Racing Engineering driver Fabio Leimer heads to Malaysia for the opening race of the GP2 Series campaign confident that he can fight for the title.
The Swiss driver is embarking on his third year in the category, and made a race winning start with his new team in Abu Dhabi last November. Having described the two recent pre-season tests in Spain as 'positive', Leimer is looking forward to the start of the season.
“We had very promising tests and everything we wanted to test regarding the set ups was done,” he said. “That was the most important thing, that we gather as much information as possible during these test days.
“I am confident and looking forward to the first race in Sepang and think we will clearly be competitive and try to fight for the championship title.”
An extended calendar sees the season start and finish at flyaway venues in Malaysia and Singapore – circuits that are both new to Leimer.
“This is not the easiest situation for a driver, especially in GP2, where track time is quite limited,” he explained. “But there are simulators and data that help with such situations and there is definitely more focus on simulations to get to know the track and the specialties of each corner better. I also watch F1 videos to be as well prepared as possible.
“During Free Practice it is necessary to have 15-20 minutes to get as familiar with the track as possible. If we approach Free Practice with a good base set up, I should have enough time to learn the track and we can attack in qualifying.”
After a tough 2011 season racing for the Rapax team, Leimer is confident that the switch to Racing Engineering will enable him to be a championship contender.
“For sure, it was the goal to win GP2 in year two,” he said. “Sadly enough it wasn’t like this and I had a very difficult season in 2011 with the new car and the new tyres, but fortunately I could drive with Racing Engineering in Jerez, Barcelona and also the season finale.
“This has visibly worked out very well. The car was perfect for me and my driving style. It is exactly how I like a car and that’s why I think, with some twists and turns, we will be competitive this year and fight for the championship.”
Questioned on who he thinks his main rivals will be this year, he explained that this is tough to gauge prior to the season, but that he expected the usual culprits in terms of teams.
“This is always difficult to predict in GP2,” he stated. “It also depends a lot on the team and how it is set up compared to the previous season. But I don’t think there will be big changes from last year to this season.”