He is a Monaco resident and possibly looking for a victory on his home track this year in GP2 Series. We are talking with and about Stéphane Richelmi during an exclusive interview with the driver of Trident Racing in GP2 Series. Stéphane Richelmi tells about his way to GP2 Series, what it takes to be a race driver and what he thinks about his future in racing.
Hello Stéphane, I think the visitors will be familiar with your name. Unfortunately, some of them will not know who you are. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
I'm Stéphane Richelmi, today is my birthday so I am now 22 years old and I come from Monaco. I started with karting at the age of twelve, after a test made on a small track in Monaco. I raced 3 years in karting without aiming great championships. I was doing karting to take experience for further steps in my career. In 2006, I started at the Belgian Formula Renault 1.6 Championship and the two years after, I competed in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 litres. Even if the results were not so good, I went to Formula 3 and I finished as vice champion of the Italian Formula 3 Championship in 2010. Last year, I drove in the World Series by Renault 3.5 with Draco Racing.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing?
My father is a former rally driver. He won the French Championship and different others races. So my passion comes from him, definitely!
If you take a look ahead, what do you think that the future will bring to you?
We never know how the future is going to be, but I am aiming to be in top 5 of the rookie in GP2 Series in order to continue in 2013 in the same championship. Then we will see! For sure, Formula 1 is the target. But, it is also the dream of each other race driver!
The life of a race driver is tough physically and mentally. Do you have a special training programme to stay fit and to gain strength?
A race driver, and especially in single seater cars, has to be really trained. People cannot imagine how hard it is to drive a car in GP2 Series. So if you are well trained, it is an important value you bring with you. During the winter, I trained every day except the Sunday. You have to gain strength for the neck, the chest, the arms and the legs. But in the same time, you have to develop your endurance too. A race of the GP2 Series is almost one hour long. I consulted someone who helped me to focus better; to manage the pressure during a race weekend.
From the outside, being a race driver looks like a real dream. But there are also negative points, of course. If you could take people a look at the ‘inside’ of racing, what do you think is the most negative point of being a race driver?
For sure, doing what you really want to do in your life is a wonderful chance. But it is true that sport in competitions is a tough world! Nevertheless, I am not able to give you some negative examples. I love doing this too much. I would say that the frustration given by a bad result is something really painful. On the other hand, when you win, there is nothing better than this on earth.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
If it is your passion and if you are ready to do anything for it, let’s try to race! Of course, you really need to be aware of all the aspects and the sacrifices etc. But, the main thing is the motivation. With good motivation, you could do anything. One last thing, and that is definitely the main problem in racing, is the fact that is a motorsport. This means that the budget is the first aspect to look at. Unfortunately! If you are doing this for fun, it is way easier. To conclude, the most difficult place is not being the driver. The most difficult is being the parents or the manager of the driver!