It’s the last race of the season, which always means it’s time for some racers to get square for incidents during the year. I don’t have anyone to square up, but I’m sure there are a few people out there who bear some grudges.
Maybe some of the drivers who are finishing up like Shane van Gisbergen will have a point to prove as well, so that could lead to some track dramas. I still can’t believe he’s only 23.
He seems to have been around so long. And he still has a lot of good years left in him. It’s also the last race with these cars as we change to the Car of the Future next year, so some people may treat it as a bit of a smash-up derby.
I know our cars have already been sold for racing in the development series, so our team principal, Roland Dane, won’t be too pleased if we bring them back bent. I will be quite sad to see these cars go as they have been very good to us, so I’ll certainly be a bit protective of my body panels.
But some others will feel they have nothing to lose and go really hard and maybe a bit silly. And then of course there’s the Homebush circuit which is notorious for carnage with a narrow track, no run-off and concrete walls.
There’s no doubt there will be plenty of contact. It’s the nature of all street circuits. The format is all hard tyres and two 250km races with a minimum of two pitstops so there will be a fair bit of strategy involved.
Most important is to qualify well, get out in front and stay out of the carnage. But I won’t be too upset if I’m not on the front row. My starts have improved a lot this year and I’m sure we can make up positions.
There are plenty of passing opportunities on this circuit. You can get a clean pass into turn one and at several places around the back and it’s a 50-50 proposition to pass into turn two. Two hundred and fifty kays is a long way round Homebush and the circuit is quite aggressive and demanding with elevation changes and sharp, unforgiving kerbs.
It also gets quite hot and there is a chance of storms which will also play a big part in the strategy. I’m 63 points behind Frosty (Mark Winterbottom), so I’m determined to close that gap and give our team a consecutive 1-2 finish. I can’t remember the last time a team did that.
We’ve spent the week so far meeting and greeting old and new sponsors. While it’s sad to see one sponsor go, it's exciting to get on board with Red Bull which will continue our association with an F1 team at Melbourne and Abu Dhabi.
It’s always good for our engineers to mix with engineers from the pinnacle of motorsport. They also sponsor Casey Stoner so if he does decide to take up Roland’s offer of a car in the development series, it will be a good mix. We’re still just waiting on Casey to make a decision.