Fittipaldi says winning MRF Challenge title a "good boost"
Pietro Fittipaldi says winning the MRF Challenge title is a good boost ahead of his debut Formula 3.5 V8 season.
The Brazilian came into the India-based international winter series after a patchy European F3 season in which he finished 16th overall in his rookie year.
The 19-year-old then took the MRF Challenge title, taking four race wins, nine podiums and racking up 244 points, 45 clear of second-placed Tatiana Calderon.
"It was good that after all the hard work I was able to win a championship," Fittipaldi told Motorsport.com.
"I won four races and then it was good to finish off the championship with two wins in the four races in Chennai. It's a good boost for my coming World Series season.
"I was confident going in the championship. We had a good weekend in Abu Dhabi, I won a race over there, so I was confident that we can win - but you can never be too confident.
"There are other competitors there as well, so you have to finish all the races, which is important to win a championship," he added.
"My mentality is always to go for the win and that's what I was trying to do every weekend."
With a lot of unknowns coming into the MRF Challenge, Fittipaldi said the practice session in Abu Dhabi was crucial to understanding the Formula 2000 cars.
"There was limited practice in the first weekend, we only had two 40-minute practice sessions and so, the first thing we do as a driver is to get in the car, make sure the seat position, the belt position, everything's perfect and study the track as much as possible.
"Even if you have to get videos from F1 onboards, we try to adapt to the car as much as possible, to get everything in," he continued.
"Basically, I was trying to learn as much as possible in the practice sessions in Abu Dhabi, so I could go and deliver in qualifying which matters."
MRF Challenge a great championship
When asked about the series, the Brazilian put it as the best winter championship for drivers to prepare for their competitive season.
"I think it is a really good championship, I mean it races on great F1 circuits like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and old school tracks like Chennai, so I rate the championship really highly," he said.
"There's two big winter championships, MRF and TRS [Toyota Racing Series] and I think the MRF wins."
Fittipaldi named his maiden pole of the championship as his most memorable moment of the season.
"Getting the pole position in Chennai was pretty cool because I was first at one point and then I saw my lap board on the next lap and I went back to second.
"They put my fastest lap time on my pit board which said, that it was the same time that the quickest guy did and I was like this must be really close.
"I had a minute left in qualifying, so I pushed the last lap, I did the same exact time again but just a little bit quicker and I was able to get pole position, so I was really happy about it."
Overall, the Brazilian was happy to drive against a competitive field comprised of both experienced and young drivers.
"The field was competitive with experienced drivers - you always want to have competition and it was really good," he said.
"After the championship, we all became good friends because it was four weekends, going to new countries that none of us really knew. So, it was a good experience for all of us."
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