NTT IndyCar Series driver, Santino Ferrucci, has stated in an interview prior to this weekend’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park that he does not have any regrets regarding the numerous controversies that led to him receiving a race ban in Formula 2 last year before being fired by his team.
Ferrucci, who has now made a name for himself as an upcoming star in the NTT IndyCar Series, lost his drive with Trident last year after incidents ranging from deliberate contact and unsafe actions behind the wheel to racist remarks against his team-mate, Arjun Maini.
Following first practice at Gateway yesterday, where Ferrucci had finished as the fastest driver, the American was asked by Autoweek whether he had any regrets over his actions from 2018. Santino simply replied, “Nope.“
He would go on to say how he was in a different place mentally and that he had endured “super-high stress” back in Europe on the ladder to Formula 1.
“Obviously, I’m in a different place now mentally,” Ferrucci told Autoweek yesterday, “I was under a super-high stress microscope in Formula 1. Here, I just get to be myself. I frankly feel really comfortable and accepted here, and that allows me just to focus on getting better on the track each week.”
Prior to his move over to the NTT IndyCar Series, Ferrucci’s main goal for his motorsport career was to reach Formula 1. It looked as though Santino had a very good chance of making that dream a reality, too. The American made his way up the ladder to the Formula 2 championship, whilst also signing on as a development driver for Haas F1 Team, which led to several test outings for him.
However, Ferrucci would be involved in a series of controversial incidents during his 2018 Formula 2 campaign with Trident, most of the incidents coming during the weekend of the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The snowball began to roll when Ferrucci appeared to deliberately crash into his team-mate, Arjun Maini, after the conclusion of the Sunday sprint race.
The stewards would summon Ferrucci to discuss the incident, but Santino did not appear. As a result, Ferrucci was fined €60,000 and given a four-race ban. Shortly thereafter, it would also emerge that Ferrucci had been fined a further €6,000 after being seen driving his car back to the support paddock wearing only one glove whilst using his mobile phone.
Ferrucci’s transgressions did not end there, however. It would be announced a few days later that his team, Trident, had terminated his contract after the American missed payments that were due to the team. These missed payments came right around the same time that Ferrucci was able to make his NTT IndyCar Series debut with Dale Coyne Racing at the Detroit Grand Prix. A court order later in the year would see Ferrucci told to pay Trident €502,000 in damages.
However, the actions that have seen fans repeatedly call upon Santino to apologise for focus on allegations of repeated racist remarks from both Ferrucci and his father toward his former team-mate, Maini. These allegations were hinted at by Trident in a statement last year, which read: “Trident intends to show their solidarity and support to Arjun Maini and his family, for the unsportsmanlike and above all uncivilized behaviour that he was forced to endure not only during this last weekend by Santino Ferrucci and father, who accompanied him.“
Ferrucci did make an apology for his actions during the British Grand Prix weekend. However, the apology was not received well after Santino seemed to blame his Italian American heritage for his “deep passion” for motorsport that had led to his “mental lapse.” Since then, Santino has deleted his apology post from Twitter.
After returning to the United States to make a handful of starts with Dale Coyne Racing in IndyCar, it was announced in November last year that Santino would contest the entire 2019 season driving the team’s #19 Honda. Since then, it cannot be denied at all that Santino has been one of the stars of the season. Many expected Santino to showcase his talents in the road course and street circuit races, but in actuality, it has been on the ovals where he has made a name for himself, despite having never driven on an oval prior to this season.
Ferrucci has finished inside the top ten at every oval on the calendar thus far, bar one. A superb drive at the Indianapolis 500 saw him claim a seventh-place finish, earning plaudits from IndyCar pundits to NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Ferrucci would go on to claim a brace of fourth-place finishes at both Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, whilst also taking a twelfth place finish at Iowa Speedway. Last night, Ferrucci took his best grid position of the season so far for the final oval race of the season at Gateway Motorsports Park, putting his #19 Honda sixth on the grid.
However, throughout all of Ferrucci’s undeniable excellent performances so far this season. A large number of fans have grown increasingly frustrated at Ferrucci’s lack of remorse for his past behaviours, especially as IndyCar pundits have very much been pushing Ferrucci as the next star of the series. Frustrations boiled over when commentators dismissed his past controversies as “false” whilst also stating his dismissal from Formula 2 came after Santino simply “fell afoul of a few rules.”
The debate regarding Ferrucci’s lack of remorse for his past incidents was once again discussed following his aforementioned interview yesterday. His refusal to directly address his controversies, particularly the allegations of racism, has angered many fans. On the other hand, some fans have suggested that an apology now may not change anything and that Ferrucci deserves a shot at redemption.
Like him or loathe him, it is clear to see that Ferrucci has talent behind the wheel of a race car; nobody in their right mind would doubt that. Should his cards continue to fall right, he could have a long and successful career ahead of him in IndyCar. However, until Santino apologizes, it appears as though his past will continue to haunt him.
What are your thoughts? Should Santino apologize for his previous actions, or is it all in the past now and people need to move on? Let us know in the comments section below, or tweet us, @TheCheckerFlag.