Clivio Piccione: Racing in Monaco 1. Are you looking forward to your home race in Monaco? I can't wait to get out on the track in front of my home crowd. I'm lucky as some drivers never get the opportunity to race at home, and I will ...
Clivio Piccione: Racing in Monaco
1. Are you looking forward to your home race in Monaco?
I can't wait to get out on the track in front of my home crowd. I'm lucky as some drivers never get the opportunity to race at home, and I will get to do it at one of the most exciting race weekends in motorsport! All my family and friends are coming along to support me so it's a very important weekend for everyone. In a way, it's a shame there's only one GP2 race, but I'm going to make the best of it and I'm hoping to lift the winner's trophy for the Principality next weekend!
2. Have you raced on the circuit before?
Yes, once last year in the Porsche Supercup. It's a very special circuit, first of all because it's a very demanding and challenging street track. Secondly because it's Monaco, the country where I was born so I've grown up surrounded by the history and the significance of the Grand Prix.
3. What sort of challenges does the Monaco circuit present?
Monaco really is the ultimate challenge for a racing driver as there's no room for mistakes. With no run-off area, you have to be millimetre perfect - an inch too late or an inch too wide and you'll end up in the barriers, so you have to concentrate 100% of the time. It's extremely demanding and as a result, you get tired quickly. In the normal way, the GP2 car is also quite physically challenging so it will be even harder in Monaco - unlike F1, we don't have traction control so it should make things more entertaining!
4. When you drive around the circuit in your daily life, are you always thinking about the racing line?
Every time I come to a corner, I have an idea in my head pretty much what I should be doing but normally there are too many cars or policemen on the roads for me to actually take the racing line! Seriously though, I know the streets of Monaco very well as I drive on them almost every day in a road car. I know where every turn is, how steep each section is and the surface of the road. But it's a totally different ball game when it comes to racing in a single-seater so I don't think I have much of advantage over anyone else on the GP2 grid.
5. You have the support of a very distinguished patron in Monaco. How does it feel to have H.S.H Prince Albert as a fan?
For sure, H.S.H Prince Albert is a very important figure here in Monaco and everyone has a great amount of respect for him. He loves sport and has competed himself at the highest level so he knows first-hand the pressures of being a sportsman. From the day I first started racing, Prince Albert II has always been behind me and I am extremely grateful and pleased to have his unique support. He really wants to see me get to Formula 1 which is incredibly encouraging.
6. With the recent passing away of Prince Rainier, does this Monaco race have particular significance for you?
The Grand Prix weekend this year will be very different as we are all still in mourning for Prince Rainier here in the Principality. I will be racing with a black nosecone as a mark of respect and although I am very excited about racing, my heart still goes out to such a great man. It gives me more of an incentive to do well during the race and support my country.
7. Many racing drivers move to Monaco but none can say they were born on the circuit. How important is that for you?
I guess it makes me unique in one way as I haven't moved down here for financial reasons or the many other advantages Monaco has to offer. I was born just behind the start/finish straight and the Piccione family has been in Monaco for a long time since my great-grandfather first settled here. Who know, maybe one day they will even name a street after us, if my career goes to plan!
8. Do you ever get a chance to catch up with other racing drivers who live in Monaco?
I know several of the Formula 1 drivers who live here but because of our hectic schedules, we're more likely to meet up at a race track than at home. Saying that, I've been out running with Alex Wurz several times as he's based over here and also mountain biking with Mark Webber when he was over training with my fitness instructor, Bernie Shrosbree.
9. What facilities are there available here in Monaco for fitness training?
Monaco is probably one of the best places in the world to train. We're right on the sea and so close to the mountains so when the weather's good, which it normally is, you can pretty much do what you want any time of year. I try to put in two training sessions every day in the morning and afternoon. There's so much to do down here, we're able to change the training programme each day so I regularly alternate between gymwork, running, swimming, biking, canoeing, rowing, hiking and climbing. It's fantastic as it's hard to get bored down here! I also try and fit in some sunbathing somewhere in-between.
10. What are your goals and expectations for 2005?
My main aim for this year is to finish as high as possible in the GP2 Championship and win as many races as I can. I want to prove myself as a driver and show the right people that I'm ready for the next step up to Formula One.