He is one of the most talented young guys from Belgium and currently dominating the 2013 season of the Formel ADAC Masters. Of course, this guy is called Alessio Picariello. RacingInside.com spoke to him in an exclusive interview.
Hello Alessio, I think many visitors will be familiar with the name of Alessio Picariello. Unfortunately, some of them will not know who you are. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
I am 19 years old. I am in racing since I am 4 years old, so it's not necessary to tell you that it's all my life. I was in karting until I was 15 years old, I had some national and international success and then I have tried to do the next step in formula cars. But, it wasn't possible until the end of 2010 because of budgets. Then I had the chance to do 2 races in Formula Renault 2.0, and I won twice. So, I became another chance to do 2011 in Formula Renault 2.0 but without any test. I could manage to finish two times on the podium and P6 at the championship. In 2012 it was the same story, but in Formel ADAC Masters. I also did 3 extra races in Formula Renault 2.0, every time on the podium. This season, I am racing for Mücke Motorsport in Formel ADAC Masters, I finally had the chance to prepare it correctly.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing? Did your parents support you from the early beginning?
Well, my father was used to watch Formula 1, but his goal was to put me in football or bicycle racing. One day, he had to drive indoor karting with some friends. He took me with him down there, and when I saw it; I was completely crazy, crying all the time just to try it. He had to leave. He tried a second time, but it was the same story. He got the information that there was karting for children and it all started like that.
You have started, like many other drivers, in karting and had quite some success in it. Do you think karting is an essential step in the career of a race driver?
For sure karting is one of the most important steps; it's where you learn all the basic things and how to react in racing situations. But it has to be only a step, it's important to don't be too long in it otherwise it's really difficult to move on.
After your career in karting, you made the step to the single seaters. You have raced in Formula Renault 2.0 and lately you are driving ADAC Formula Masters. In what way did your career progress?
After karting; in 2010 I didn't drive because of a lack of budget. In 2011, a person gave me the chance to do the season in Formula Renault 2.0. It was a great opportunity, but I didn't test at all before and during the season so it was really difficult to progress. In 2012, it was the same story, but in Formel ADAC Masters and some extra Formula Renault 2.0 races but again without tests. I've did some good results, but it wasn't constant because I had too less experience in the car. So actually, the past two years I was racing, but I didn't learn much at all. I nearly started at zero for 2013 and the most of my progress is this year, because I could test at least as much as the others and that changes so much!
If you take a look ahead, what do you think that the future will bring to you? You will probably be aiming on a seat in Formula 1, but what goals do you want to accomplish to be satisfied about your racing career?
From my side it's difficult to say what the future will bring to me, because I don't really have the control of my career with my situation about budget. I can't plan anything; I'm taking all the opportunities. What I want to accomplish is at least being a professional racing driver. At the moment; I am only thinking about Formula one. I would do everything for it, to don't regret anything. Then, if it's not possible, I would for sure have a look in another direction in racing but it's a bit too early!
Every race driver has his good and bad moments. What is the best moment in your career and what is the worst moment in your career, until now?
I think the worst was in 2010, after karting, I didn't drive anything for nearly a complete season and that was really hard for me. But, I didn't give up and I was back in the game for 2011. And the best is actually this year. When I knew that I could drive the season with Mücke Motorsport. It's a big opportunity for me.
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?
Well, I would like to have my own coach. But at the moment it's not possible, so I am training by my own everyday to be as fit as I can. It's not always easy to do it alone, but when you learn to do it by yourself, it makes you even stronger!
If you could change lives for a day with another race driver, who would it be?
That's an interesting question; everyone has his own personality so it's hard to say. I'm going to live everyone their own life and focus on my own too! 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?
Like you said, being a racing driver is a dream but it's also hard, like every high level sports. You need to have a healthy life, not going out with friends, always eating the right food etc. That's not a negative point for me, it's even positive. But, for some people it can be hard. The only negative one is probably that racing is a lot about money.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
Everyone has to have its own way to reach their goal, but I think that there is nothing impossible and you have to do all what you can, until you reach your dream. And it is important to don't regret anything at the end.