Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima looks back on his first full season in Formula One and assess the impact of next year’s sweeping new regulations.
So, Kazuki, the season finished over a month ago now, have you had a nice break? What have you been up to?
“I ve had a really nice time! When the season ended I went home to Japan for about three weeks for a holiday. It was nice to see my family and friends again as I haven t seen them for so long. The weather at home was quite nice too which always helps. I m now back in the UK so I can spend some time in the factory before Christmas and to cover the next two tests in Jerez.”
This year was your rookie season in Formula One. How would you summarise it?
“I think it was a good first year, although it wasn t perfect, obviously. It wasn t easy when the car didn t suit the track, but I do feel that I ve developed myself throughout the year, which is a really important thing to do in your rookie year.”
What were your high and low points?
“I think my best race was probably Singapore. It was a great event, the atmosphere was amazing and the team got another podium with Nico and I scored a point after quite a difficult race. My worst race was probably Bahrain when my anti-stall didn t kick in at the start. That pushed me to the back of the field, and then I had a spin so I pretty much spent the race fighting my way up from last.”
If you ve learnt one lesson this season, what would it be?
“I ve learnt a lot about what it takes to be a Formula One driver, but there s always still more to learn.”
You re heading to Spain next week for the Jerez test when you will experience the new aero package and slick tyres for the first time on the interim chassis. The cars are radically different for next year, what do you think they will be like to drive?
“I m sure it will feel very different to this year s car. From my experience of the last test with the FW30B, the tests in Jerez could be quite difficult as the car is not balanced properly because it is a hybrid version. I m sure though that it will be much better when we get the new car next year.”
What do you think of the new aero regulations?
“Firstly, they haven t made the cars look very attractive but, if the new regulations encourage more overtaking, I think it s worth it.”
Are you looking forward to the return to slick tyres?
“Yes I am. I think the cars will be more fun to drive.”
What objectives are you setting yourself for next year?
“To get better results than I did this year and to maybe get a podium. That would be really great.”
Now you re back in the UK, what are your plans for the winter?
“Apart from testing, my main objective is to work on my training programme. And for that I really hope we have some nice weather!”
How important is it to you to spend time with your engineers at the factory over the winter?
“I think it s very important. Because the amount of testing we can do has been reduced, to spend time with my engineers whenever I can is really important so that I get more of an understanding of the car.”
What training will you be focusing on before the start of the season?
“Every aspect, I ll be working really hard on my physical fitness over the winter to be in the best possible shape for next season. As usual, one of the most important considerations of winter training is making sure you re fit for racing in the heat in places like Malaysia and Bahrain so I ll be working on that with my trainer.”