Nathanaël Berthon, who participated in the GP2 Asia Series with Racing Engineering in 2011 is about to start his first full season in the GP2 Series with the Spanish team.
Following on from the two recent GP2 pre-season testing sessions at Jerez and Barcelona, where the young Frenchman showed that he has the pace to be competitive from the start, Nathanaël talks about Sepang and the 2012 season to come.
Nat, the first race weekend of the 2012 GP2 Series is less than a week away. Are you excited for the season to finally start?
Of course I am! It's a big opportunity for me to be part of the GP2 championship! It's going to be a big fight, but I am more than ready for it. After testing, I am really looking forward for the season to start and to get into the car to race it. I am also looking forward to the Sepang circuit and think it will be an exciting season opener in Malaysia.
Sepang is a race track you have not raced at before. Does this mean you prepare yourself differently for this race event? And if so, how?
I have never been to Sepang before, but from what I know about the track, it looks really nice. It is of course a bit different if you drive on a track you do not know yet, but my preparation included work on the simulator to understand the layout of the track a bit better, to get used to the sequence of corners on this track. But I have also had a special physical preparation as it's very hot and humid in Malaysia and this means the conditions are more demanding for the drivers.
During the tests in Jerez and Barcelona a few weeks ago you prepared for the season. What were your main conclusions from these test days that you are taking over to the races?
Well, we did a lot of work, collected a lot of data from the different runs, but there is still a lot of work to do. This is exciting as the bigger the challenge, the bigger the satisfaction when you succeed.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season and who do you think will be your main competitors?
I think my expectations are the same as those of all my competitors, if you race; you do so because you want to win. But it's important to keep in mind that most of the GP2 drivers in 2012 have a lot of experience in this category already. This means they have some advantage at the beginning of the season, but the cards are in my hands and I will work very hard to reduce this advantage that more experienced drivers might have.