One of the emerging young drivers in FIA F2 is a major talent. Luca Ghiotto has shown his potential battling for the title in both F Abarth and also GP3. The quality of Luca has also been seen by Williams F1, who recently called him to test in Hungary.
Today, Luca is aiming to finish in the top 3 of the F2 series which would aim his ambition of gaining a superlicence. At Monza he won race 1, but subsequently copped a post race penalty. In Race 2 he won showing that he was indeed the fastest driver.
“The penalty was like a cold shower, in which I’m very disappointed, as it would have meant a double-victory weekend. On track I won both races but the wins were not to be. When I won Race 2, I was really satisfied because with this success it confirmed that the Race 1 win was no fluke. I was really fired up and I’m overall happy with the result.
Analysing his season in F2, we see that he adapted well in the first 3 races. Then, in Baku and at the Red Bull Ring, your season took a dive somewhat, and then you have been perfect in the last two races in Spa and Monza. How do you see this?
“On the eve of the championship I expected, and I wanted more. As the season went on, until Monte Carlo I was convinced that I could fight for the championship. Although not everything went perfectly, in Bahrain and Barcelona things went well, overall, and we were the only ones to put pressure on Leclerc. Leclerc and his team made the difference to the others and being able to put pressure on them was a good feeling.”
After Barcelona you went to Monte Carlo;
“I had a difficult qualifying, but in the races I recovered and got a 4th and 5th, results that proved that I could fight and recover the gap.”
But after Monte Carlo, Baku and Austria, they were definitely races to be forgotten.
“Baku and Austria have been the weekend that has compromised my chances of winning in the championship. In fact, it is very difficult to compete for the championship against a drive and a car that never fails. Against such rivals, getting zero points in Baku and a brilliant result in Austria has compromised the ability to recover. In those races we had the potential to score 40-45 points, in two races, but I only scored 15, this it was a blow to my ambitions, because now I’m going a long way back.”
On a track that’s a must, Spa, you’ve been very strong and in the next race in Monza you dominated.
“I do not know if it was the holidays … from Spa on, I had two great weekends and I’m the driver to have scored the most points later on. This casues me some regret because I think if there had not been a drop-off in the races I mentioned, my championship would have been different.”
Your summer break started with a delay. The cause of this ‘delay’ was rather important, a the test with Williams F1, which took place in Hungary. How did that opportunity come about?
“The contact was before the beginning of summer. I knew something just a month before the test. Immediately after the Baku race, I learned of the possibility and I went to Grove at the Williams headquarters to conduct an evaluation test on their simulator. The simulator struck me because I quickly realized how fast the F1 cars were, and I was surprised, even before going to the Hungaroring track. At this stage I realized how big it would be to jump between F2 and F1. “
After that test?
“I did not have any further contact – I was focused on my championship and I left my manager free to act and work on that. I have devoted myself with even more determination on my season. I knew about the test in the week after Silverstone, a few days before the official announcement and later I went to England to make the seat.”
Was the test run with the Williams FW40 as you thought it would be? You’ve travelled a lot of miles and tested alot.
“Thanks to the simulator I already knew all the features of the buttons, an aspect that in F1 should not be neglected and is an important step before showing what you are able to do on the track. The test day was focused, but I was more excited the day before, when I followed Stroll’s work from within the team, following everything directly. There I realized what a great opportunity it was.”
The crucial day you dropped into the cockpit of the beautiful Williams FW40?
“The test went well, I was so focused on what I was doing, and I wanted to do it well, that I did not realize it all at the end of the last turn, when I let my concentration drop just for a moment to take in the memories. I received compliments for the work I did and I was physically ok, then the emotions came later. “
Future developments with Williams, or other F1 teams, are there any currently?
“After the test I switched off deliberately because I went on vacation. It has always been my manager’s job to have contact with them. At Spa and Monza I went to greet them – just to say hello, but we didn’t talk about the future. However, I know that in Malaysia there were new discussions and that there may be new opportunities… As with the first test, the important thing is to continue doing well in Formula 2 to keep up the interest from the team. They are very busy in the season, which is very intense and includes so many races. I knew it would be a stand-alone event. That’s why I did my job as well as possible and I hope it served to give a good impression.”
Where does your mind go when thinking of 2018?
“For now it is difficult to answer. I’m concentrating on finishing my F2 season to the fullest. I leave these thoughts to my manager and if they will come, he will make the best choices for me. I have no chance of my family paying or having big companies that support me, but I’m sure the results will come with results.”
The immediate goal is the F2 championship, when there are two races, Jerez and Yas Marina?
“Jerez I have shot and it is a nice track but hard and challenging in the race because the straights are short and it will be a difficult race anyhow. That’s why it’s important to do well in qualifying, as in Hungary. Abu Dhabi I really like it and it’s a track where there are long straights and it’s easier to pass. In these two races I will aim for the top three places, on the podium of F2, a result that allows me to collect 40 points for the super-license. By virtue of this, to feed the ambitions of jumping in F1, it is imperative to finish in the top three of the F2 championship. F1 teams are interested in those drivers who have the requirements to run. In addition to the points, getting on the podium in F2 is still a nice achievement and to succeed in continuing this positive trend I started after the holidays.”
Let’s talk about the helmet. How were the graphics designed?
“White and red lines do not have a specific meaning for me. I always like the white-orange fluorescent colours, because it reminds me of how the Senna McLaren was. To that, I added black to make the colours more detached and give it more flavour. The design really is thanks to my father, in fact, when I started to run in the kart, for the same season, my father was doing his helmet when he competed in prototypes. We thought the stylized “G” would be nice to put on the helmet and put that idea into practice and we liked it. Over the years, the design has been a bit lost, but in the near future I want to go back to the original graphics with the most visible Ghiotto’s “G.”
What do you think of your Stilo?
“A very lightweight, very comfortable helmet, and one thing that I really enjoy is the visibility it guarantees. I’ll explain. In the cockpit I do not have to move my head very much, just move my gaze to get everything under control. In the past, with other brands, I had problems with comfort in the ears. After an hour of racing the earphones were causing pain. Since I use Stilo this does not happen anymore. The exterior design is a bit futuristic, the lining is beautiful, and it highlights the original styling, having a look that I like very much. I have recently seen many drivers use Stilo and this proves the success of this model.” You have the Racing Service Stilo at your disposal. How do you find the Stilo staff? “Great! The track technicians are always and quickly available if needed, even though I have never had any problems. When I need a little help, the technicians helped me right away, but the assistance was minimal because everything worked perfectly, tear-off, radio, drink system … “
Photo Media Stilo