Santino Ferrucci happy to leave behind ‘tough’ and ‘cruel’ world of F1
Santino Ferrucci is looking forward to a full season of IndyCar racing in an environment that he says is a lot more forgiving than its European counterpart.
The 20-year-old had a tumultuous 2018, losing his Formula 2 race seat after a wild and bizarre weekend at Silverstone where he hit his team-mate's car after the chequered flag, subsequently failed to appear before stewards, and in a separate incident was caught driving his race car whilst using his mobile phone.
Although team owner Gene Haas and team principal Guenther Steiner initially concluded that Ferrucci would retain his role as Development driver for the Haas F1 team, the two parties quietly went their separate ways at the end of 2018.
This has left Ferrucci free to take up a full season opportunity with Dale Coyne Racing, with the American driver saying he is “happy for the opportunity”.
“It's a very difficult task to fit into (a Formula 1) grid,” Ferrucci told Indycar.com. “I honestly don't miss the European side of the sport very much. It's not a very great atmosphere.
“It's very tough, it's very cruel, it's very demanding. Coming back home here to America, where it's more of a family-run (sport), it's a lot nicer and everything that happens – a lot more forgiving.”
Those with opinions have variously said Ferrucci has a bad attitude, is arrogant, and still hasn’t accepted responsibility or apologised for those events at Silverstone.
“A lot of people still don't know who I am fully, still have a lot of opinions on me,” Ferrucci said. “Being able to have the opportunity to even come and race in IndyCar has been tremendous, especially from Dale.”
Whatever his past, his remarks about running the Indianapolis 500 paint the Woodbury, Connecticut native in a slightly different light, appearing honest and respectful in his assessment.
“I'm pretty nervous,” Ferrucci explained. “I've only had one other oval experience in my entire career and that was at Texas for my rookie evaluation last October. It's a different animal.
“For the Indy 500 to be my first oval race, you take everything that Seb (Bourdais, team-mate) tells you to heart. You listen to everything he says. You don't want to put a foot wrong because you want to earn the trust of the veterans, because if they don't want to race with you, you're out, more or less.
“If you listen, you have an opportunity to show that you are sane, that you can race, that you are smart and you are thinking… This way, you can at least have a shot and play with the big boys.”