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F1: Beyond The Grid

Giancarlo Fisichella: history with Ferrari, Force India and Fernando Alonso

Tue Jun 20 2023

Giancarlo Fisichella's Career

00:04 - 07:44

  • Giancarlo Fisichella won the Malaysian Grand Prix for his third and final win in Formula One.
  • Fisichella's career was more modest than his talent deserved.
  • Fisichella has fond memories of his five races with Ferrari, including racing at Monza.
  • Tom Clarkson interviews Giancarlo Fisichella on F1 Beyond the Grid podcast.
  • Fisichella had a dramatic career, from being awarded his first win five days after the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix to taking pole for Force India in 2009.
  • Driving for Renault, Fisichella claimed early victories in both 2005 and 2006 but never became world champion due to bad luck and Fernando Alonso's speed.
  • Fisichella created history for Force India by following that pole in Belgium with a podium to secure the team's first-ever points.
  • Fisichella drove a hybrid car at Fiorano recently and enjoyed it despite differences compared to V8s and V10s he raced before. He still races competitively today at age 50.
  • Fisichella watches Formula One races occasionally and was impressed by the qualifying session at Monaco this year, especially Fernando Alonso's performance.

Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella

07:23 - 14:59

  • Fernando Alonso is still operating on a high level and has more experience than in the past.
  • Age affects racing drivers by making them feel more tired during stints.
  • Jet lag affects older drivers more, as it is difficult to sleep overnight.
  • Giancarlo Fisichella is happy and proud of his 14-year career in Formula One, but wishes he had won a championship.
  • Fisichella believes that he deserved better and could have won more races if not for technical problems and bad luck.
  • Flavio Briatore was a straightforward boss who helped Fisichella win championships with Renault.
  • Jean-Carlo Minardi put Fisichella in the car for his first season in 1996.

Jacques Villeneuve and Edoardo Salba

14:29 - 22:05

  • Jacques Villeneuve joined Salba to work closer with Ferrari and race with the Ferrari engine.
  • Salba was the best option for Jacques as there were only a couple of seats free in 2004.
  • Jacques won his first Formula One race in Brazil in 2003 after a massive crash brought out the red flag, but he was initially not declared the winner due to a mistake by FIA.
  • Eddie Jordan informed Jacques that he was declared the winner and they could celebrate his victory.
  • Eddie Jordan gave Jacques a competitive car in his first full season of F1 and was brilliant with young drivers.

Edoardo Salba's Racing Career

21:45 - 29:22

  • Two Jordan's tripped over each other, causing a crash.
  • Ralph Schumacher was Edoardo's teammate in 1997 and they were both competitive with each other.
  • Intra-team rivalries are less hostile now compared to when Edoardo was racing.
  • Edoardo worked well with Alex Wertz at Benetton.
  • Jenson Button struggled in the 2001 season due to the car's engine.
  • Edoardo scored his best podium finish at Spa in 2001 and also performed well at Montreal due to low grip levels.
  • Low grip levels could be what brings out the best in Edoardo.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso as Teammates

29:01 - 36:35

  • Giancarlo Fisichella outperformed a young Felipe Massa in 2004, but could see that he was very quick and had potential to be a future star.
  • Fernando Alonso was different from other teammates because he was very good in all circumstances, especially in the race where he was consistent and focused with good communication skills.
  • Alonso was also political within the team, trying to get better equipment and strategy than his teammates.
  • Fisichella did not feel that the team favored Alonso over him once they lost the possibility to fight for the championship.
  • Fisichella and Alonso worked well together, sharing telemetry, ideas, and problem-solving before races.
  • The Renault car in 2007 was not quick enough for Fisichella to score points or podiums due to switching from Michelin tires to Bridgestone tires which required a different driving style.
  • In 2009, Force India (formerly Jordan) had a new owner and improved car which allowed Fisichella to be much quicker at Spa-Francorchamps.

Giancarlo Fisichella's Time at Ferrari

36:08 - 42:49

  • New aerodynamics package made the car completely different and faster.
  • Driver expected to score a point or get in top 10 for qualifying session.
  • Driver unexpectedly got pole position despite others thinking he would pit early.
  • Safety car caused driver to lose lead and finish second behind Kimi Raikkonen.
  • DRS would have helped driver win the race if it existed then.
  • Driver received a call from Ferrari after the race and agreed to drive for them despite knowing it would be difficult due to differences in driving style and lack of testing.
  • Driver crashed during practice due to difficulty in driving Ferrari's car.

Giancarlo Fisichella's Career Challenges

42:33 - 49:51

  • Giancarlo Fisichella struggled to score points for Ferrari in the 2009 season.
  • Fisichella believes he could have stayed in Formula One if he had continued with Force India and scored more podiums.
  • Italian drivers face immense pressure from the media when racing for Ferrari.
  • Kimi Raikkonen was not very helpful as a teammate, but Fisichella spent a lot of time with engineers.
  • It is difficult for Italian drivers to get into Formula One due to limited seats and the need for good sponsors and teams.
  • Ferrari attracts too much attention compared to Italian drivers, making it harder for them to succeed in Formula One.
  • Fisichella won Le Mans twice, which requires intense preparation and teamwork among three drivers.
  • He does not plan on trying to conquer other races like IndyCar at his age of 50, but he enjoys being a DJ.

Giancarlo Fisichella's Personal Life

49:27 - 56:37

  • Giancarlo Fisichella is a DJ and has played in many places including Ibiza.
  • He was the ambassador for the launch of Balloton Park, a new track in Hungary.
  • Fisichella's son Christopher is not a car driver but a university student who used to play football.
  • Fisichella loves playing football and is part of the National Italian Driver's team.
  • Stefano Dominikali, Formula One boss, deserves credit for improving the sport since Bernie and Max's days.
  • Dominikali has an unenviable task of trying to please everyone and all fans both old and new.

Upcoming Episodes and Podcasts

56:16 - 57:12

  • New episode of F1 Beyond The Grid podcast is out now.
  • The episode features Lei Keep and other big names from the paddock.
  • Formula Y's latest episode is a quick fire question special with Lawrence Barretto and Bernie Collins.
  • Formula Y can be found by searching for it on Friday.
  • Next week's guest on F1 Beyond The Grid will be another great personality from the world of Formula One.