The Renault Formula One Team looks ahead to the Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. As the first Russian driver in Formula 1, Vitaly Petrov has a big weekend ahead. He sums up his emotions ahead of his Grand Prix debut.
Vitaly, how excited are you ahead of your first race? "People are asking me if I feel nervous, but I’m used to racing and I know what I need to do. Of course things are different in F1 and I’m still learning about the car and how to work with the team. But I feel good and I can’t wait to go racing in Bahrain."
How tough has it been to get up to speed with Formula 1? "It hasn’t been easy, especially because we had so much wet running during testing. You always want more time to test and more time in the car, but that’s how it is. The problem is that I haven’t had a lot of time to work on setting up the car in the dry. What I have found is that you need to be really precise with any changes you make to the set-up because even a little change can make a huge difference to the car’s behaviour."
What do you think of the circuit in Bahrain? Is it a track you enjoy? "I know the track and raced on the old layout in GP2, but obviously the new section is a new challenge for all the drivers. I don’t think about whether I enjoy tracks: all that matters to me is that the car works well and we can find a good balance. Bahrain is all about braking performance and, with the heavy fuel loads, this will be very challenging because it will be easy to lock a wheel and flat-spot your tyres early in the race."
What is your target for your first race? "It hard to say because we still don’t know where we stand compared to the other teams and I haven’t driven the car with all the new updates. I need to be realistic in Bahrain because it’s my first race and it will be a big learning experience. So my first aim is to build my confidence through the weekend, to finish the race and try to be as close to my teammate as possible."Source Renault