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Let's toast to life together with Luca Badoer: champion of four wheels – Badoer Infissi

Let's toast to life together with Luca Badoer: champion of four wheels Let's toast to life together with Luca Badoer: champion of four wheels

For a racing driver speed is not a challenge, it's normal

The Veneto region has never been famous for four-wheeled competitions, rather it is better known for its off road motorcycling on these beautiful hills. However, many racing drivers were born here: «It’s a land of excellent rally drivers: Micky Biasion - two-time world Champion - is from Bassano del Grappa; Riccardo Patrese - 256 Grand Prix raced - was born in Padova”, points out Luca Badoer. While Mr. Patrese raced British cars (like Brabham and Williams) his whole career, Mr. Badoer devoted his life to the Prancing Horse.

You are well known for being a Ferrari test driver. Perhaps, you are the first example of a test driver becoming popular. Did you ever wonder why?

Throughout the years I made my role - which didn’t exist before - evolve to its utmost expression. In Ferrari we used to make tests like no other: on average, we raced 35.000 km per year. It was a unique period, not only for the achievements, but because we owned the best chefs, the best tyre team, engineers and Formula One drivers. My role became increasingly important, because it had started to be recognised by people, and because we are talking about Ferrari. Schumacher was like a brother to me; I managed to earn his trust; he would thank me and agree on everything I said.

You lived the generation of phenomenal drivers. What episode is the most vivid in your mind?

Two episodes: the first was during the Italian championship final race; I started from the 14th position - due to an accident - but managed to be in the lead after 18, 20 laps and to win the race. The second episode was in 1992, during the first season of Formula 3000 - before I started racing in Formula 1: I won the championship with four pole-positions and five winning races. This led me to debut in Formula 1 Season.

That was a turning point.

In terms of performance, the Formula 1 wasn’t far away, but racing back then was much harder because there was no electronics, no power steering and cars were much heavier. Phisically, to me it was a trauma, so I started training even harder.

Is it really so tiring to race?

From an athletic point of view, it’s the most tiring sport: no marathon or bike ride can compete. You are on the edge for so long, with lateral Gs requiring a sustained effort. Those cars are like 4-wheel planes and - on top of that -  you need to stay focused as much as possible, to achieve results. The strongest memory from F1? There’s not just one, it’s a mix of incredible memories: in 10-12 years in Ferrari I lived many extraordinary experiences. Above all, I treasure the moment when I was called by the Prancing Horse.

What is speed for a racing driver? Is it a challenge, a thrill, or an enemy?

“Speed doesn’t matter”, used to say Schumi. It’s not a challenge, you get there gradually and when you are in F1 it becomes normal. There’s a point when racing at 350-370 km/h is like driving a scooter.

Your life doesn’t end in the circuit. What is Luca Badoer second life?

Going from circuit to window frames has been a written path. After the racing career I was bound to work in the family company. The construction industry has been suffering, but we defend ourselves just fine. We are a dynamic company, where I need to focus on my goals, like I did in F1. Having lived in an extreme environment has kept me grounded and helped me me reaching my goals despite the sacrifice. This is how sport works too.

You had the chance to uncork a lot of magnum bottles already; what is your hope for the near future, that you would like to toast to?

My son Brando. He’s thirtheen years old and kart is his biggest passion. I don’t want to push him too hard, but I’d be happy to uncork a bottle for an important win.