Q & A with Giorgio Mondini

With the recent announcement that Ryan Sharp had asked to leave the DPR team for a drive in the World Series by Renault with Jenzer Racing, Giorgio Mondini was announced as his replacement.

Q & A with Giorgio Mondini

On his first day in the GP2 paddock at the Hungaroring he spoke to to discuss how the deal came about, his problems this year in coming to grips with his World Series car, and his hopes for the future.

Q. Welcome to GP2. First things first - how did you arrange to be here?

Giorgio Mondini: "First I was interested in GP2 since the inception of the category, so since last year, but I couldn't find the budget to race here and so Nicolas Todt, who is my manager, worked hard all season for me. And finally Ryan Sharp, well, let's say we made an exchange - not really an exchange, because he is going to a different team in World Series, but he decided to leave. And that left one place for me - I thought there would be a place for me in this category before now, but this is the first place that became open.

"I am glad to come here - it's going to be hard, with half an hour of free practice and half an hour of qualifying, but I hope I will learn something before the second race. It was not an easy choice, because I knew that I would not come here and be in the front immediately - for sure not after one race, and maybe even after five races it will not be enough. I am here to do the best job possible, and of course it is a good experience, especially for next year.

"After what was a really disappointing experience in World Series, which after winning the championship [Formula Renault V6] last year, well, I won't be so pretentious to say that I thought I would win this year, but from winning to be in the last places was not really what I was expecting, even in my worst nightmares! Coming here is not to say that I will change categories and I will be in the third position - I think it's going to be very hard because it is very competitive, and moreover they have thousands of kilometres of experience with this car.

"But I have a good teammate who is doing quite well, the team is doing quite well and is one of the two, three, four top teams here. Anyway, it is a good experience, especially for next year."

Q. I imagine you're here for the rest of the season...

Mondini: "Yes, that's right."

Q. Given that you are coming in more than half a season into the championship it's going to be pretty difficult for you. What are your ambitions for the rest of the year?

Mondini: "I'm a driver who was a little bit lost, who lost himself during the season, and the main reason was that from day one of testing with World Series I had big problems with braking and locking the rear of the car - we couldn't fix the problem, and my teammate didn't have this kind of problem, and other competitors in the category didn't complain about that. To go fast in a race car you have to attack and you have to think about just the details, not a big thing like that. If you say you brake late and the car will lock in the rear then at every braking point you will leave some tenths there - it's not constructive driving like this.

"So my hopes here are related to my sensations in the car tomorrow - I think if after ten laps I have a good sensation with the car, okay, for sure I will leave some tenths around the track because I don't know how the clutch is, I don't know how the engine is, I don't know the set up - even if you change from one World Series team to another you leave some tenths, because you don't know the car is, or how they set the car up.

"This is already a big thing, and of course there is the fact that I have never driven this kind of car, so practically my hopes for this race at the Hungaroring are to finish both races, to do the 300 kilometres, to do the best I can, but my main goal is to finish both of the races and not have any mechanical failures so I can bring the result. I would say at Turkey the circuit is new for everybody, so I have only one deficit there - the car knowledge - but I would say for Spa, Monza and Bahrain I would have something.

"But for me we were at a point where I complained about something [the brake problem] that has never happened to me in five years driving, and the team [Eurointernational Racing] on their side was saying that I was not adapting myself to the car, so I will come here after three years with the team, and maybe I will have another answer. I don't think I became stupid in two or three months.

"But at the same time I don't want to say that the team was bad, because the people were very professional and when they had to do something they did a very good and intensive job - maybe they are missing some people that have experience or knowledge of certain kinds of problems, because when things are going well everything is always fine, but when there is a problem you need certain kinds of experience to solve it.

"But for sure I am very happy to be here now, I am very motivated, and Mr. Todt and myself knew that coming here was going to be hard because there are many drivers here who have better palmares [racing history] than me, and they are doing a very good job this year. I will see what will happen - I don't know if they will be one tenth, three tenths or five in front of me, but if David Price is able to give me a car, or I am able to speak with David Price and [DPR technical chief] Andy Miller to fix me a car as I want then I'm sure I can do a good job."

Q. And you've proved last year, when you won in the V6, that you can do a good job.

Mondini: "For sure. I think it's a question of comprehension - when you go to a shoe tailor and say 'it's hurting me here' and he tries one time, two times, fifteen times, and he cannot do anything, at the end you say that you know where the answer is, even if he cannot find it. I am not saying that Eurointernational are shit, because this problem is not a question of set up - it could be a question of balancing it out, but I cannot say that the car is shit - I can only say what makes the car undriveable was a problem that I had from day one, which is twelve races plus testing plus five hours on Thursdays that they could not fix it. This is the main problem with the team, but otherwise I think they are good people. Mentally I need something to go right this year, because from after the championship last year the testing in the 3000 was good with Durango, and we also had a good first test in the World Series, but from there on it was not good."

Q. Do you see the remainder of the year with GP2 as a practice run for a full season here next year?

Mondini: "I think that my programme next year is to do GP2, for sure - if I stay in Europe, then for sure I will stay in GP2. This is something that is quite sure."

Q. And what will happen with your drive in the World Series - will it continue this year?

Mondini: "Yes - I will miss Donington to do Spa, but for sure I will continue in both for this year."

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