With Formula Two (F2) back in full swing, I caught up with Campos Racing’s, Luca Ghiotto to discuss his racing career so far as he seeks to reach Formula One.
Discover who inspired him to become a racing driver, what lessons he took from his time in GP3 and why he joined Campos for this season in this thrilling interview.
- Who was your inspiration for becoming a racing driver?
Ghiotto; My father was a racing driver for almost 20 years and I lived in the racing track since I was a kid.
I always loved racing cars and wanted to be a racing driver.
- You spent the early part of your career with Prema Powerteam, finishing runner-up in both 2012 Formula Abarth series before winning 2013 Pau Formula Renault 2.0 Trophy. What was it like working with a fellow Italian team at such a young stage of your career?
Ghiotto: Prema is one of the best teams in the world and working with them in the first three years of my career has been incredible.
They taught me all the basics of being a racing driver and I learned many things from them.
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to race with them in the high level categories such as F2.
- 2014 saw you mainly compete in Formula Renault 3.5 but your stand-out moment that year came on your GP3 debut in Belgium, giving Trident their first pole position in the category. Given that it can often take rookies time to adapt to a new car, how surprised were you by that performance even if the race results didn’t say much with four non point finishes across Belgian and Italian rounds?
Ghiotto: Well it was quite a surprise as you can imagine, you never expect to arrive and be on pole at your first time driving that car.
Yes, the races were a bit unlucky but that qualifying performance was enough to know that there was potential in the car/team for the following season.
- The following year saw you and Trident battle ART’s Esteban Ocon for GP3 title. Despite finishing just ten points behind the Frenchman, what was the biggest lesson that you took from that season when moving up to GP2, particularly seeing as Ocon managed 11 straight podiums which is key to winning any title?
Ghiotto: I learned that being consistent was the main thing to improve in following years.
It was tough to lose that title especially seeing that we were quicker than Ocon for most of the races. Pure performance has always been very good but he was very consistent, especially at the end of the season.
- Since joining GP/F2, you have improved across two seasons despite moving to Russian Time last season, wehere you showed such consistency. Although you have notched up 11 podiums with two of those being Sprint Race victories, how disappointed are you to not yet have a Feature Race win under your belt – although did come close to getting your first in Italy last year only for a post-race penalty to take it away?
Ghiotto: You always want to win Feature Race because you get more points, because it’s the toughest as there’s the pit-stop and as the starting grid is from qualifying, you know that’s more of a “real” race with all the fastest drivers at the front.
Ghiotto en route to a home Feature Race victory before a post-race penalty took it away. (Photo by Z.Mauger, F2)
I was unlucky in Monza to lose it for the steward decisions, also because with the Sprint Race win, it would have been a double victory on my home soil.
- Last year saw you participate in one of Formula One’s in-season tests with Williams. What was it like getting to drive the Williams and how does it compare to every other car that you have driven?
Ghiotto: The Williams test was incredible and the car is just another world compared toF2.
There’s nothing comparable to it at the moment, especially since they introduced wide tyres and wings which made the current F1 go much faster than 2016 or earlier.
Everything is just better, from engine to corner speed to braking.
- This season saw you switch to Campos Racing so why did you decide to join a team who have not challenged for a title since returning to the series in 2014, rather than potentially stick with Russian Time despite their F2 future not being clear for part of off-season?
Ghiotto: The future of Russian Time was not clear and I signed with Campos before they announced their entry.
Ghiotto driving for Campos. (@Dutch Photo Agency)
Apart from that, I had been talking to Campos for the whole winter and I know they wanted to step their game up in 2018.
I could see the team was very focused for the season and that was enough for me to choose Campos.
- Finally, what are your ambitions for the future?Ghiotto: F1 is still the dream and after testing for Williams last year, I want to get there even more than before.