While we are all still waiting around for the sound of engines firing across the globe, now is as good a time as any to catch up with drivers as they, perhaps for the first time, sit in the same boat as us mere mortals as we all play the most excruciating round of ‘The Waiting Game’.
The Checkered Flag caught up with 2020 FIA Formula 3 rookie Igor Fraga about how he is coping with this extended period of no racing.
One of the big challenges facing racing drivers is staying physically fit and Fraga says this period has been more intense than ever before despite the lockdown.
Fraga said: “I’m doing physical training every day in order to improve my conditions. On the past years was tough for me to build a plan and follow it, since we didn’t have a fixed place to stay.
“Also, I had to dedicate a lot to be able to race at first, getting in touch with companies, producing some presentation content, in 2018 I was even helping my dad which was the mechanic of my car. There was a lot going on and I’m using this time now to focus on this point to return better prepared. It’s a lot more intense than previous years.”
The 2020 Toyota Racing Series champion was signed to Charouz Racing for the 2020 F3 season and this will be the highest he has competed on the motorsport ladder in his career so far but the step up to F3 competition hasn’t fazed him.
He said: “I feel ready for it, there will be lot for me to learn and I can’t wait to really start the season. It was really good that we had 3 days of testing in Bahrain before we really start the season, and there I could learn a lot and have also a much better idea to what to expect.
“I also could understand where I was strong and where I was lacking so now that unfortunately there is no racing activities I’m focusing to work and return mentally, physically and driving wise better prepared.”
The Japanese-born Brazilian’s path to this stage in his career is somewhat unusual nowadays but there could be more and more people taking his path in the future. Fraga is an avid sim racer and he proved his rapid speed on a sim by winning the inaugural FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup and the McLaren Shadow series in 2018.
COVID-19’s appearance and the delay in season’s getting underway means that more and more drivers are buying sims to compete in the virtual world to keep their skills sharp. With Fraga’s knowledge of online sim racing, could he inadvertently have an advantage when racing resumes?
“It’s difficult to say If it’s an advantage,” Fraga said, “but on my personal experiences it definitely helped me to get better on the driving. It is very competitive and also have lot of talented virtual racers, so it really forces you to surpass limits to stay on a high level and this is a really good training.”