Gianni Morbidelli reinvents himself: he is no longer a driver, but the coach of the Mini Challenge for drivers under 25 and next year the director of the Ten K Motorsport team that will compete with two BMWs in the M2 CS Racing Cup in Italy.
The driver from Pesaro with a difficult character – in his own admission – sheds his skin and puts his vast experience at the disposal of new talents who want to make their way to Motorsport.
John, your family is characterized by a past on two wheels. Why did you decide to pursue a career in the automotive world?
“It is true, my father was a big fan of motorcycles and played in several competitions. He gave me my first moped when I was three years old. My mother, however, did not do very well with the idea of putting me in such danger, so I soon switched to karts. “My father, a true genius of engineering, supported me throughout my career in motorsport.”
What were the benchmarks in your career? And when it comes to opponents, do you remember anyone in particular?
“I was lucky enough to work with many important riders who pushed me to do my best. First of all, Micheal Schumacher. Both were rivals (during the kart era, ed.) But also a point of reference when I became a Ferrari test driver. Michael represents everything you need to be the perfect athlete: passionate, very attentive to detail and able to keep all kinds of situations under control. “Apart from being terribly talented.”
Gianni Morbidell in a Ferrari 643 at the 1991 Australian Grand Prix
Photo: Ercole Colombo
“Another very important report was Alain Prost: I was lucky enough to be a test rider for the Cavallino with him as a guide and I was amazed to see with my own eyes the incredible attention to detail he put into each action. It was extremely accurate even in not neglecting the miles of the accelerator pedal. From him I learned the art of being a little field (not to say heavy). “But I believe that precision is necessary in a job like mine.”
“The opponents I valued? Really a lot: Martini in Minardi, Alesi in Ferrari. “But many others were lesser known, such as the Swede Johan Kristoffersson (now a multiple world champion in Rally Cross, ed.), But they were experts who knew how to make things difficult for me.”
Gianni Morbidelli, Minardi M190 Ford, at the 1990 Australian Grand Prix
Photo: Ercole Colombo
“Your” Formula 1 and today: what has changed and what has remained the same?
“I am not nostalgic. I do not think there is a better or worse period than the other. Of course, from a technical point of view there are significant differences: before the advent of electronics, Formula 1 was very natural. I still remember the time I replaced Pirro during the Brazil GP in 1990 at BMS Dallara: I did not have the physical preparation to finish the race, and so much was the effort I prayed during the GP to break the motor ! “.
Gianni Morbidelli, Dallara BMS-190 Ford, at the 1990 Brazilian Grand Prix
Photo by: Motor sports images
“Apart from that, I think today’s F1 has been ‘decentralized’: for example, overtaking with the DRS does not make much sense to me. I prefer to see the pilot’s talent rather than an artificial device. On the other hand, I believe that such a change is more than normal: cars are much more sophisticated today.The teams are bigger and have a lot more resources.In any case, I believe that Formula 1 always keeps its proverbial charm unchanged: it is always beautiful, untouched and exclusive “.
Does the idea encourage you to share your experience with the young pilots of the Academy?
“Too much. Working with kids makes me feel refreshed: I work with the Mini Challenge and manage drivers under 25. They see me as a coach, but I rather identify myself as an older brother: I try to help them not to do the same When I was twenty years old I had a strong mood and tended to be temperamental: if I could come back I would have more fun Fun is as fundamental as love for what you do, devotion and sacrifice, fundamental keys to winning races “.
What will you do next year? How do you feel as a pilot who wears his helmet?
“I am trying to get rid of the situation of the … retiree. We are strange creatures, we are the pilots. “I have spent 40 years traveling the world without ever staying still, but when we stop, we look forward to starting to test our resilience under pressure again.”
“Right now I like training in the Mini Challenge. In addition, I follow Giorgio Amati who was the best rookie last year currently competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy. Next year I will be on the other side of the wall for the first time: I will be Team Principal of the Ten K Motorsport team, which will compete with two BMWs in the Italian M2 CS Racing Cup. It is a collaboration I have undertaken with my friend and colleague Gabriele Marrotta: a completely new opportunity for me, as for the first time I will find myself “hitting” the pilots instead of being the one caught … “.
Why is the number 10 in the team name?
“She is a number that has always accompanied me throughout my career. I remember my father personally choosing it for me: “The 1 could not be taken because it was intended for the champion and it would be a bit arrogant. Add 0 because we would have zero problems “.
“Total travelaholic. Subtly charming zombie geek. Friend of animals everywhere. Music buff. Explorer. Tv junkie.”