Raffaele Marciello – or ‘Lello’ as most of us know him as- is no stranger to success. The 21- year-old driver has an impressive racing CV from GP2 race podiums to FIA F3 championship wins. Oh, and his favourite food is pasta (which may not come as much of a surprise considering he was raised in Italy).
Now in his third season of Formula 1’s official support series, GP2, Marciello is currently sitting 4th in the driver championship standings, with just 7 points separating him and leader Oliver Rowland.
‘This year the level is really high, so it will be important to keep scoring points, and improve our speed . Then we can fight for something important!’ Lello said. ‘Last year was difficult; I wasn’t happy with the car and we were slower than we wanted to be.
This season I came back thinking that I can’t change the past, so I have to keep looking forward.”
Regardless of a bit of a shaky season last year with Trident Racing, Lello still finished 7th in the overall standings and scored a drive with Russian Time for 2016.
Having climbed through the F3 ranks, Marciello is not afraid to express the importance of the series and its aid in getting him to where he is today.
“My career highlight so far is definitely the season where I won the F3 championship. I had a big help from Prema Racing,’ Lello explained, ‘because my car was amazing! This meant my driving style suited F3 really well.
“I still think that F3 is really similar to Formula 1 when comparing driving style, so it is the best category for young drivers to learn and gain experience in.”
Sharing the stage with the pinnacle of Motorsport can often be the making, or breaking, of a driver. Many of the GP2 competitors express the pressure they feel, but not Lello.
“There isn’t any pressure!” he asserted. “It’s just in GP2 the difference between being fast and slow is really small… so it is quite hard to go fast and manage well the tyres. And the car setup massively important.”
Perhaps Marciello’s greatest race to date was back in 2o14, racing for Racing Engineering where he claimed victory at Spa in the Feature Race.
“When it is wet, I always feel confident,” Raffaele explained. “So when I woke up and saw that it was raining, I was sure I was going to have a good race.
“I had a nice fight with Stoffel (Vandoorne) and my car was fantastic. I was able to drive the way I wanted and I won- I was really happy.'”
Marciello has also tried his hand at driving the ultimate single-seater machines. In 2014 he tested at Yas Marina Circuit for Ferrari, and held the position of Sauber F1 test and reserve driver the following year, too taking to the tarmac during the 2015 Formula 1 season.
“When I drove the Ferarri F14 T, it was amazing. The difference between GP2 and this was quite huge, especially with downforce and power.
“With Sauber, the main difference was only power…let’s just say you can feel a big difference between the two F1 cars!”
When it came to speaking about the future, Lello said: “for sure, Formula 1 is always my dream. However, it is more a topic of business rather than racing. I look up to Robert Kubica, he is an amazing guy and for me, he is also one of the fastest.
“I would like to go into Indy if F1 should not be possible. Indy is incredibly good- the car is fast, the tracks are good and you are incredibly close to the fans. It is perfect.”
Quickfire with Marciello…
Italy or Switzerland? Italy, definitely!
Pizza or pasta? Pasta.
Favourite music artist? Italian rap- Gemitaiz is my favourite.
Shower or bath? Shower!
Rosberg or Hamilton? Hmm, Rosberg…
Lello has a lot of support behind him, even if his favourite saying is suca...I will let you find out the translation of that one!
www.twitter.com/Real_RMarciello – www.instagram.com/real_rmarciello – http://www.raffaelemarciello.com/