Q+A Kazuki Nakajima

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It will be a very special season for Kazuki Nakajima as it will be his first full Formula One season and this with a historic team which celebrates its 30th birthday. Nakajima looks ahead to the first race of the season at Melbourne on Sunday.

Kazuki Nakajima 2008 marks your debut season as a Formula One driver, you must be excited?

"I’m really excited! I’ve done a lot of work over the winter with my engineers and it’s all gone well. The car also feels good so I’m positive. Having already raced in the Brazilian Grand Prix last year, I feel a bit more relaxed going into the season because I’ve experienced a race weekend before and know exactly what is expected of me."

What are your objectives for the year ahead?

"As it’s my debut season, it’s difficult to talk about results but obviously I want to do my best in every race. It’s my first year in Formula One so it won’t be easy to get everything right first time, so my objective is to make good progress and enjoy the races."

What preparations have you undertaken over the winter to ensure you are fully prepared?

"I’ve been working really hard over the winter, particularly on my training, focussing on cardio work and improving my neck strength. I’ve also been working out in some hotter climates to prepare myself for places like Malaysia. I’ve spent a lot of time with my engineers, at the track and at the factory, to make sure I get my consistency right. Improving my English has also been a priority!"

How much work has it taken to get to Formula One?

"Everyone knows it’s really difficult to get into Formula One. I raced in GP2 last year and then in F3 the year before that. I just made sure I did my best in GP2, and performing well in those races helped. Doing a good job when I raced for the team in Brazil last year probably worked in my favour too."

Like Nico and Keke, your father was also an F1 driver. How much of a role has he played in your career?

"Firstly, I have to say that it’s primarily because of him that I ever had an interest in racing. If he hadn’t been a driver, I probably would have been doing something else now. So from that point of view, he’s been fundamental. On a practical level, he’s now always there to offer advice, but he hasn’t been
hovering over my shoulder!"

Williams will celebrate a number of landmarks this year, notably 500 GPs. What does it mean to you to make your career debut with a team with such a strong heritage in the sport?

"Williams is a great team with a long and successful history. For me, it’s really special to be making my debut with them because I can learn so much from their experience. It’s also like one big family. Everyone loves what they do and has just one aim and that is to race, so as a driver it’s one of the best teams to be with."

You were the team’s test driver in 2007 so had experience of the FW29. Is the FW30 an improvement?

"It’s definitely a step forward. When I drove the FW30 for the first time in Valencia at the start of January, I could tell the difference from the FW29 straight away and my initial feelings were really positive. We also have some updates planned for Melbourne which should also take us further forward."

What are your expectations for the team this year?

"It’s really difficult to predict. One thing is clear and that is that Ferrari and McLaren are still ahead of us, but the midfield is really close so it’s going to be a big fight among those teams and we’re in that group. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a great season so, if we do well, it will be well deserved."