Why do you think air racing has never taken off in the way that, say, F1 has?
Watch this space! This is a very new sport and has only been running for a handful of years (unlike the 100-ish years that car racing has enjoyed). Its success will be determined by the spectator numbers and, from what we’ve seen so far, it is amazingly popular.
For many people, the Red Bull Air Race is a bunch of wacky guys pulling stunts. How could you get the public more involved in the racing aspect?
I think time will sort out that perception. I can tell you there are 15 teams who are desperate to win and the competition is real and fierce. That’s obvious now to the established fans and I think it’ll just be a matter of time until the fan base grows.
How does the heat in Abu Dhabi affect performance?
Hot air is thinner than cold air, and the wings, the engine and propeller like thick air for good performance. The good news is that we’re all flying in the same conditions, so it’ll be a question of who deals with it best. As for me, keeping hydrated is key.
Who do you see as your biggest rivals?
All of them! We think we’re well prepared for the upcoming season, but it’s impossible to really know until we see results from the first race. Then and only then will we see who has got their prep right for 2010. I suspect, though, that we’ll see the usual suspects at the top and, who knows, maybe some of the slower teams from last year will have found the winning formula and be challenging for the podium too.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
Not really, but I will check, double check, triple check and check again everything that could affect our chances of winning. It’s absolutely vital that nothing is left to chance.
For more on Paul Bonhomme, see www.teambonhomme.com