Interview -- Filipe Albuquerque Epsilon's Redeemer He turns 22 on March 1st next. Not only is he determined and talented, but he is also the current leader of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the North European Cup, as well as being a member...
Interview -- Filipe Albuquerque
He turns 22 on March 1st next. Not only is he determined and talented, but he is also the current leader of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the North European Cup, as well as being a member of the Red Bull Junior Program. Filipe Albuquerque wants to bring home both titles for the Epsilon Euskadi Team in this year's World Series Formula Renault 3.5.
How have you been welcomed by the Team?
"I'm overwhelmed. The team is highly motivated and they really want the World Series Title back. In that respect, their motivation matches mine. Winter Testing gave me the opportunity to make some adjustments to the setup of the Formula Renault 3.5 car and to familiarize myself with the working schedule of a highly professional team such as Epsilon Euskadi."
The start of the Season is now not that far away with the first Joint Testing in Barcelona (March 14-15), where the teams will be expected to work hard and the 2007 drivers' desire to perform will come under close scrutiny.
"Yes, of course. The main task will be to show how competitive we are but I will also be doing a lot of pit-stop practice, as that is something which is new to me but which is of course extremely important."
Which are your expectations for your debut year in the category?
"Red Bull is expecting me to win. They do not consider me to be a rookie in the slightest! I'm determined to win and I'll do my best to ensure that the Epsilon Euskadi Team makes it back onto top spot."
Who do you see as a potential Title contender?
"I think that the Carlin boys, Vettel and Aleshin, (my two colleagues at Red Bull) are shaping up to be two of my most serious opponents. Comtec knows how to work with the cars and Draco is also a serious rival, especially after the announcement that Milos Pavlovic is to drive for them."
How did the Portuguese fans and media react to the news of your two championship achievements and your next challenge, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5?
"I received a lot of phone calls and had I had to spend a lot of time with the media. The Eurocup is now one of the most competitive championships there is, besides karting, and it is like winning a European Championship. More recently, the announcement that I will take part in the World Series means that people's expectations are now higher than ever. It's really sad to hear we will not be racing in Estoril but I know than sooner or later it we'll be there..."
Since you were a teenager, you have always competed in several championships at once. Now with just one single program ahead of you, will that leave you with more time to yourself? What do you like to do in your free time?
"I haven't thought about it like that yet -- I guess I will have more time to spend with my friends and my family, but in any case I follow a very strict fitness plan which means I spend hours and hours in the gym. I have to be ready to jump in any kind of car, of any size or power, at any time."
Does that mean we may soon see you driving one of the Red Bull Formula One cars somewhere?
"Why not?! Another frontrunner from the Eurocup and GP2 driver, Michael Ammermuller, was called in for a test and now he has got the job!"