Wednesday April 25th, 2001
Despite enduring their slowest start of a season in the last few years, Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella believes the Benetton team are slowly improving as the 2001 championship develops.
Benetton, who were bought by French manufacturer Renault last year, have struggled in the first quarter of the season so far, scoring only one point at the Brazilian Grand Prix courtesy of Fisichella. Problems with the new radical 110-degree Renault V10 seem to be one of the main reasons why Benetton are struggling to even beat Formula One minnows Minardi.
But Fisichella says both Renault and Benetton are working very hard to ensure they move up to the place where they belong.
"Everybody is working very well together - and working very hard - and I think the car has improved over these first few races, but I think we're still far away from where we want to be," said Fisichella in an interview with the team's official website. "The guys at Renault are working hard too with the engine, but I'm a bit disappointed that we're not as quick as we'd like to be.
"It was quite tough in Imola because it was a home race for me, but we did a very good job in Brazil and scored our first point of the season, which was good for everyone in the team."
The 28-year old Italian driver, in his sixth season in Formula One, also admitted he is enjoying his relationship with his new team mate Jenson Button.
"I have a very good friendship with Jenson," he added. "He's a nice guy and very professional. I think in a few races' time he'll be very quick, but at the moment he's perhaps not as used to the car as me, because this is my fourth season with the team."
Only a few days before the Spanish Grand Prix, where the new technical regulations will allow the return of traction control and other electronic aids, Fisichella joined the group of drivers who oppose the "driving aids". However, he agrees that it was the best solution to make sure no team is going against the rules.
"I think F1 is better without (traction control) it, because now the car is more important than the driver! But I think that if some teams were said to be cheating before with these systems, then it is better that we're all equal and it's the same for everybody."