Luiz Razia cuts the shape of a rather pre-occupied gentleman – with some good reason too.
Following tough weekends at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, the Brazilian heads to the final round of the 2012 GP2 Series 25 points shy of rival Davide Valsecchi.
That the pair clashed at the beginning of last Sunday’s Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps did not help matters, but it was an innocent accident that took both out of any realistic contention for points
A further collision at Monza – this time with Fabio Leimer – served only to make Razia’s far tougher. Indeed, the final round at Singapore could prove vital to the Brazilian’s future as he fights for the biggest prize he has ever contested.
No doubt Razia has other things on his mind today. The 23-year-old is busy testing with Force India at Magny Cours today in Formula One’s second young driver test of 2012, although he has stated he has not thought of what he will be doing in 2013, the thought must surely linger.
Recently, I found the Arden racer tucked away in the lower reaches of the Spa-Francorchamps paddock, waiting for his next contest with Valsecchi. We spent a few minutes together to discuss the current title fight, Brazilians in motorsport and maturity behind the wheel.
The Motorsport Archive: After the opening few rounds, it appeared as if the GP2 Series might be heading Davide [Valsecchi’s] way. Since then, you’ve clawed back the gap, lead for a time [but are now in arrears} – is there something within yourself or the team that has changed to help your title chances?
Luiz Razia: Our team started very strong, as Davide’s had as well, so when we found ourselves more than thirty points behind, we had some issues. They were addressed and we did improve from the middle [of the season] to now in Spa – I think we collect[ed] as many points as we could and think the team have done a fantastic job to this point and I also took every opportunity that we had to score points.
Obviously Valsecchi had some bad luck in some races where he could have collected some points and he didn’t – that’s how we went and sometimes things go around because now I’m starting today in 19th and he is P6 [Razia eventually finished 6th to Valsecchi’s 3rd] and today is a challenge for us, as it was for him in other races, so sometimes stuff like that can catch us.
TMA: Consistency has probably been one of the hallmarks of your season so far. Could you describe the method of this consistency against situations where you have to think about all out attack – like today for example?
LR: It is a work of the team. The whole team put in a lot of effort about decisions we are going to make, what strategies we are going to take and going for the championship, we have different tasks at each race.
If you think about today, the task is to arrive in the top ten to score more points. If we were in a better position, the strategy would be different, so it is about adapting every time for each situation we are in.
Because we cannot change [situations], we can just change from now on, so the team and I have just been working on the moment.
TMA: From the outside, it appears that there is a more mature Luiz Razia this year – something made apparent by your cool victory at Valencia for example. Is it something that you feel within yourself and if so, has it reshaped your approach to race weekends and the championship?
LR: To be honest, I‘ve been working with my engineer for two years, so there’s a good connection between ourselves, but also I’ve collected a lot of experience during my race career and it’s now putting everything together.
Some races this season have been very good and in a way fantastic, because we plan a lot before and this is something that I achieved and something that Arden achieved. We plan for so much that is possible to happen and we have a way of thinking how we can approach each situation an it’s not just my way of working, but also how we work together.
TMA: We’ve seen over the years, with the likes of Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello in Formula One, that there is an expectation for Brazilians to achieve success in motorsport. Is this a pressure that you feel yourself or is it something that hasn’t penetrated as much?
LR: There is a lot of pressure for every Brazilian driver that comes to the situation that I am in now, but I do what I like. I race because I like to race and because it is my passion and I race for myself.
If I can be champion, then it is going to be Luiz Razia who is champion and not something to boost hopes and dreams for Brazilian drivers. Nobody’s really helping me here and I’m doing everything alone, so I would enjoy it just myself.
TMA: What do you feel you need to do now to wrap up the 2012 GP2 Series title?
LR: Just to keep the consistency that we had for the whole season. Hopefully this weekend we can turn around the plates, but scoring points is the target.
The GP2 Series head-to-head continues next weekend at Singapore’s Marina Bay, where Razia will be hoping to overhaul Valsecchi’s steep advantage. But Singapore is unknown territory for both drivers – this indeed may go right to the wire…