|Next weekend sees the opening round of the 2016 GP2 Series at the Spanish circuit of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and below Racing Engineering’s new driver, Frenchman Norman Nato, talks about his expectations for the new season.
Norman, pre-season testing went well with you being regularly in the top positions. Is this what we can look forward to for the 2016 GP2 season as well?
Pre-season testing went well. We worked a lot in qualifying mode and on race simulations, which is important for the season. The test days were very insightful and we were busy the weeks after analyzing all the data from the tests. Are we able to continue being in the top positions so regularly? It’s hard to say, but this is our objective and what we are working for. We are all giving our best for this to be the case.
This will be your second season in GP2. So far, where do you see the biggest differences between 2015 and this year?
This is difficult to say. I definitely have more experience than I had a year ago, so the season preparation was different as I knew what to focus on, what to pay attention to and which fields to improve. I obviously made mistakes during my rookie season, but the important thing is that I learnt from them. I really feel ready for the top positions now and am sure we can fight for the championship this year.
Barcelona is the first venue of the 2016 season. Is the Circuito de Cataluña a track you like and what makes it special to you as a driver?
All drivers know Barcelona quite well with many lower categories having winter tests there. With everyone being so familiar with the track and GP2 having had three days of winter testing there, I think drivers will be really close in regards to lap times. As for the track itself, I like it as it’s quite a challenging track with a mixture of slow and fast corners. The asphalt is quite abrasive, so tyre wear is an issue and traction is a key factor. Given the layout of the track there are few places where overtaking is possible, so qualifying will be very important this weekend.
In your first outing as Racing Engineering driver during the Barcelona test days the results were good. Do you think we will see you in similar positions during the upcoming race weekend?
I really hope so! It’s hard to say at the moment as many things can influence the outcome of a race weekend, but we work hard on being as prepared as possible. We aim for the top spots and to do whatever we can to make it happen.
What are your expectations for this season and who do you think will be your main competitors given the strong field this season?
I really want to fight for the championship this season. I think we have the package to take the title at the end of the year, even though there are other good drivers in GP2 this season. It’s hard to say who will be the main competitors. I think there are several drivers, including my team mate, who can be strong this season and I am sure after only a few races we will see, who the candidates for the title will be. My aim is to regularly score points in each race as this is the key to the title.