Brazilian Pietro Fantin will be starting his second season of Formula Renault 3.5 in 2014, but has swapped Arden International (nee Arden Caterham) for International Draco Racing. He had previous raced in the British Formula 3 Championship between 2010 and 2012 before advancing into the 3.5 series.
The 22-year-old from Curitiba scored fourteen points for Arden in 2013, but will want to show better form this year. During the first pre-season test in Aragon, he set the fifth quickest time of the week, less than half a second behind the pace set by Carlos Sainz Jr, but Fantin is reluctant to set himself any targets for the year ahead.
“After these first initial tests of the season, I am very confident and motivated to show some good results,” said Fantin. “However I do prefer to stay low for now and not set any targets for now. However, on the back of my mind, I do have a top 4 goal. That would be great. I will give 101% of myself to get there.
“It didn’t take long [to get re-adapted to the car in testing]. I think after a year in WSR 3.5, when you get back to it after a time off, everything comes back automatically and naturally quick. So that was not an issue for us, we were pretty competitive since the first run.”
When looking back at the 2013 season, he feels he under-performed, and was heavily outscored by his team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa 172 points to 14, but took some knowledge off his highly rated ex-team-mate.
“To be honest, my season did not go the way I expected and planned. I did learn a lot as a rookie in terms of mechanical/technical aspects and new circuits. However, the results were not as good as I expected. In only three months with Draco, I can definitely say that the relationship I established early with the team and especially my race engineer already made me learn much more than the whole season last year. I’m feeling more motivated and confident for 2014.
“I learned a lot from Antonio. As we all know, he has a lot of potential. So a lot of things I use on my driving today, I picked up from him when I was a rookie.”
When asked why he chose Draco as the team he was to race for in 2014, he commented that it was a combination of race results last year, where Nico Muller took two wins for the team at Monaco and Hungary, and the environment within the team that made his mind up.
“I think Draco did a great job last year. But we are not going there only because of the results they showed, but as I said before, because of the team environment and the way I work together with my engineer.
“Right on the first test with them I already felt like we matched as a team, and when this happens everything becomes much easier, because we can understand each other better and we can be more open. That helps a lot. And not only that, but also, they have been providing me with a great car on track.”
He also spoke about his new team-mate Luca Ghiotto, who has stepped up from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 to join him in Formula Renault 3.5. The Brazilian hopes to be able to work alongside the Italian to move the team forward in 2014.
“Even though he is a rookie, he has shown lots of potential on track and simulator. I think he will develop a lot during the season and I’m sure we are going to be very useful to each other. That can make a big difference to find those last 0.2 tenths to put you on pole.”
Finally, the Brazilian touched on how he has come on as a driver in the past few years, coming through British Formula 3 and into Formula Renault 3.5. He feels like in the short time he has been with International Draco Racing, he has grown as a driver and learned some more things that would help him develop further.
“As I said before, even though my time with Draco has just started a few months ago, I feel like these months have already taught me a lot. I feel more interested to learn and motivated, and a big part of that is because of the team approach. You can feel that they have passion too, so that motivates the driver more to learn. But also throughout my F3 years I did learn a lot too, it was the basis for everything.”