Gonzales thrilled with F1 chance
With the dust only just settling in Abu Dhabi on a dramatic season, Attleborough's Rodolfo Gonzalez has been enjoying the chance to show he could cut it in Formula One.
The 24-year-old Venezuelan, who was born in Caracas but lived in the Norfolk town with his family from the age of 10, was handed a seat at this week's young driver test around Yas Marina – the venue for Sunday's thrilling F1 conclusion and Sebastian Vettel's drivers' championship victory.
Gonzalez worked with Hingham-based Lotus Racing for two days, taking his place in a Formula One car for the first time having started racing in Formula Renault seven years ago – and he could not wait to prove he has got what it takes.
Speaking from Abu Dhabi ahead of the test, Gonzalez said: 'For me it is a great opportunity to test with the best of the new teams in Formula One; it will be a great chance to show what I can do really.
'Since I got to the circuit, the Lotus Racing people have been very welcoming, very embracing and very supportive.
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'There is a lot of technical stuff to take in, but for sure I am confident in that I can do a good, solid and intelligent job.
'We have one and a half days, which should be good. It should be interesting because we have many things to try, many things to learn – and I have enough time to do so.
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'For any grand prix driver, it is important that in your first Formula One test you make a good impression. You have to be strong obviously, you have to be solid. But also it is the way you work, your aptitude, everything is being tested.
'So it's the whole combination. I have to do the best job I can both in and outside the car.'
Gonzalez – who went to school in Eccles, near Snetterton, and was a student at City College Norwich – spent this season in Formula One's feeder series, GP2, and finished 10th in Saturday's final feature race.
And although he is a proud Venezuelan, Attleborough also feels like home: 'For me, to do my first Formula One test after so many years of hard work and so many years of struggle, it is a great time for me and for my family, and all those in Venezuela,' said Gonzalez – who is known as 'Speedy'.
'I now live between Barcelona and Attleborough, where my sister lives, and both places have their ups and downs!
'But it is my second home there. I enjoyed my time in Attleborough and I still do. I went to school there so I feel part of Norfolk.
'It's great to have the support and the people from Norfolk have been great to me as one of them. It's really nice.'
Gonzalez is prepared to bide his time for a full-time F1 seat: 'For 2011, for sure, I will be returning to GP2; I don't know which team yet, but it would be nice to have something that is as a test driver in Formula One as well,' he said. 'I think it would it would help me improve a lot as a driver and be stronger in GP2, to hopefully make a move further up for 2012.
'I'd love to do it in Formula One and I'll try my best to achieve it.'