Nick Heidfeld on this weekends British Grand Prix.
“Silverstone is different to the other places in F1 – it’s unique”
With another plucky point for the team in Valencia, Nick discusses how he thinks the new Silverstone track could suit the team.
Looking back to the European Grand Prix, how would you summarise your weekend in Valencia?
Well, the race itself was not as successful as we hoped or even expected it to be after Saturday’s qualifying. P9 and P11 is not what we target, but given our pace on the Friday and Saturday it was clear that was where we were. On Sunday we were hoping to fight with Mercedes because we usually have a stronger race pace than we do in qualifying, but that was not the case. I was aiming to battle for sixth or seventh position but, in the end, it wasn’t to be; finishing in P10 was not a result of any particular mistakes so we have looked at where we can improve for Silverstone.
The race in Valencia had a few more battles than we saw in previous years there – is that proof that F1 has got more exciting for spectators?
Yes, definitely. The Valencia race is quite a recent addition to the calendar, and during that time it hasn’t been known for its excitement or overtaking. This year there was some, which shows that the changes that were drafted into Formula One prior to this season have made it more exciting; there was not as much overtaking there as at the previous races this season but still it made for a good spectacle. Vettel may have been leading the whole way, but P2 between Alonso and Webber changed quite a few times so that was entertaining for people.
What steps need to be taken to ensure you finish higher up the points in the coming races?
As I’ve said before, we understood some of the problems we encountered but you cannot wave a magic wand and change these things overnight. Everyone is working very hard in the factory but the question on all our minds is what’s going to happen with the change in regulations from Silverstone. We will wait to see if that changes the pecking order or the gap between the teams, and then go from there.
Looking ahead to the British GP – do you think the track, with its faster corners, will suit the R31 well?
First of all, we will need to see how Pirelli’s choice of tyres (soft and hard) will affect the race – so that’s going to be an interesting aspect. I’ve not actually driven the new track here yet, so that will be exciting for me. I’ve driven at Silverstone plenty of times before but last year I didn’t, and I know that since then they have changed the layout. I think Silverstone will suit our car a lot better because at the other high speed circuits this year we have been relatively strong. And, with the new regulation changes it’s going to be exciting; some people think nothing will change, some think that we will see changes but it is all just guesswork. A number of people think we will be one of the teams most badly hit (by the changes), but I doubt it. Let’s see who’s right!
You finished second at the British GP before – does the challenge of driving at a new-look Silverstone excite you?
Yes it’s always nice to drive at a new track but, on the other hand, if you look at the layout of the old track it was a great track to drive at. On the old circuit there was Bridge Corner, which was quite special; a lot of people involved in racing would say this was quite a unique section but it has gone now. I’m not sure what the new circuit will be like, the first part is the same with a lot of high speed corners such as Stowe. Silverstone is very different to a lot of other places – it’s a unique place that’s for sure.