At the same time as Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix, the Formula Renault Alps series took to the track at Mugello for the penultimate round of the 2013 season. For Ferrari Driver Academy racer Antonio Fuoco it was a triumphant weekend, which ended with two pole positions and two wins. That haul will allow Fuoco to look forward to the final round of the season with confidence, having sealed a total of 209 points, 49 more than his team-mate Luca Ghiotto with just 50 more still to play for.
On paper it wasn’t an easy weekend for Antonio. He had only ever had a single test at the Mugello circuit and in addition to his usual competitors in the Formula Renault Alps series, this time he also had to face many top drivers from the European series. Among these the most impressive was Nick De Vries, one of the main players in the McLaren young driver programme. There was a long duel between Fuoco and the Dutchman which began in the first free practice session and lasted for the entire weekend.
Antonio took two pole positions at the end of a qualifying session that he defined as ‘perfect’. With De Vries alongside him on the grid, Fuoco made good getaways both in Race 1 and Race 2, managing to get to the first corner in the lead. From there it was a close battle with a gap of about a second between the two which Fuoco managed in the best way possible, taking two deserved wins. The final round of the championship is scheduled for Imola on October 7-8.
“Heading into this weekend I had no idea what chance I had. I didn’t know the circuit at Mugello very well and we also had to take into account the presence on track of the best drivers from the European series. The free practice sessions were very useful, helping me realise that both the team and I were on the right track. Then in qualifying we got confirmation from the timesheets. With De Vries so close I knew the getaway would be crucial for the final result, and everything worked as well as I could have hoped in both races. Once I was in front I was in constant radio contact with the team, trying to manage the tyres as well as possible as they tend to degrade more at this track than others. I’m very happy with the work that the Prema team and I managed to put in over the whole weekend. We have taken an important step towards the 2013 title but we will remain focused on the work we have to do, steering clear of any distractions ahead of the final round in Imola.”