ec: Do you feel that what you've developed along with your team can also be used in a commercial application?
AZ: It has potential for sure. If somebody has similar problems such as mine, and wants to try, thanks to what we've done they wouldn't start from zero. But to say that the exact identical controls would work for them... I could not guarantee that. Basically, you've lost some talents, but you've gained some others.
ec: Interesting, you've sharpened your mental abilities right there by that statement. The mental toughness alone, that's one aspect that not only continued, but you were able to build upon.
AZ: Thank you for putting it that way. I don't think I can take that compliment without adding that I don't really believe that I would call that determination, because in reality I had a lot of fun doing it. When you have fun doing something you don't have to sacrifice to do it. You cannot call it commitment, or dedication, anything different. It was good to do it, so why not? It's as simple as that. There were times where I got to doubt a little that we could efficiently reach exactly what I thought we could. But the reality very often was the answer was right around the corner, and once that we got it under our belt we got an injection of new confidence.
ec: You are still very popular with motorsport fans in the U.S. Last year BMW had a WTCC car shipped over for the SEMA show in Las Vegas and it had your name all over it. I suppose it was a show car, but the point is your name has a strong attraction.
AZ: I was there; it really was my car with the controls removed. The people were supportive and it was fun to be part of it.
ec: Are you signed up with Team BMW Italy to run next year also? Doing another season in the WTCC?
AZ: Theoretically, yes. I say theoretically because right now, unfortunately, there's a little bit of controversy going on between the constructors in terms of writing the rules for next year's championship. It's quite a difficult task for the FIA to write technical rules that make everybody happy. When you have cars that were designed to be driven on the road and transform them into racecars, it's very understandable. I think the BMW, which costs $45,000, has a quality that translates into performance when you turn it into a racecar. When you take a SEAT, which goes for $15,000, you cannot expect the same type of quality, the same type of performance. So if you want to have these different manufacturers compete with each other, you must have flexible rules. But sometimes that type of flexibility creates inequity, which affects the racing, the series and everybody's view. And right now we're facing the big problem with the diesel, which in BMW's mind is utilizing the advantage of having too much boost, being too big, and so on. BMW has built a diesel car and out of the box it was immediately a second per lap faster then the gas car. So of course they had the option to say, OK, we can go with that and forget about the gas car. But they didn't want to do that, first because they don't believe the diesel engine may appeal to race fans because it's very quiet, and second, BMW has sold more than 50 touring cars around the world for national championships. If they accepted this new set of rules, and go for a new car with diesel power, that would mean that the gas cars would immediately become obsolete.