The Espoo Express
Aaro Vainio: The latest version in the never-ending flow of fast Finnish drivers is quickly making a name for himself. Hailing from the same town as the ‘Quiet One’ and managed by Nicolas Todt, Vainio was born on October 2, 1993. We are pleased to present our digital dialogue with this lad from the Land of Thousand Lakes.
Q: 2010 was your first year in single-seater racing; did you meet or exceed your pre-season expectations?
A: “There were some things that were very good. I improved all the time and my season was ascending up to the end. I knew that it was going to be difficult but I managed quite well in the end. Too bad that season ended too early when I had good pace to climb to top three in series.”
Q: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make in motor racing after years of success in karting?
A: “Well, the biggest change is the size and speed of the car. Driving is not same as in go-kart. First it was pretty difficult but it got better and better when I just did more laps. In race moment things comes so much faster and all the things around are bigger.”
Q: You had five podium finishes, how frustrating was it not to get a win?
A: “No, not at all. I did a good job but obviously I was not fast and good enough to do it this year but I improved my performance all the time. Next step will be the winning.”
Q: What were your best and worst moments from the 2010 Formula Renault Euro Cup season?
A: “Best moments were maybe the time in Hockenheim. I was the fastest car on the track and in race 2 I was fighting for the win for quite a long time. Maybe the worst moments were in Magny-Cours. I had great pace during the weekend but I wasn’t concentrated at all and did lot of mistakes. Qualifying and race 2 were big disappointments.”
Q: What series will you race in 2011?
A: “Well, we’re not sure yet but we have good options like F. Renault 2.0 or GP3. I’m not the one to make the choice, on that; I have full confidence in my management.”
Q: How and when did you hook up with your manager, Nicolas Todt?
A: “Nicolas spotted me when I was driving in go-kart. He got in touch with my family and my go-kart team, which was the same as the one where Jules Bianchi drove, also managed by Nicolas. From there, we met and decide to work together.”
Q: In 2007, you won the Finnish Karting Championship, in 2008 achieved success in the South Garda Winter Cup and won the European Karting Championship in both 2008 & ’09; how is the depth of competition in Finnish karting compared to Italy and other European countries?
A: “Racing is really tough in Finland. If Finnish go-kart is compared to Italian go-kart, the biggest difference is that Italian people have their hot-blooded nature. Sometimes it’s easier to manage Italian guys when they just lose their temper.”
Q: Who were some of your toughest competitors in karting days?
A: “Difficult to say one name. But older go-kart professionals such like Kozlinski or Ardigo were quite tough guys to beat.”
Q: Have you ever run into Kimi Raikkonen at your local Starbucks?
A: “No, I don’t really know him, just that we have lived in same city.”
Q: Among the three world champions from your nation, Keke, Mika and Kimi, who do you admire most and why?
A: “I have to say Kimi. He is the driver of the closest generation to mine and he has done things that I watched on TV. His style and persistency to do things are points that I really like.”
Q: Do you follow American racing scene like Indy cars and Nascar?
A: “To be honest, not that much. I don’t follow those so much but still I know Nascar things a little bit.”
The next Flying Finn
Photo: Aaro Vainio Fan Club
Q: Please tell us about Aaro Vainio, the young man not the racer; your taste in music and food, and what other sports you enjoy watching?
A: “I have to say that I really am a normal 17-years old teenager who likes to hang out with friends and take things easy. I really enjoy almost every sport and like to play games like ice hockey and floor ball. Also like to go to the gym. When it comes to music I’m quite open minded for everything. When I have to put something in to my mouth, Red Bull and pasta are my choice.”
Thank you very much.
Racing regards from California.
Special thanks to Olivier Maernhout of All Road Management for his assistance.