1. You’re back with Force India for another season! What are your feelings about this?
I made my F1 debut with the team back in 2007 and we’ve worked together since then, so to stay for another year here feels very right. I’ve always said that I feel good in this team, it feels like family and when you feel good, you are confident and can push to your maximum. We’ve made some good progress together over the past four years and I’m excited to be part of the the team when it takes the next step, which is hopefully to become a front running team. We have the same ambitions so it makes a lot of sense to achieve them together.
2. What made you want to stay with the team?
Over the past four years we’ve made huge progress. When I started we were at the back of the grid and since then we’ve got stronger and stronger and are now achieving real results. Force India is now genuinely a strong midfield team, but it’s got plans to be even better: I’ve seen the plans for this year and it looks positive. The car will be quite strong, the team work well together and with the new regulations favouring smaller teams we should be in a good position for the future.
3. This will be your fifth season with Force India. What are the advantages of staying with a team for a longer period of time?
You know the team, you know the people, the procedures, the systems and how to get things done so it’s a very positive working environment as you can just get on with things. We know each other’s strengths and also weaknesses so everything you do happens very smoothly.
4. What can you achieve with Force India this year?
I was in the points a lot in the first half of 2010 and I want to keep that going until the end of the season this year. We were quick but it tailed off a little in the middle of the year so to be consistently quick and in the points has got to be the aim. The odd podium would also be very welcome!
5. Last year was your most successful season in F1 to date – what has helped you get to that point, do you think you have grown as a driver?
I’m obviously more experienced and now know when to push and when to hold back. I also know the circuits and the places you can overtake and how to get the best out of the car in them. Plus knowing your team and knowing they understand you gives a real psychological advantage.
6. You have two new team-mates this year, how do you think you will work together?
I’ve known Paul for the past year and we’ve got a good relationship. He did a really good job in the test driver seat last year and showed he’s quick and has a good technical feedback, but he is also open about what he’s done and how he felt we could improve. That’s really important for the team so it should work well. I know Nico relatively well and he seems like a good guy. Having a good test driver is positive as you know that in every area the team is strong.
7. As the most experienced F1 driver in the team now, do you feel there is a pressure on you to lead the team?
There’s no additional pressure from the team, they expect everyone to do a good job. The only pressure I feel is the one I put on myself to be as quick as I can.
8. What are your aims in F1?
Still the same as I had when I came in: to be quick, score points, podiums and wins, and eventually to be a world champion.
9. With the Indian GP coming up this year, will it be a special year to be with the team?
For sure. I have been to India several times with the team and have seen how the team and F1 are getting bigger and bigger. There’s now a real fan following and they have got behind the team. Being in a Force India car for the Indian GP is going to be very special and I hope I can do the fans and country proud.