Your father was a Formula 1 driver and you yearn to follow in his footsteps. There’s no shying away and certainly no room for error. This is your dream now, and there are a lot of eyes watching, waiting, for you to perform. Race. Win. It’s tough, and no one knows this better than Louis Delétraz, son of Swiss racing Driver Jean-Denis Delétraz. But this is his story now and the pages are quickly being filled with podiums, victories and championship titles.
Louis has climbed the ranks, rapidly, to now gracing some of Europe’s most prestigious race tracks in the Formula V8 3.5 series, driving for Fortec Motorsports.
“The Formula V8 3.5 (ex WSR 3.5) is an amazing series. It is one of the closest actual categories to F1,” Louis explained. “The cars are as quick as the back of the grid in F1. The teams are really professional and the level of drivers is very high.
“We’re working like they do in F1 and it’s good preparation for my future.”
His drive in the highly competitive series was cemented after successful previous seasons in the Formula Renault 2.0 championship, of which he stood on the top step of the podium a total of twelve times in 2015.
“Last year was a really successful year. I became NEC Formula Renault 2.0 Champion and finished Vice-Champion of the Formula Renault Eurocup,” Louis said, still smiling from the memories.
“Overall I had 12 victories and 17 pole-positions, something which I am so proud of. I worked hard for my results.”
As a result of a formidable campaign in the previous season, Louis joined the Renault Sport Academy February this year, taking the next steps to achieve his dreams.
“I’ve been close to Renault for a long time as I raced in Formula Renault 2.0 for three years. Renault are close to my heart, as it were.
“I’m incredibly happy that I’ve joined the Renault Sport Academy because we’ve seen in the past with Alain Prost, René Arnoux and others, that Renault makes great young drivers become World Champions.
“The Renault Sport Academy involves all sorts of training a racing driver needs, especially on the physical and the mental side of things. We are also integrated in the F1 team and there is so much to learn. It is very impressive to see how many people are behind the scene working day and night to achieve the objective of bringing Renault Sport back to the top of the points.”
With this news, the young driver has a spring in his stride – and rightly so; his future looks bright. With his father, once a Formula 1 and Le Mans 24 Hours driver, it isn’t a surprise that Louis has his eyes set firmly on the pinnacle of Motorsport.
“F1 is the ultimate goal. I have been dreaming of this since a small child and I will do everything possible to make this dream become a reality.
“I’m very close to my family and, in particular, my father. We work together and it has always worked great up until this point in my career, so there is no reason why it won’t also work in the future. He comes to the races as a father and to spectate, but if I have any doubt or problems we will speak about it and try to find a solution. His experience has helped me a lot already to become the driver I am today.”
With the curtain ready to draw on the 2016 season, Louis can hold his head high. With three rounds left, Delétraz is sitting pretty in second position, with the potential to clasp the championship title.
“It’s my first year in Formula V8 3.5 and it’s a big step from Formula Renault 2.0. I’m really happy with how the season is panning out so far,” Louis said. “We’ve been competitive and fighting for wins since the first race against much more experienced drivers. The top 5 is extremely competitive which make the fight for the title interesting.
“I might only be a “rookie” but my objective is to win the championship. I’ve been working really hard over winter and during the season to achieve it. Nonetheless, there are still three rounds left and we are ready to fight for victory!”
Like any rising star, Louis has his role models in this formidable sport.
“Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean are definitely the most skilled, and quickest, on the current Formula 1 grid. I admire their hard work and determination – it’s something a driver should be. They don’t give up until the checkered flag is out and that is what the fans and team likes to see.”
However, aiming for the top isn’t always fun and games. In 2015 Louis combined two racing series, which made travel even more extensive. In 2016, it is very much the same scenario with the V8 3.8 calendar spanning across all four corners of Europe. Luckily for Louis, he is a fan of exploring a different country nearly each week.
“I really enjoy travelling. It’s one of the best parts of being a racing driver, actually. We’re lucky enough to race in amazing countries and I love discovering new regions and new cultures. It is definitely a perk of the job!”
In terms of picking a highlight of his career thus far, Louis has many moments in contention for the top-spot.
“It’s hard to choose the best moment of my career to date. But, I would say when I became Formula Renault NEC Champion with Josef Kaufmann…yeah, that was a fantastic moment. Racing on a rainy day in Hockenheim and claiming victory will stick with me for a long time.
“I would also pick my first 2016 race in Aragon with Fortec. I won on my Formula V8 debut. I was really pleased as it was only the 2nd time in the history that a rookie has won their first race.
“The first one was Stoffel Vandoorne and, if I am as successful as him in the future, then I will be a very happy man.”
You can keep up to date with Louis’ progress here- https://twitter.com/LouisDeletraz
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