I have hit the 450 mark

2 May 2012
, CarsGuide
I have hit the 450 mark
The biggest change over the years hasn't been in the technology, but the fitness of the drivers.

I didn't know until I was told. It's amazing how fast the time has gone. These days it's easier to rack up the races as there are more rounds now.

The biggest change over the years hasn't been in the technology, but the fitness of the drivers. That's led to longevity in the sport that you don't get in other sports like footy.

People used to think racing wasn't physical and that we just sat on our backsides, but these days you have to be fit to do as many races as we do in often hot conditions and with punishing G forces.

I've had to put in a huge effort at fitness in the past few years to keep up with the younger drivers. As you get older you have to work harder to keep your fitness up.

That level of fitness is also filtering through the whole team. For example my race engineer, Jeromy Moore, is a dedicated and super-fit mountain bike rider like Mark Webber.

He needs to be fit to retain a high level of concentration throughout a round and this weekend will place extra stress levels on us all with three qualifying sessions, one for each of the races.

Qualifying is a problem at Barbagallo because each lap is under a minute and it's difficult to find clear space for a good run.

This circuit is also hard on tyres because the sand that blows across the track acts like sandpaper on the rubber. That means we will be changing tyres more often than we need to fill the tank, so this won't develop into an economy run like the past couple of rounds.

It will be interesting racing because we have to use hard and soft tyres in each race. Last time we switched to soft tyres early, but we got swallowed up because the track chewed the tyres quickly and we lost pace.

Each driver will have to manage their tyre wear carefully and teams will employ a lot of different strategies about when they pit for new rubber. It should be a fantastic round with teams battling right up to the chequered flag.