[Interview] January 12th, 2014 – After an experience as third driver of Lotus Formula 1 team, in this exclusive interview by F1P, Davide Valsecchi thinks about his future, with a look back at the past but without ever abandoning his usual optimism.
How does Davide Valsecchi’s future as a driver look, after a season spent in the shade of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean?
I have no news regarding my commitment to the sport at the moment. I’m not able to anticipate anything… For sure, if someone were to call me to race without asking me for money, I’d be ready to do it right away, but I’m not too worried about the situation. And I won’t stop exerting myself to have a steering wheel in hand soon. In the meantime, I don’t conceal my desire to get into IndyCar. There is someone who gave me a hand, although in the U.S. I’m not as famous as here in Europe, where my achievements in GP2 are well known.
So in a nutshell: one needs an endowment, the usual money, to be able to aim for a seat?
The original problem is always the same for all of us, and therefore also for me: you must have a budget that can support the needs of the team. Then, the driver earns thanks to his achievements, together with the team. Today, quality doesn’t matter that much, to get a seat one just needs the budget that is currently not within my reach. We’re talking about huge sums, so high that they’re very hard to find in Italy.
Are there no companies in Italy that can support a Formula 1 driver?
When there are drivers, such as the Mexicans or Venezuelans, who bring even 15 million euros, if not more so, the mission becomes impossible for me. The economic situation is tragic in Italy, I know that because my family works in the building field, which is one of those that were most affected by the crisis. Therefore I would not undermine the business of Ediltecnica in Erba (TN: Valsecchis’ company in his native town) to attain the requirements to race. This is really not the time to do anything stupid.
Are we discovering a Davide Valsecchi that is as wise as a philosopher?
I’m going through a time of tranquillity, especially compared to the state of mind that I was in when, bitterly, I discovered Lotus’ choice to prefer Kovalainen as Raikkonen’s replacement in the last two races of the 2013 season. It’s been a bitter disappointment, a moral blow, but I managed to swallow it well.
Indeed we’ve been looking for you, unsuccessfully, during the days of the last two races, to understand your state of mind…
Those two weeks were really hard for me, I had great difficulty accepting the presence of Kovalainen at the wheel of a Lotus that instead could be mine. Given the way the last two races went, I’m still convinced that choosing me or Hulkenberg would have been much better, and perhaps someone else in Lotus had the same thoughts. I thought that, in their choice, my willpower would prevail on a driver like the Finn, who is at the end of his career.
Has Kovalainen taken part the last two races because he had paid?
Lotus asked neither me nor Kovalainen anything to compete in the last two races. They hoped to defeat Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship until the very end and believed to succeed thanks to Kovalainen. If I had been asked for money, maybe I would have thought about it for a moment, but I didn’t have any, that’s it. I did not have a single euro, but I had and still have a great hunger for success. And Lotus knows that.
Have you ever received money from Lotus?
According to my contract my salary was like that of a waiter. They haven’t paid me yet. I’m sure that as soon as they’ll be in a position to do so, they’ll solve their debt. They’ve always behaved well towards me, ever since they chose me, and then also when they made me train because they had some doubts about Grosjean. And they’ve been also fair when they told me that Kovalainen would come.
What is your assessment of the season with Lotus, although as third driver?
I’m very grateful to Lotus for having chosen me as third driver, without asking anything in return. I can’t complain. Try to look for a job as third driver without paying a single euro! We’re not talking about Ferrari, we’re talking about a team that could sell a seat for at least two or three million euros. I owe a lot to Lotus, they were great, considering the season they played. Given all the uncertainties of the new Formula 1, I would have really liked to race in the season that is about to start. With the approach shown by Lotus in 2013, I’m sure that this year they would have collected something good, together with me.
What is your opinion on Patrick Louis’ recent resignation as Lotus CEO?
I wasn’t aware of it. I learned it by reading F1Passion.it and honestly I don’t understand how you manage to always have such news… I’m meeting him in the next few days. It was him who called me.
What do you expect from the meeting with Louis?
I really don’t know. Maybe he wants to wish me a happy new year, or tell me that they hired Sorensen, or that he is resigning. I don’t have expectations, we’ll certainly have a good chat. If they were to offer me a job like that of last year, not to race, then I’d prefer to stay at home and help with my father’s company, Ediltecnica. I’m not interested in Formula 1 just to comment it on TV. I prefer to race, maybe with karts. For example at Imola, in May … I believe there is an interesting race, right?
FP | Valentina Menale