Dino Zamparelli will be starting his second season of the GP3 Series in 2014, and has switched from the Marussia Manor Racing team to the four-time Teams’ champions ART Grand Prix team this season. The British driver with the Italian name (his parents have Italian ancestry) is looking forward to building on the experience he took from last year.
2013 was a roller coaster ride for Zamparelli, with a new backer in the form of Bristol Sport enabling him to be able to concentrate on his racing, it was a big learning curve for the Brit. His highest finish was seventh in both Germany and Belgium, but he was forced to sit out the second race in Italy, somewhat controversially, after causing a multiple car crash at the first corner.
For 2014 he hopes to improve on his performances from last year, including in qualifying where he and his team usually struggled.
“Last season was a really good learning year,” said Zamparelli to The Checkered Flag. “There was a great deal to learn and at times we had some really strong races, and at times there were races that didn’t go to plan. Obviously there were some races which could have gone slightly better, but that’s all part of the learning process in my opinion. I’ve taken a lot of knowledge from last year, and looking forward to taking that into 2014 with ART Grand Prix.
“I firmly believe that things happen for a reason – and last year although the end championship result didn’t show well, there were some really strong performances that deserved a lot more. I consistently scored points and was nearly every weekend ending in the top 10. The qualifying was an area in which we really struggled, collectively, and perhaps more so for me at the start due to the fact I was still learning and understanding.
“But there were races last year were I was competing at the front, Spa and Germany springs to mind, where I was battling with the championship contenders. I knew the pace was there all along, but we just couldn’t open it up for qualifying. For 2014 with ART, this is something I’ll be keen to improve on, naturally.
“I’m looking forward to taking in everything I’ve learned from last year! I’m so much more advanced than I was this time last year. I’m feeling strong, confident and raring to go. I’ve never felt this good about my driving either.”
He was delighted to sign with the ART Grand Prix team who are unbeaten in the Teams’ championship since the series began back in 2010. He knew his new employers would have noted his performances from 2013, so he was obviously happy that they had seen something in the Brit for them to sign him for 2014.
“ART Grand Prix are the most successful team on the grid – without question! So with my backers Bristol Sport, my family and support team, we knew that for 2014 we would have to be in an environment where I could excel. With them winning four championship trophies in a row, it was clear that they were the right team for us.
“By the same token, they were well aware of some of my performances last year, and of course some the previous championships that I’ve competed in and won races in, so I think they saw some good potential in me and a good opportunity to help turn me into a race winner in GP3. I’m very confident that with a good preseason and a lot of hard work, that I can show in 2014 some of the faith that both Bristol Sport and team ART Grand Prix have shown in me. I’ve already learned a lot with my new team and I’m sure I’ll carry on learning fast as the first race approaches.”
When looking back at his career over the last few years, he appreciates that he has not had the continuality that other drivers have, as a struggle for sponsorship had caused him to be a bit-time player since 2009. He knows he has learned a lot in that time though that he hopes helps him this season.
“My career up to last year had been really stop start. We never really had the budgets in place to properly compete. When my backers Bristol Sport came on board at the beginning of last year, it meant that financially and also for everything else, I was a lot more stable. It meant I could go into the race weekends only focussing on the racing, not having to worry about finding sponsorship for once.
“The other thing to look at is that over the past few years; even though I’ve competed, it’s been limited experience in that with 2009 up to 2012, really being stop start years and years that actually did not yield many races overall. One year I had only 11 races for example; if you compare that to some of the F3 guys who have 30 races in one year plus a Macau GP and a few other guest events, and suddenly it becomes a bit clearer why their experience levels are different. But I can’t complain, I’ve learned a great deal over the past few years in Europe and I’m ready to put all of that good experience to use this year!
The season cannot come soon enough for the twenty-one-year-old Brit, and as he looks ahead to the new season, he has one and only one goal – to win.
“Obviously we’ve got some beautiful cities/tracks that we’re going to be visiting this year, which is also nice. But for me, I just can’t wait to get racing again. Absolutely can’t wait. Testing is one thing, but there’s nothing better than getting into a race weekend and racing to be the best. I will be pushing really hard and can’t wait to get going!
“There’s only one goal; to go and win! I’ll be taking it step-by-step and focussing on each event as it comes, but ultimately I will be going to win…nothing less.”