Nineteen-year-old Italian Luca Ghiotto is stepping up from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series to the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014, driving for the International Draco Racing team alongside Brazilian Pietro Fantin.
“The deal with Draco came about after Motorland test at the end of 2013, i was very happy of the day of test with them,” said Ghiotto to Checkered Flag. “The speed in that day was very good, I liked the way they worked and they also said that I was very professional. So I can say that both, me and Draco, wanted to find a good deal for 2014.”
The teenager believes he has already adapted to the Formula Renault 3.5 series car having tested last year and this with Draco, and ran the recent tests in Motorland and Jerez.
“The car is much different to a Renault 2.0 car, at the beginning the engine power was the thing which impressed the most but after some laps it’s easy to understand how to use the power. I can say that the thing which took more time to adapt was the downforce, the car has a lot of grip and especially in the fast corners it’s difficult to find the limit because it looks you can always carry more and more speed into the corner and the car is able to do it.
“I tested In Barcelona and Motorland last year, i think that after the 2 days in Barcelona i did already adapt to it. The main problem was to improve the speed and understand how to use the downforce of the car, i think that just at the end of Motorland test i started to understand how to drive it on the limit.”
The youngster is still growing as a driver, but believes he’s making a good start in his racing career that saw him win once in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series last year and five times in the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS championship.
“I think that I learned a lot especially in the last year in Eurocup Renault, I had 2 fast team-mates and I could always learn something from their data analysis. In Formula Abarth and Renault 2.0 I learned how to drive and how to manage a “sprint” race, in 2014 I will learn a lot more things as in Renault 3.5 there pit stops and much more new thing to manage in a race.”
He also spoke about his new team-mate Fantin, who raced last year for the Arden Caterham team alongside Antonio Felix da Costa but with minimal success. But Ghiotto is happy to have a team-mate he feels he can learn off. He also spoke about his aims for 2014 and racing alongside the other rookies in the series.
“In the first tests of 2014 I was impressed by Fantin, he’s really quick. He’s in his second year in this category and he knows well this car, it will be easier for me to understand the car comparing the data with a driver who has already one year experience in this championship.
“I think that the first thing is to learn as much as I can this year so I’m not setting very high targets. My target for the moment is to fight with the other rookie drivers as [Pierre] Gasly and [Oliver] Rowland, I want to wait the first races before setting higher targets.”
Ghiotto also touched on the state of motorsport in Italy, a country that has a rich heritage of motorsport but has not seen an Italian racing in Formula One since 2011 when Jarno Trulli raced for Caterham.
“It’s really difficult to find sponsors now, even racing in such an important championship as Formula Renault 3.5. Everywhere in Europe companies are reluctant to sponsor any motorsport category because it’s a really expensive sport, it’s not a problem just in Italy.”