Giancarlo Fisichella believes the pressure of racing for Ferrari on home ground at Monza this weekend will only serve to help him deliver in his first race for the outfit.
The Italian is achieving one of his lifetime's ambitions in joining Ferrari, after being chosen as Luca Badoer's successor in the team's second seat while Felipe Massa recovers from the skull injuries he suffered in his Hungarian Grand Prix crash. Although Fisichella's arrival at the team comes for his and Ferrari's home race, he said on Monday that he thinks the circumstances will be a help to him rather than a hindrance.
"I began my career with Minardi in 1996 and I went on from there," Fisichella told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport 24. "At a time when I had abandoned my Ferrari dream, I find myself being a member of the team and their race driver for the grand prix at Monza.
"I thank president Montezemolo for taking this decision, Stefano Domenicali, and the other members of the team. I will try to do my utmost to pay them back. I find myself in Monza racing for Ferrari: it will be an incredible weekend, with lots of pressure, but it's pressure that will give me a push forward.
"All my relatives and friends will be there supporting me and I'm excited at the thought of driving on Friday morning. I know Monza well; I've been racing there since 1992, when I was in F3. It's a track that allows you to think about what to do before braking for a turn because of the quick straights. That helps me a bit."
Although Fisichella was strongly linked to Ferrari throughout his successful Belgian Grand Prix weekend, the former Force India driver has revealed that his first talks with the Maranello outfit came only last week.
"I had the first contact with Ferrari last Wednesday, one day before the confirmation, and that's when I started to hope for it strongly," he said.
"I thought about it all night, and then on Thursday I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a dream, but instead I found myself inside Ferrari, and immediately saw the huge warmth of the mechanics and engineers. I immediately made myself available and went in the simulator, to meetings with the engineers and tried the seat.
"Who did I call when I signed? My father, who is my number one fan and who was impatiently waiting for the news. He would ask me, but I couldn't give him any confirmation while no one called me, even though there were many rumours and speculations."
Fisichella says his target for the remainder of the season is to score the points that Ferrari needs to be able to finish third in the constructors' world championship.
"I expect to give my contribution to Ferrari for what they expect from me: with my experience and consistency they expect me to contribute to bring as many points as possible together with Kimi, in order to finish third in the Constructors' Championship," he said.