Christian Vietoris says that he has never felt more prepared going into a season of racing, as testing gets underway ahead of the 2011 GP2 Series season.
The German Racing Engineering driver sat out the two-round GP2 Asia Series, which gave competing teams and drivers their first taste of the new GP2/11 chassis in competition. However, he does not see this as a disadvantage.
“I will use the upcoming four test days to make up for the track time lost, but in regards to performance, I think it is not really a disadvantage,” he said. “We have a good base set-up from the Asia Series, and I will now adapt it for the European races. Having a well balanced car means I can now work on fine-tuning it to my needs.”
Despite missing out on racing during the winter months, Vietoris feels that he used the time well to prepare for the season ahead. “It actually looks like I haven’t been doing anything, but to be honest, I think I have never been as well prepared for a season. I did quite a lot during the last months and several things needed to be taken care of during winter. It’s a pity I wasn’t in a race car, but I used the time well. I worked hard on my physical preparation.”
Asked what he was hoping expecting from the two-day test at Silverstone, Vietoris replied: “I hope to be quick and at the top of the time sheets right from the beginning, but I know I will need time to become familiar with the new car and tyres. I have been quick at adapting in the past and it worked out well. So I hope to be working at a high level of performance right from the beginning. I have heard that the tyres have their peculiarities so it will be an important point to work on. But in the end it all comes down to the feeling I have when driving the car.”
Vietoris finished ninth in the final standings during his rookie GP2 campaign in 2010. With a year's experience under his belt, Vietoris is aiming high for 2011. “Clearly I want to win the championship,” he said. “After a 2010 season with ups and downs, but always with very good speed, I want to win the title. It’s always been like this in my second years in championships, when I fought for the title. No matter if this was in Formula BMW or F3 Euro Series, and I am similarly prepared this year.”
Asked who he felt the main title contenders were this year, he said: “They are pretty much the same as last year. There is ART with [Jules] Bianchi, who are strong. [Romain] Grosjean is strong and has an advantage when it comes to the tyres given his many F1 tests. I am not sure about Addax, but I am convinced they will still make a step forward. And then there is us. I think with Dani [Clos, teammate] we are a very strong driver pairing as well. So, in the end, it always comes down to the same 3 or 4 teams.”