Following on from his victorious debut with the Racing Engineering team at the end of 2011 Fabio Leimer will be driving the number 5 car for the Spanish team in the 2012 GP2 Series.
The young Swiss already has two wins to his name in the GP2 Main Series as well as a proven record in all the classes of racing he has competed in and below he talks about his ambitions for 2012. Fabio, after a total of 6 test days in Spain, what are your main conclusions?
We had very promising tests and everything we wanted to test regarding the set ups was done. That was the most important thing, that we gather as much information as possible during these test days. I am confident and looking forward to the first race in Sepang and think we will clearly be competitive and try to fight for the championship title.
This season there are two new venues on the calendar, Sepang and Singapore. Both race tracks are new for you. How do you approach a race weekend when you do not know the track yet and especially when it's the opening round of the championship?
This is not the easiest situation for a driver, especially in GP2, where track time is quite limited. But there are simulators and data that help with such situations and there is definitely more focus on simulations to get to know the track and the specialties of each corner better. I also watch F1 videos to be as well prepared as possible. During Free Practice it is necessary to have 15-20 minutes to get as familiar with the track as possible. If we approach Free Practice with a good base set up, I should have enough time to learn the track and we can attack in qualifying.
Following the results you had with Racing Engineering that allowed you to look back on a race win in Abu Dhabi, things look good on paper. Do you think you are ready to make the step to take the championship title?
For sure, it was the goal to win GP2 in year two. Sadly enough it wasn't like this and I had a very difficult season in 2011 with the new car and the new tires, but fortunately I could drive with Racing Engineering in Jerez, Barcelona and also the season finale. This has visibly worked out very well. The car was perfect for me and my driving style. It is exactly how I like a car and that's why I think, with some twists and turns, we will be competitive this year and fight for the championship.
And who do you think will be your main competitors in GP2 in 2012?
This is always difficult to predict in GP2. It also depends a lot on the team and how it is set up compared to the previous season. But I don't think there will be big changes from last year to this season.