Q and A: Nelson Piquet

nelson-piquet-jrAfter a difficult debut year with Renault, Nelson Piquet says he is feeling more relaxed and confident about 2009.

Nelson, you’re entering your second season of Formula 1 are you excited about the year ahead?
Absolutely I’m feeling much more confident this year and looking forward to returning to Melbourne. I learned so much with the team in 2008 and I now have a year of experience under my belt which will make things easier. It’s also a new era for Formula 1 with lots of changes, but we’ve made good progress with the car during testing and we are heading to Melbourne with high hopes.

How difficult has it been adapting to the new rules introduced this season?
The cars are totally different to last year and so all the drivers have had to adapt to this. Learning about KERS has been a challenge for the engineers and drivers, just as the moveable front wing flaps have been because these are totally new systems that are being introduced this year. We’ve also had to adapt to the return of slick tyres, but I’m really happy to see them back as they are always more fun.

What are your thoughts on the Albert Park circuit?
It’s a challenging track and quite a difficult place to set the car up as it’s a mixture between a permanent venue and a temporary street course with lots of tricky slow speed corners, as well as some quicker sections. As a city, I love Melbourne: the fans are great and the atmosphere of the race is always pretty special.

Have you set yourself a target for Australia?
It’s still difficult to know how we compare to the other teams and so setting a target isn’t easy. We know we have a good race car that is consistent and so I think we will be competitive in Melbourne. I will do my best to try and reach Q3 in qualifying and hopefully finish in the points.