Luca Baldisserri

Baldisserri: “Fuoco’s confirmation”

The Ferrari Driver Academy and 17-year-old Antonio Fuoco have been celebrating the 2013 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps title they won last weekend at Imola. For the FDA it is the second honour in its short history, following French driver Brandon Maisano’s 2010 Italian Formula Abarth Championship. The head of the FDA programme, Luca Baldisserri, underlined the importance of getting success in the smaller formulae as well: “In every activity you have to get the results on the field and ours is no exception. It is of fundamental importance to convert the work we do every day at Maranello into results on the track. Fuoco’s victory is an important confirmation for everyone working in the Driver Academy project, starting with the scouting side, one of the important areas for anyone working to support the careers of young drivers. When you win, while it reaffirms the progress of a very young lad like Antonio, you also get the acknowledgement of how well our methods are working. This win gives us even more faith and motivation to do even better in the future.”
To focus on a really young driver, who in 2012 was still in full-time karting, usually leads to a medium to long-term learning curve. Instead Fuoco has achieved single-seater success after just 12 months.
“When Antonio joined up with the FDA we were convinced of his potential but obviously we didn’t know if the talent we’d seen in karting would translate to single-seaters and, especially, we couldn’t predict how much time he would need to get used to it and to get the best out of himself. So we devised a plan for him that included two seasons in Formula Renault 2.0. That seemed to be the most logical choice, given that for a young lad coming from karts it’s never easy to switch to single-seaters. After a few months we established that Antonio has a much shorter learning time and in fact he has really rushed things by winning in his first year.”
What was the moment in the 2013 season when Fuoco surprised you the most?
“In the month of June we took part in a round of the European Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps. There were some strong competitors on the track including many drivers who were much more experienced but Antonio managed to take a surprising pole position. Another confirmation came in the Mugello round of the Alps Championship. In this case too, he won on a very demanding track, ahead of opposition of very high quality. It’s a rare thing for an up-and-coming driver to pull off feats like that.”
Which competition will we see Fuoco contest in 2014?
“The natural next step will be Formula 3. Antonio will take part in the FIA European Formula 3 series, where Raffaele Marciello is racing at the moment.”
On the subject of Marciello: next weekend will be another high-tension affair for the FDA.
“Indeed there is no time to rest on our laurels. Next weekend we will be at Vallelunga for the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Marciello comes into this important race as the leader of the overall standings, but with a small advantage over his opponents. These last two rounds of the championship will be crucial and we will give everything to support Raffaele in the best way possible.”

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