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Interview with Annalese Ferrari

Girls who are involved in racing are not that special anymore. Currently, there are dozens of girls who are racing cars in different championships. But, it also is not a secret that autosport is quite expensive. One of the girls who is fast, but could not race for a couple of seasons due to lack of budget, is Annalese Ferrari. In 2011, Annalese wants to strike back and win races in the Mini Challenge UK. RacingInside.com spoke to Annalese in an exclusive interview.

Annalese FerrariAnnalese, you are a talented female driver. Unfortunately, a lot of our visitors will not know who you are. Could you please give a short introduction about yourself to the visitors that do not know you?
My name is Annalese Ferrari, I am a 22 year old girl and live in Merseyside, UK. One of the sports I am active in, is autosport.

How did you get involved in racing? Have you always wanted to become a racedriver yourself? Did your parents always support you?
I always watched Michael Schumacher as a child on the television and wondered what it would be like to go fast. I went karting for a friend his birthday and managed to beat everyone. So, my mother decided to take me karting properly and from then on, I was hooked on becoming a race driver. My mother has always supported my sporting career.

You have started your career, like many other drivers, in karting. Did you enjoy your period in karting and do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a racedriver?
Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions, my karting competition was limited. But, I did enjoy every aspect, including racing and testing. The skills learnt from karts has definitely helped on the racetrack. Developing car control skills and learning how to drive lines round corners all comes from karting.

Could you tell us something more about your career? You are not only involved in racing cars, but also in other sports?
I drove for Citroën in 2007/2008 against top motoring and motor sport celebrities and drivers, winning most of the races and taking the championship. I’ve raced and tested lots of other cars including Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Ford. Aside from motorsport, I have two horses and have been riding horses since the age of 2. I also compete in international bobsleigh competitions, trialling for Team GB in both bobsleigh and modern pentathlon. Outside of sport, I am also a model who has completed assignments for well known brands and products.

What are your plans for the 2011 season?
For 2011, I am intending to race in the John Cooper Works class in the Mini Challenge UK and hopefully the Silverstone 24 hours if budget allows. I just need to raise the required budget through sponsorships in time for the season opener, which is on April 16!

Mini Challenge UKEvery race driver has good and bad moments during his career. What is your best moment in racing, until now? What is the moment you would like to forget as soon as possible?
The best moment was winning my first race with Citroën, beating current Formula One drivers and top motoring celebrities. It was brilliant and I am hoping that 2011 will bring more wins and podiums.

My worst moment was an expensive crash in a Formula Ford at Silverstone and probably the lack of funding for racing.

If you could change your life with another racedriver for just one day, who will be the one you are changing with?
Sebastian Vettel, so I could be a Formula One World Champion for a day. I would prefer to be him on the day of the Bahrain Gran Prix or the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix! Or maybe I would like to be Danica Patrick, so I could know what it’s like to be the highest competing female racing driver in the world!

Is it hard to keep standing as a female driver in a world which is mainly filled by male drivers? What reactions do you get from other drivers, supporters, teams etc.?
It’s actually quite good being a girl in the racing world! All of the teams are interested in you driving for them, because of the publicity and I always find I get chased round by the photographers at each circuit for photos! The other drivers are okay, until you beat them on track. But it’s just racing, if they don’t like it though! Other teams and supporters are quite interested in the girls racing, but it does put a lot of pressure on you as a bad performance/accident involving a female driver does raise the debate that women can’t drive etc. That is a bit unfair, as it’s not as picked up on when a male performs badly or crashes!

Formula RenaultBesides that you are a racedriver, you are also a model. Is it easy to combine your modelling and racing career? If you had to choose between racing and modelling, what would you choose?
Being a model helps with racing! It’s easier to attract sponsors being a model and a racing driver because it’s unusual, attracts a lot of publicity and offers something extra for the sponsor(e.g. advertising products etc). However, if I had to choose between the two, racing would win every time!

Many people think that the life of a racedriver is all fun and just a dream. But if you take a look to the ‘inside’ of racing, what is the hardest part of being a racedriver?
The hardest part of racing is money and the lack of it! Motorsport is expensive and unless your parents are millionaires, you need a very good sponsor to help with your career. It is very, very difficult to get sponsors and this is why I had to take 2 years out of racing due to lack of budget.

What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
Follow your dreams! Go down to your local kart circuit and get some experience, then maybe do some low level club racing to help with getting sponsorship for the bigger racing scene. Keeping fit is also very important as racing, although sitting in a car, can be quite physical. Look out for any scholarships that are available, usually at the start of the season that offers fully or part paid drives to the winner.