FLORIDA WINTER SERIES – MIDWAY
Maranello, 11 February – It’s time for a progress report on the Florida Winter Series as it reaches the midpoint, after the first two events at Sebring and Palm Beach. Over to Luca Baldisserri, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, who are involved in organising the series in a short interview held at the pre-Homestead event workshop.
Luca, at the midpoint, how do you rate the Florida Winter Series?
LB: I’d definitely give it more than a pass mark, a 7½. That’s because the Florida Winter Series is opening up a new frontier for junior motor sport and, for talented youngsters who want to learn and understand, what we are doing is the only opportunity of its kind on a global level. Even those who are not absolute novices and know how to drive a race car realised here there are a few gaps in their knowledge. Clearly, the need to go over and fine tune some methods is a big job, but I’m sure the results will pay off and that next year we will do even better.
Did you expect more or less from the drivers? Do you think they entered into the spirit of the championship?
LB: I’d say that all who are taking part took on board the spirit of the series, which we’d define as “competitive training.” They all understood they were here to train and learn, not just to try and win the races, but accept the idea of a championship concentrated into one month as an investment in their career as professional racing drivers. I am curious to see how these kids will put into practice what we have tried to teach them.
You’ve gone from being a race engineer with the Scuderia to heading the Ferrari Driver Academy. What will your next metamorphosis involve?
LB: Rather than a metamorphosis, I’d talk about an evolution. During my career, I have acquired a lot of experience working with professional racing drivers and great champions and that experience I now make available to the guys in the FDA, to give them the chance to learn about the rain and cold n Europe. My dream is to see one of these kids win in Formula 1, maybe even in a Ferrari.
The Florida Winter Series isn’t big on winners and losers, but who would you say has surprised you the most?
LB: All the drivers are very different characters and I’m sure that this shared experience will help them progress a lot. Without denigrating the male participants, I have to admit that Tatiana Calderon usually controlled all of them!
What’s best, a day in the Florida sun on the beach, or being in the workshop teaching the drivers how to look after their cars?
LB: Initially, we weren’t sure what these drivers could expect from a few months in Florida, but I can assure you that the beach hardly featured for them!