Maranello, 16 April–Antonio Fuoco will be making an important debut this weekend, when he takes part in the opening round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Silverstone. This prestigious junior category takes place on the same card as the curtain raiser to the FIA WEC series. 17 year old Fuoco, a student with the Ferrari Driver Academy will tackle eleven rounds, all consisting of three races, in this his maiden season in the series. He is being run by the Prema team, with whom he took part in pre-season testing.
What are your goals for the first part of the season?
“Having watched past races as a spectator, it’s clear that consistency is vital if you want to do well. I think for a rookie, every kilometre you do is important, so in the first races it will be essential not to make any mistakes and always finish. Then, with the team we can look at how it’s going after the first two or three rounds and come up with realistic targets.”
There are only 7 rookies in a field of 30. That will make it tough?
“In testing I could see how much experience counts. I will be up against drivers who have done this series for three or four seasons, while myself and the other rookies have only four days of testing behind us. That’s not an excuse and thanks to the experience of the Prema team, I will try to get up to speed as quickly as possible.”
What did you learn in pre-season testing?
“The race simulations went very well. We made the most of the tests, improving the car’s performance over a long run. We still lack a bit of pace in qualifying trim, but I’m sure that me and the team can also improve on this aspect.”
The championship takes in ten circuits: how many of them do you know?
“This is one of the biggest challenges. I’ve already raced at Imola and Spa and I’ve tested at the Red Bull Ring and the Hungaroring. The others will all be new to me and 90 minutes of free practice is not a lot over a race weekend. The simulator helps, but there’s no substitute for track time. Last year, on my debut at Spa, I managed to take pole, so I hope I can continue to learn quickly.”
You have no less than three team-mates: how do you all get on?
“At the moment, it’s all good, but I am well aware that tempers can flare up over a race weekend! There is no hierarchy, nor team orders. We are racing for a team that has won the last three of these championships and we know we will be fighting for the win and above all, a future in this sport. But I think and I hope that we can do this always acting in a proper manner.”