulator. Unfortunately, I have to say that our talks didn’t go on to this year. I can understand their decision, because they needed an experienced third driver this year. But I’m happy with the work we did together, I’m happy with how the test went last year, I really hope that maybe some other opportunity comes sooner or later.
Why do you think that they’re struggling so much this year? Is it related to the inexperienced line-up?
You know, it’s always tough to judge something when you’re not working on it, so I don’t want to say anything wrong about them.
Talking about F1, there have been discussions about the mínimum weight of the car for next year, to help the taller drivers. As one of them, how do you regard this debate? Do you feel that it is a step in the right direction?
From what I’ve heard, they’ve been thinking about adding weight to the seat. Normally with the ballast, the lower it is the better it becomes for the centre of gravity of the car; the closer it is to the ground, the better it is. I think that’s good, I’m a tall driver – one of the heaviest of the F2 grid this year – and it could be very good for me. It’s all I can say!
What do you think that might be wrong with Italian motorsport for you drivers not to progress as easily as in the old times?
Well, Giovinazzi went to F1 as a third driver and he drove with Sauber last year. That looked like a new beginning of Italian drivers in F1 but then, unfortunately, he didn’t race anymore. It’s tough to answer this question really. I think that, if you look at GP3 and F2, there are some Italian drivers doing pretty good results. I cannot say if I’m good enough for F1 or not, because I don’t want to judge myself. Definitely it’s been a tough time for Italy in terms of F1 drivers; I think that the last one was Trulli in 2011 [yep, it was Trulli with Team Lotus]. I did a test with Williams and currently I don’t know if I’m going to have the chance to get into F1 sooner or later, but I really hope so.