Italy do not have an F1 driver on the grid this year, but in Davide Valsecchi they have one on the sidelines as Lotus reserve driver. The reigning GP2 Series champion spoke about the new development in his career.
You were announced as the Lotus team’s third driver just a couple of weeks ago – how is it going?
Davide Valsecchi: Well, I’m really happy of course that the team want me to be here and I’m excited about the future. I hope that this is a really good start to a career in Formula One. I’ve been with the team at the first test in Jerez already and it’s been great to get involved and into the way that they work on track.
We couldn’t not mention your GP2 Championship win with DAMS last year; do you see your role as third driver as the next step in your Formula One career?
DV: I very much hope so, and that step by step I will eventually become a full time competitive Formula One driver. I now have a great opportunity at Lotus F1 Team – I will continue to do my best whenever the team needs me for something, and whenever I have the chance I will try to show all my best qualities. I definitely do see this role as the next step; last year I won the GP2 Championship, so the clear next aim is to get into Formula One, and I’m moving closer. If I do the best job I can this year then it will open up my chances for the future, and we’ll see then if I’m good enough.
You also had a very successful day with the team at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last year, how important do you think that opportunity was to show the team your talents and skills?
DV: The Young Driver Test was great and the day I had with the team was fantastic. Before the test I had not really spent much time in a Formula One car, and to get the opportunity to have a full day’s testing was an incredible experience. I was thankful to Lotus F1 Team to give me the chance, and I knew that I was in a position to do well as I was about to drive a car that, just two or three days earlier, Kimi had won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in! The day itself went very well, and I managed to top the timing board which made me very happy.
Tell us a little bit about you and your path to where you are today, where has all this passion and desire for Formula One come from?
DV: Well, I grew up in a little town in Italy north of Milan, called Eupilio. My father and some of his friends had a great passion for go-karting so I started when I was very young. I used to go with him, until one day they let me try it. I turned out to be ok, and as they started to see my quality I began to take it more seriously and it became a job for me. I’ve always loved watching the Formula One races, and really I’ve been interested in all types of racing. To be honest, anything with an engine gives me great passion, so it was something natural and single-seater racing is something I was strong at. I love motorbike racing too!
What’s the aim for this year and the plan for the season ahead?
DV: My last year in GP2 was something I really focussed on, and in the end I succeeded. Now in Formula One my target will be a little different, but what I’m sure is that every day I will do the very best job that I can and give Lotus F1 Team the same passion and commitment that I showed last year.