The formula seems almost perfect- the stuff motorsport fairytales are made of. Swiss-Italian driver meets Swiss-Italian team, they fall in love- and live happily ever after. Formula One is however, rarely a fairy tale, and even the most obvious match-made-in-heaven combination do not always pan out.
Raffaele Marciello, Sauber’s 2015 reserve and test driver understands the competitive landscape and the many elements involved in maintaining employment in Motorsport’s to tier.
GP Traveler sat down with Raffaele on the Thursday of this year’s United States Grand Prix. Marciello was to make his debut on the Friday practice session in Austin. The team would also celebrate its 400th Grand Prix that very weekend at Circuit of the Americas. Here’s what he had to say.
GPT: How did your passion for racing start?
RM: When I tried a go-kart when I was a young boy, say 3 1/2 or four years old, in Ticino, Lugano. My father loved go-karting and motors, and I followed in his footsteps. So, in a way, it’s thanks to him!
I imagine you don’t recall your emotions when you first experienced karting at that tender age, but what’s your memory of later childhood years go-karting and exploring racing?
I remember clearly how I already loved speed and driving at six years old.
When did it first occur to you that driving was more than a pastime, and something you could do competitively at a higher level?
I think I was 10 or 11, and had started to travel a bit around Europe to try to win races. Meh more I travelled, the more seriously I thought about that possibility of taking it to another level.
There has been a lack of Italian drivers in Formula One over the past few years. How important is it for the Italian people to have an Italian pilot in Formula One to look up to?
I think Italians are really good drivers–in Moto GP, in Formula One. I think we need at least one Italian driver–or more–in Formula One.
Were you a fan of Formula One growing up?
I didn’t watch many Formula One races because they were a bit boring since there wasn’t much over-taking! So, I would watch the start and then change the channel!
Which pilot did you admire then?
I always liked Robert Kubica; he was my favorite driver, because of his skill as well as the fact that he is a really nice guy.
I know you were in Montreal; did you have a chance to explore the city at all?
Yes, I did! Australia and Canada are my favorite places to visit.
What do you think about the Canadian track? I’m sure you’ve had a go at it on the simulator.
On the simulator, yes… it’s quite a nice track. There are many chicanes and when you are on a speed track it’s always nice to be close to a wall as a driver.
How do you find the Circuit of the Americas?
I’ve experienced this track only by simulator, but I think the first sector is great; it’s similar to Suzuka or Silverstone Becketts. The last sector is a bit too slow for me, but I will see, of course, when I drive it.
Are you excited about racing tomorrow? It might be a rainy day; does that concern you at all?
I am excited! Hopefully it won’t be wet, since you don’t have as much time with the car. I don’t do many free practices during the year; it’ll be my first one – so I hope it’s dry and I get some extra laps.
Sunday is a big milestone for any Formula One team. It must be meaningful for you to be here on the 400th race.
Four hundred Grand Prix events–that’s really a lot! It’s a very special occasion. I’m proud be part of the team, and to participate in FP1.
You’re currently 6th in GP2 with Trident. How do you feel about the season so far?
It’s been kind of a bad season until now. We were not fast enough during the year, and didn’t show our speed.
Describe the camaraderie between the first pilots here at Sauber and younger drivers, like yourself?
Felipe is a rookie, so he’s still learning, as I am. Marcus has somewhat more experience. We always share our knowledge. We are in the same boat…trying to help each other–together.
How did the Ferrari Driving Academy shape you as a driver?
I did every kind of training with them. The fact that I am a third driver today is due to how much they taught me. I am grateful to the academy.
Where do you see yourself two years from now?
I want to be a Formula One driver–a career driver; that is my dream. However, it’s never easy to make it in Formula One, for many reasons…
How confident are you that you will make it to F1?
After a GP2 season as bad as this one, it’s quite hard to look to Formula One. I take it day by day.