After running four IndyCar Series events last year, Santino Ferrucci will tackle the full slate in 2019 for Dale Coyne Racing. The Connecticut native recently shared his thoughts with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts going into the season?
SANTINO FERRUCCI: I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity from Dale, and the team. I think we can show some pretty good pace, and hopefully have a couple good results. More or less, looking forward to get it started.
POW: Why do you feel the IndyCar Series is the right step for the next phase of your career?
SANTINO: I mean, I’ve been over in Europe for a long time and it’s just a hard place to travel and live there, because it’s so far away from home. So to be coming back to America and to be racing in an environment like IndyCar which is like a family, it’s nicer for a driver. You actually are excited and happy, and enjoying what you do.
Also, the cars and the racing is unbelievable. If you watch any of the Formula races compared to IndyCar, it’s by far the most exciting.
POW: What are your goals and expectations?
SANTINO: No goals in particular, just because I don’t like to set a bar. Obviously, it’s nice to be in a good points scoring position, but I’m more so looking forward to working with Sebastian and learning from him and working with the team and trying to progress and move ourselves forward in the championship rankings.
POW: What track are you most excited to get to?
SANTINO: I’m actually looking forward to three, one of which being Circuit of the Americas, Toronto, and Portland. It’s nice that we’re going to the Circuit of the Americas, and I very much love street courses and Toronto looks like a lot of fun from watching the races back from last year.
Portland, I feel like we lost out as a team because we were running sixth due to issues with our fuel conservation and running out of fuel going into the final sector. I kind of feel like we need some redemption there.
POW: I was just going to say. You got to run a couple races last year. So what was the biggest surprise to you about IndyCar in those?
SANTINO: The biggest surprise in IndyCar is more so how the paddock is. Like, when you’re in Europe and you’re racing, you’re biggest enemy and competitor is your teammate. Here, it’s the complete opposite; your teammate is your biggest help and advantage. That was my biggest surprise coming back, and it’s just been a tremendous help moving forward for me personally in my career.
POW: What’s something you were able to learn in your previous starts that you feel will help you moving forward?
SANTINO: I got to learn a couple of tracks that we wouldn’t normally test at, like Detroit, as there’s no testing and it’s a double-header weekend. So it’s just very fast-paced. You’re two sessions in, and then you’re into qualifying.
I also got a good feeling of how to work with the team, how the team is adapting to my driving style, and what changes I like in the car so I have a good idea of what I’m looking for out of the car this year so I don’t need to learn that and be a couple steps behind. I already have an idea of what direction to go.
POW: How did you get started in racing?
SANTINO: I started when I was five. It was more of a birthday gift, I would say. I started in New York at a little track and I just loved speed. I just absolutely was fascinated with going fast, and as fast as I possibly could. So yeah, I started back when I was five and did karting up until I was 12 or 13. Then I took a year off to go into cars.
POW: What’s been your most memorable racing moment to date?
SANTINO: Probably a few. I say the most memorable is honestly Dale giving me the opportunity to drive his car after everything that happened in the last year just because it was an emotional and difficult time. For him to give me a hand and support me was really nice, and really comforting.
POW: Who is your racing hero?
SANTINO: (Michael) Schumacher. Since I was a little kid, I always loved and followed Schumacher.
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