Santino Ferrucci only joined the FIA European Formula 3 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in June after turning sixteen, the minimum age a competitor has to be to drive in the series, but the young American has shown in the time since just why he was thrust into the spotlight so early.
He made his debut for the EuroInternational team before switching to Fortec Motorsports for the final two rounds at Imola and Hockenheim, and will continue with Fortec into next months Macau Grand Prix.
“I am gradually understanding the car and how to find its limits,” insisted Ferrucci. “I’ve improved immensely as a driver and my only disappointment is that the FIA Euro Series season is over. The Fortec guys are patient with me and we work little by little, block by block, because I won’t learn anything if I try to learn it all at once.”
Ferrucci feels more at home on the lower downforce tracks, such as the Norisring where he secured two top five finishes, but is working on getting better on the higher downforce tracks ahead of a potential full campaign in the series in 2015. He admitted he was using the races this year to gain experience with the Formula 3 series and car, and was happy to finish races and gain vital mileage.
“Having finished fourth and fifth at Norisring, a low downforce track, I am realising that I am at home with low downforce and a higher downforce track is much more difficult for me at this stage of my learning,” said Ferrucci.
“I joined the series mid year after my 16th birthday. The objective was to learn the European tracks and learn about the Dallara and F3 racing in general. I have never raced a car in a proper series so I had no experience and no expectations – my goal was to finish races and accumulate mileage.”
The American praised his engineer Russell Dixon for assisting him in acclimatising to the Formula 3 series, especially as Ferrucci has not had an experienced team-mate to assist him on track. He is looking forward to gaining more experience around the streets of Macau, a race Ferrucci believes is potentially the toughest Formula 3 race in the world.
“Joining mid-year also did not afford me the opportunity to be with a competitive team and, as importantly, alongside an experienced team-mate,” said Ferrucci. “While I still do not have a team-mate at Fortec, my engineer Russell [Dixon] is at the top of the game, and has a lot of patience with this American rookie as we head to Macau.
“From just before Christmas until 3 June, I was did not sit in any kind of race car before going to my first F3 race. On reflection, that was not good planning but we all learn from our mistakes and now I’m focusing on Macau and clocking up more miles and experience in what must be considered the toughest F3 race in the world.”