Maranello, 4 April – The long winter break has now ended and in just a few hours, the 2013 Formula Renault Alps championship will get underway at the Vallelunga circuit. The series was born out of the ashes of the Italian championship, also absorbing the Swiss edition. The Italian series started in 2000, when a certain Felipe Massa was the winner and it has always been characterised by a very high standard of competition, both in terms of the drivers and the teams.
Over the years, the series has fulfilled its role as a reference point for youngsters, coming for the most part from karting, as is the case with Antonio Fuoco, a young driver on the Ferrari Driver Academy programme, who this coming weekend officially takes his first steps in the world of single-seater racing. Born in 1996, Fuoco is a very good kart racer and indeed, it was his performance last year in the K2 category which brought him to the attention of Luca Baldisserri, the engineer who is head of the FDA and who included him in the group of drivers enrolled in the Academy.
After his very first outing at the wheel of a Formula Abarth and the pre-season Formula Renault testing, now comes Fuoco’s baptism of fire on the track. “There’s certainly some butterflies,” admits Antonio. “I took part in two races in the Panam GP Series a few weeks ago, but the real debut is the one that awaits me this weekend. It will be a weekend that will produce a lot of answers, so I am also a bit impatient to see how all the work I’ve done with the team in testing pans out.”
The field of drivers competing at the circuit outside Rome looks like being of the highest level, which means the novices will not have an easy time of it. “We are well aware that we need to acquire experience,” confirms Fuoco. “I know that, the team knows it and so does the FDA. However, my move from karting to the world of single-seaters seems like a natural progression and I did not encounter any particular problems. I can’t wait to see how I get on in qualifying and the race after seeing some very good results in a test we did right here in Vallelunga last week.
“In particular, I am curious to see how I will get on, up against the other rookies at this first attempt, as we start on equal terms,” concludes Antonio. “In the first races, I I don’t think it will be easy to keep the many drivers who have two to three years experience in this category behind me, but once you’re out on track, all the opponents are equal. So nothing can be taken for granted.” Fuoco is driving for the Prema team and he can expect a very tough 2013. He will be tackling the Formula Renault Alps championship and a few European series races as well.