“Today, the imperative was to score enough points to win the championship, but tomorrow I will be able to race without thinking about the classification. I will start with the sole objective of making it to the top step of the podium.” That’s what Raffaele Marciello had promised at the end of yesterday’s races, in which he finished in the fourth place he needed to win the European FIA Formula 3 Championship with one race to go. Today the Ferrari Driver Academy student delivered on that promise, winning in very wet conditions to bring the curtain down on the Hockenheim weekend and the 2013 European championship. “It was a difficult win,” commented Marciello, because there really was a lot of water on the track. Twice I found myself behind the Safety Car, but I managed the restarts well. I like driving in the wet and previously, I have always gone well in these conditions. And also, today, I wanted at all costs to end a fantastic season in the best way possible.”
Before looking back at the key moments of this long and demanding championship, he talked us through the last seven laps of yesterday’s race. “I let my team-mate Auer get away, having decided to manage fourth place all the way to the flag, as that was the position I needed to take the title. I don’t have a problem saying that not even my first test in a single-seater went as slowly as these last seven laps! I kept a long way off the kerbs, I was listening to the engine and counted down the laps to the chequered flag. Then, finally, there it was on the finish straight and it was a wonderful sight!”
“You took 13 wins from the 30 races. Is there one moment that stands out in particular?
“The Vallelunga weekend. I arrived there with a small lead over Rosenqvist and managed to pull out 36 points over the three races. It was the decisive gap on the way to the title.”
Let’s also talk about the most difficult moments
“Without a doubt, the Zandvoort weekend. It was definitely a bad weekend, during which I had problems and made mistakes. It was the track from which I was expecting the least, but I didn’t think I wouldn’t even get on the podium. The days after were tough, but then I found the strength to fight back.”
Something you didn’t expect?
“The three wins at the Nurburgring round. An almost perfect trio of races and a weekend to remember, as everything went perfectly.”
Within your Prema team, you had very strong team-mates, so what key element made the difference for the championship?
“Last year, the head of the FDA, Luca Baldisserri, was always going on about the importance of consistency. A championship with 30 races, all worth the same number of points, can only be won if you don’t waver. This season, the difference between me and my team-mates was actually the number of mistakes. I made fewer and that paid off in terms of points.”
What part did the Ferrari Driver Academy play in this success?
“A very important one. The organisation is made up of professionals who can intervene on all types of problem that can affect a racing driver. The first part of their job is to identify the shortcomings, then plan how to deal with them. I got a lot of help from everyone who followed my efforts and it’s right that, at such an important moment in my career, I share my satisfaction with them. We have been a family during the difficult times and so once again today, we celebrate all together.”