Ready for home weekendposted in F106 | 07 | 2010

    Silverstone, England: Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    In what is proving to be a hectic year for Paul, for a change his travel arrangements for his next race weekend — the British Grand Prix at Silverstone — didn’t involve a flight check-in and kicking his heels in an airport departure lounge. Instead he just jumped in his Mercedes and headed off from home in Bathgate at 7am to drive to Silverstone.

    It also offered him the time to chat to Jim McGill about his thoughts ahead of driving a Formula One car at his home grand prix weekend, and within site of Force India’s HQ at Silverstone.

    JM: Initially you weren’t meant to take part in Friday’s morning session, but now that you are how does it feel to know you’ll be out in an F1 car in front of your home crowd?

    Paul: I've not raced single-seaters in the UK for some time, so I'm looking forward to it big time. In 2005 I left to go to F3 Euroseries and then made the switch DTM, so this will be a really exciting time to return, particularly when there's so much support for F1 in Britain after our two back-to-back world champions.

    More importantly I am looking forward to getting back into the car and at a track that is as high speed as Silverstone. Valencia wasn't such a challenge as it was just straights then turn in, but at Silverstone you're really relying on the car's performance. Plus to race round a track that's got so much history and so much tradition about it, that's quite special.

    You must have raced at Silverstone before; what are your memories of the track?

    When I was very young I can remember watching my cousin Dario in a Vauxhall Junior race at Silverstone. Then I raced there in Formula Renault in 2003 and 2004. I started from pole and had good races, but after that I started racing in Europe.

    There’s no question though my strongest memory of Silverstone is when I first drove an F1 car there as part of my McLaren Autosport BRDC Award prize that I won in 2004. And because all the assessments for the prize were also done at the track I do feel Silverstone is a real milestone in my career.

    Of course it will be a special thrill to sit in an F1 car going around Silverstone and I'm really looking forward to it. All the same I'm going out there with the same approach I've always had: with my head in gear, giving the team consistent running, valuable feedback time and learning the track for the future.

    Silverstone has changed for this year; what do you think of the changes and will they suit the Force India VJM03?

    Yeh, I like the look of the new changes and certainly from what I’ve heard, the recent work to Silverstone — both on- and off-track — has improved it significantly. I did always like the previous layout because it had fantastic high-speed sections, and the Becketts complex was a real challenge. The new section of track — I got my first experience of it on Tuesday night when I drove it on the Force India simulator — should suit our cars’ characteristics pretty well, so I think we should go really well this weekend.

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