Interview: Fabio Leimer on GP2 title win
2 November 2013 – Fabio Leimer notched up the GP2 title with a fourth-place finish in Saturday's Feature Race at the Yas Marina Circuit. In this interview, the Racing Engineering driver reflects on his route to the crown, which has yielded three wins and a further three podiums.
Fabio Leimer, GP2 champion: how does that sound to you?
It sounds really nice! I still can’t believe it, it’s just amazing, because GP2 is the strongest category apart from Formula 1, and there are not many people who can say they’ve won this championship! I’m really, really happy, and I’m focussed on tomorrow because there is still another race and I want to finish on the podium.
But it’s amazing because, after qualy, I was a little bit disappointed because we had a problem on the car and weren’t so quick, and Sam Bird was P2 and nearly got the 4 points. But today we had a really good start and I saw immediately that Sam stalled, and I feel really sorry for him - he’s a really nice guy, one of the best guys on the track, really open, really hard but fair. I think he also deserved to win the championship, but in the end it can only go to one driver, and luckily it was me, but he is a really great guy and would have deserved it too.
It seems to have been one of the tougher years in the championship, with so many guys in the mix for the title: how hard was it to win this championship?
The 2013 championship was a really nice one, because early we had [Stefano] Coletti leading a lot with [Felipe] Nasr, and then they had some problems for a few races so me and [Sam] Bird were improving and could make more and more points, and then at the end it was really close together. For GP2 it was really nice, and everyone was talking about me and him because we were so close, and at the last race you just never know what will happen: yesterday he was in front of me and it gave me even more pressure, and in the end we did it!
You’ve had a lot of bad luck, especially last year, so what does winning this title mean for you, and for the team?
For me it means a lot: last year we were really quick and we had the chance to win races, such as in Bahrain, in Silverstone and in Valencia, but unfortunately something happened every time, and we were really unlucky! This time we weren’t really sure if we wanted to come back, but we talked and said okay, but only if we can do it with Racing Engineering: for me it was the right decision because at the first two races we were strong, winning races and fighting for them, and I am really happy to win this championship with Racing Engineering because these guys work so hard. I have to thank everybody here because motor racing is a team sport, and even if you are the best driver if the team is not working well you won’t win, so thank you to everyone in the team.
What does this championship mean for your career?
We will see, but I hope I can go to Formula 1: it will be hard, for sure, because there are not many seats free, but I hope I can go to Formula 1, and for me it is important to win this championship to help me. Now we have to work and push to go up there: of course it would be fantastic to be a race driver or even a third driver, but we will have to work hard and then we’ll see.
Interview courtesy of the GP2 media office