F1weekly podcast # 493

Crying Love for Motorsports

Photo: Giada de Zen

Italian teenager in pursuit of her racing dreams

Meet Giada de Zen. Miss Icewoman. She is 15-years old and already in her second year of single-seater racing. At Monza last Saturday she achieved her best result and now has her sight set on the podium.

Q. What led to your interest in motorsports?

A: When I was eight my father bought me a go kart, a 50 baby kart. The first time I heard its noise I started to cry, but then I started to drive it around my father’s factory and after 3 months I raced in my first race.

Q. How how long it stayed as fun before you decided to go for a racing career?

A. After some races my father could see my passion for it. At the beginning I did it just for fun, but then I understood it’s more than just a sport.

Q. In the beginning did the boys take you seriously?

A. Not really. They saw me and they said “Ooh, a girl, it’s gonna be easy to stay in front of her!!” but then in the track they couldn’t believe in their eyes when I overtook them!

Q. What are your best moments from karting days?

A. I think the best moment was when I won my first race in 50 baby kart and the Open Master in Siena in 2009: I did a great race, I arrived 2nd but it has been really hard and after the race I couldn’t believe I did that!

Q. You moved into single-seater racing at age 14; was this your own idea  or a decision made by your management team?

A. During the winter of 2009 I did a test in Le Mans with the F4 and at the beginning of 2010 I believed to race in kart but one day my father and my manager Gabriele Biancalana told me “Hey, you’ll race car this year”. The best surprise I could have!

Q. Last year you raced in French F4 Euro Cup Championship; what was the biggest challenge you faced going from karting to single-seaters?

A. The biggest challenge has been for me the way to drive. The first day of test they told me “Forget all that you’ve done in karting… it’s really different!!”

Q. What is your goal in this year’s Formula Renault?

A. I would stay in the top ten (I’ve already done it in the first race) but the podium would be great, sure! I’ll just do my best and I’ll try to do as much experience as I can for the next year.

Photo: Giada de Zen

Q. Saturday you finished sixth at Monza, what was that feeling like?

A. During the race I just thought to do my best and push and overtake while I saw I was 9th,8th, 7th… but just at the end of the race I understood that I arrived 6th, and I couldn’t believe it!

Q. Are Mama and Papa happy and supportive of your racing adventure?

A. Yes, they are. Mum is scared from races, so she doesn’t come to see me very often, but dad always comes with me. They support me very much and I wouldn’t know how to do if they didn’t.

Q. Your favorite F1 racing driver and track?

A. My idol is Kimi Raikkonen. I love him and I always watch his old races on TV. Now, in F1 I like Robert Kubica, and I am really sorry for his crash. I also like Danica Patrick, she’s great.

My favourite track is Silverstone, but unfortunately I’m not going to race on it this year.

Q. There is a lot of girl power in racing these days; are you friends with drivers like Vicky Piria, Beitske Visser and Michelle Gatting?

A. Yes, I know Vicky and I often talk to her. I saw Michelle on the track and I think she’s very fast but I’ve never talked to her.

Q. If you achieve your racing goals and dreams, where will we see Giada de Zen in five years?

A. I dream (like everyone) the F1, but I can see it’s very difficult and that I need a lot of money. For sure I would become a good racing driver… we’ll see.

For more information please visit www.giadadezen.com

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and racing regards from the ‘sinistra’ coast of America.