You got your first taste of a Force India car last week in Valencia – what were your impressions?
It was a very good day both for the team and for me personally. We learned a lot about the new Pirelli tyres and for me it was a special moment to sit in a Force India race car for the very first time. The entire team was highly motivated and so the day was a big pleasure.
Are you feeling at home in the team now?
Yes, I am. Of course we still need some time to fit together perfectly, but the start was very promising and finding each other will not take too long. I can’t wait to sit in the car and work with the team again.
What will your plans be from now until the start of the season in Bahrain?
I will be in London when the new car will be presented. And I will be in the factory several times, fly to Barcelona with the team, do some PR-days and fitness training and sit in the car again at the test in Bahrain.
What are your objectives for 2011 and will you continue racing alongside your F1 duties?
No I will not compete in another series. I will focus on my work at Force India only. I want to help the team as much as I can. We want to be within the best five teams in 2011 and I will try my best to assist on that. Personally I want to satisfy the team to be back in a race car in 2012.
Last year Paul got several free practice outings on Fridays – will you have this opportunity as well?
Yes, luckily the team will give me the chance to drive on Fridays in free practice one.
Over the season we understand you’ll be involved in other duties other than just the test driver role – can you talk us through this?
I will be testing in the simulator several times this year trying to develop our car outside the race track.
What can you contribute to the team in this role?
I hope I can give some useful feedback during race weekends with my experience from last year. Obviously I will be around and have my eyes and ears very open trying to help the team and drivers.
You visited Silverstone yesterday – what have you learned about the team since you were announced as a Force India driver?
I did my seat fit for the new VJM04 yesterday. I know that everyone back in the factory is working hard to get the VJM04 out on track right now, everyone is motivated.
What do you think about the new rule changes that have been introduced this year?
Difficult to say right now as I haven’t tested a car under the 2011 spec rules. But I believe that KERS, the movable rear wing and the new Pirelli tyres will make racing more exiting this year and allow more overtaking during races.
How have you prepared for the new season?
Well, I did the fitness preparation as usual, plus I’ve visited the Force India Factory to get to know the people there.