The Intrepid guys who made it to F1

Columns: From Kart to F1
As many as 4 of the drivers on the current F1 World grid have raced for Intrepid: Verstappen, Russell, Leclerc and Albon. We talked about it with the founder of Intrepid Driver Program, on a scrapbook full of memories. (fm)

MAX VERSTAPPEN
«Max I believe is the most naturally talented driver I’ve ever seen. He has always put into practice with absolute ease, any notes inherent in driving, and from the way he sat inside the kart you could sense a natural talent right away. I remember that at his first race with Intrepid he made his debut in the KF2 category at the Winter Cup in Lonato. Of course, there were many already established drivers, but Max particularly impressed me that day.  Before final 1 and final 2, Max was starting in 3rd position, and with the team we were trying to find a solution to facilitate his race performance for the finals; but at one point, Max told me not to touch anything on the kart and reassured me that he had managed to understand where he needed to modify his driving, that it was not a setup problem, telling me that he’d win the race. Obviously, he won final 1 and final 2, easily demonstrating with awareness how much he was able to dominate, already in his first debut race in KF2. I think that on Max we can ascertain that the talent he has shown from his very beginnings in karting to this day is established, as demonstrated by the results he has obtained in recent years in F1.»

GEORGE RUSSELL
«I remember George as a very diligent driver. A boy who learned, assimilated quickly, and put things into practice. He was a very meticulous and precise driver. He came to Intrepid in 2011, giving off the impression of being a modest driver. Subsequently, however, during his first year in Intrepid, after working very consistently and hard, he managed to demonstrate his talent by winning a European title in KF3 in addition to numerous other victories, confirming a second European Championship victory the following year. I have a special memory of George when he first came to the company to sign the contract: he was 11 years old and showed up dressed in a suit and tie like an adult, despite his very young age. He told me that he wanted to win as many races as possible and that he already had great results in mind.»

CHARLES LECLERC
«I would define Charles as an extremely intelligent driver in creating opportunities for himself and especially in handling disadvantageous situations. He had been invited along with other drivers to an Intrepid karting selection at the Lonato track, and I noticed him immediately, as he had managed to demonstrate great qualities, both technically and mentally, with a strong aptitude for teamwork with the team. Subsequent to that test, he was strongly wanted by Intrepid, and thus negotiations began with Nicolas Todt, (still his manager), achieving with him the most prestigious objective of the time: the CIK FIA World Cup in 2011 at the Sarno circuit. Character-wise, I remember Charles as someone who spoke very little and stored data, being able to put things into practice rather quickly, and these great qualities of his are more than ever evident in F1 today.»

ALEXANDER ALBON
«Alex joined the Intrepid team when he was already under Red Bull's supervision, in 2010. From the start, he affirmed that he wanted to achieve great goals, and in fact, he managed to win both the European Championship and the World Cup in the KF3 category in the same year. The thing that particularly impressed me was that he was very inventive in finding overtaking points but above all, he would not succumb to any kind of pressure in race conditions and he was always very lucid about any kind of decision to be made with the team. I am firmly convinced that with his perseverance he will surely find a way to put himself in the limelight in F1 with more prestigious results than he has achieved so far.»
 
In the end «..we should remember Jules Bianchi who sadly passed away too soon, had shown that he had all the credentials to be able to emerge at his best in F1. I would also like to remember with great pleasure Sébastien Buemi, the first driver of caliber in Intrepid. Also given the continuous recent results, he probably deserved to stay in F1.» added Mirko Sguerzoni.

Created by: fmarangon2 - 18/01/23

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