Q & A with Sam Bird
|By Steven English||Monday, November 30th 2009, 15:26 GMT|
Q. How does it feel to have signed with the champion GP2 team for your first year in the series?
Sam Bird: ART are the team everyone wants to drive for and I've been wanting to sign for them for a long time now. It's such a pleasure to see that Fred has given me this opportunity and I'm really excited by the new challenge. I've moved on from F3, graduated up to GP2 and everything starts afresh now.
ART are an extremely professional outfit and I've thoroughly enjoyed working with them so far. We get on well and I believe we can forge a strong relationship in 2010.
Q. How was your GP2 Asia Series outing with ART in Abu Dhabi?
SB: It was very encouraging. I qualified second but had a problem with the car in the first race with one lap to go. Then in the second race, starting down the back, I set the fastest lap. So the speed was there, and I hope I can continue to learn from that experience. We have got off to a good start.
Q. What are your thoughts on being paired with Jules Bianchi, who has already won a championship with the team?
SB: The first thing is always to beat your team-mate, but it's important to work well together as well. I worked with him for the first time at Macau and we got on extremely well on and off the track, so if that continues in GP2 we could hopefully learn a lot from each other.
As I said, the first thing you have to do is beat your team-mate, and in order to beat Jules I think you're going to have to be winning races - he's shown how quick he can be. But with ART I think I'm in the right place to do that, so we'll have to see what happens.
Q. Nico Hulkenberg won the GP2 title as a rookie with ART this year. Is that the target for you in 2010?
SB: There is a strong history of GP2 rookies at the team. Nico Rosberg was a rookie, Lewis Hamilton was a rookie, and Hulkenberg too - all driving for ART. There are some massive shoes to fill, but if I work hard over the winter and am well prepared, I'll have the best chance possible.
Q. You've experienced the GP2 Main Series car already in testing, how have you found that so far?
SB: The GP2 car is an extremely tough car to drive, you need to have prepared well - particularly physically - over the winter. The races are a lot longer than in Formula 3 and the competition is extremely strong. Everything just goes up another gear, so you need to be prepared for that.
It's really more about learning how the team want me to drive their car. Their way of working is extremely good and has obviously worked in the past with so many of their drivers winning championships. If their methods were good enough for those past champions then I need to keep learning their ways, which is what I'm doing at the moment.