It’s been a dramatic first season for Michela Cerruti as Romeo Team Principal in the FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup with a true rollercoaster of results, repairs, logistics and challenges all the way.
We caught up with Michela in the build-up to the season-finale at Sacnsenring for Race DE to see what she had to say.
How would you assess your first season as Team Principal for Romeo Ferraris in FIA ETCR?
It has been a very demanding one so far, full of events and emotions that haven’t made it easy at all. At the same time, I love big challenges and this is definitely one of them. We had to build a team at the very last minute this year and I have to say I’m very satisfied with the people who are part of it today. We have achieved many good results, even if I do not hide that we expected even more. Unfortunately, luck was not always on our side, but the potential is there, we have a fast car and still mathematically in the fight for the drivers’ title. As a manufacturer, we have lost many points already at the beginning of the season, overall due to crashes, which made impossible for us to fight for something even more important.
What’s the most challenging part of the job?
I think the most challenging part is to choose the right people to have the best possible team, including mechanics, engineers and drivers and keep them motivated and focused in front of the difficulties. A team is made of different people with different ways of thinking and it is very important to share a common view, a common goal and go towards the same direction. With smaller resources compared to the others, it is fundamental to maximize the effort of every member in order to have a powerful effect as a group.
The season has certainly been a roller coaster for Romeo Ferraris – how intense has it been for you?
I’ve never tried a roller coaster in my life that was more “shaking” than FIA ETCR 2022! We faced all kinds of troubles this season, from crashes to logistic issues, changes of destination, technical problems. The peak of emotions was, for sure, Vallelunga, which was supposed to be the most important for us and it ended up in my worst experience as a Team Principal with Bruno’s crash, who was fortunately fine and recovered perfectly. But we have also achieved victories and the King of the Weekend crown with Maxime in Zolder, in a dominant event for us. And we are still here with the same desire to fight and win.
You have an interesting mix of drivers – how well do they work together?
They get on well, very different from each other, but all quick and experienced. What is nice to see from side is the way they have felt as members of our family straightaway, they work as a team they work as a team and if we win or lose their respect towards Romeo Ferraris means a lot to me and is the best rewards for our efforts.
Do you ever want to jump in the car and get out and race yourself?
You never know if one day you will have a surprise in our line up!
What’s the key to Romeo Ferraris’ success?
I will probably sound repetitive, but people are the secret. When someone comes to work for us, we welcome everyone as a member of our family. The atmosphere is the key, together with competence, know-how and passion, the strongest I’ve ever felt in my motorsport experience, and believe me, I don’t say that because I’m the Team Principal. Our cause becomes their cause, in our team they find a place where you can breathe the true love for this sport, which is sometimes lost anywhere else, where you can scream if you win and scream if you lose, all together.
What’s the development plan for the future – how can Romeo Ferraris continue to take the fight to the bigger teams?
Very hard to say, our survival inside the series will depend on the evolution of the FIA ETCR concept. I’m not scared by the technical competence, but as long as we are not supported by any official manufacturer, I’m afraid the economical conditions could become prohibitive for us. But we go on working from all sides as hard as we can to be always protagonists in the series.