Ricard Ferrando (MDC Racing Coach): " We must empathize with the driver and understand him and the kart."

Columns: Interview
We spoke with Ricard Ferrando, who puts his experience as a pilot and his knowledge in data acquisition at the service of the official Birel Art Spain team to achieve the best results.

Hi Ricard, we've seen that the number of karting teams that include a coach in their ranks is increasing; what advantage do you think they have over those that do not have one?
I think it's advantageous to have a person outside the mechanic and team manager who brings their experience and vision to help the driver improve every round. Having that person is an added value, and we must value that figure! He is a person who stands by the pilot, who offers his experience and understands what the pilot is saying, and vice versa. Creating a bond with him is very important.

What qualities should a coach have, or what qualities do you think you have in yourself?
I get along very well with kids, I understand them, and I can also interpret what they tell me about how the kart works. The fact that I have been a pilot is a determining factor. Knowing everything related to data acquisition is also essential, a unique tool, but you have to empathize with the pilot and understand him and the kart. Listening is vital because it can provide many clues. You must like the technical experience and the relationship with children if you want to work with them.

Harmony and complicity are decisive in the atmosphere between the coach, pilot, and the team. Is that so in your case, MDC Racing, where the working atmosphere looks pretty positive?
Absolutely. MDC is a family; we are all together and united. For example, when one mechanic has a problem, one glance is enough to convince another to help. There is a good atmosphere in the tent, and they show up at the beginning of the day with a smile on their faces.

Is this one of the keys to getting results?
Yes, all the team members know what they have to do. Oriol has a passion for karting and having fun, but he also has been a pilot, knows the equipment very well, and knows what he has to do to make it work and how to work to get the best. As we did, it is also crucial to have direct support from the factory.

What are, generally speaking, your tasks on a race weekend?
At the end of each heat, I download each pilot's data and analyze it, then I talk to the pilot and ask them to explain how the kart is behaving, or the problems they are encountering, then compare it with the telemetry tells us. All this, together with observing the pilot on the track and what the mechanics tell us, gives us the information we need to find the proper setup.

Lastly, more and more people are claiming to be coaches. However, they do not always have the necessary qualities, and some of your colleagues, such as Pedro Ivars, believe it would require to regulate you in some way with a license. What is your opinion?
Although it's complicated to answer this question, I consider Pedro Ivars a benchmark, and I agree with him; I think it should be regulated and professionalized. It is not usual nowadays for a 16-year-old boy to come into the track as a coach; his priority is to do laps and have fun! No, it's about something else; it's about teaching values, teaching your experience and learning on the track, yes, and then everything you did on the way, talk about it and explain why it all happened.

Created by: ciuccigiulianimarta - 14/09/22

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