Robert Visoiu is still only 17, yet is racing competitively in the GP3 and Auto GP World Series in 2013, all that whilst still being at school. He took some time out of his extremely busy schedule to answer some of my questions!
Paul Hensby: You’ve been racing in both the GP3 and Auto GP series’ this year. How different are the two cars to drive, and what do you have to do differently in each?
Robert Visoiu: The two cars are really different: from the position of the driver to the aerodynamics and the engine power. More, the tires are from different parts of the Universe also, so driving the two cars is really exciting and demanding. Adapting to each track with the two cars is really something which keeps me focused at all times. It’s really fun!
PH: Romania has never had a driver race in Formula 1 before, Is F1 your ultimate aim / goal?
RV: I think every kid in karting dreams of becoming a Formula 1 star, so yes… it’s really the ultimate aim for me also. As time goes by and you come closer to F1 by racing in the support series’, you really get to smell the success and you want to be part of it. This is what drives me and what gives me strength, because it’s a difficult path and I know I have to work very hard to get there.
PH: What made you want to be a racing driver, especially at such a young age? Do you remember the time when you made the conscious decision to race cars fast?
RV: I’ve been racing karts since I was only 4, so I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a racing driver. I grew up with the dream and when I made the switch to single-seaters I was really determined to be as fast as possible and today I have the same determination.
PH: What was it like to break your GP3 duck and win in Valencia, and then follow it up a few races later with the Hungary win?
RV: I was so close last year when I finished second in Barcelona that I said to myself that this must be the season to start winning and I’m very glad I was right, especially since the new GP3 is a huge step up compared to the old car: you have more power and very, very experienced and fast drivers to compete with. It felt amazing!
PH: You’ve got two Red Bull backed drivers alongside you in GP3 in MW Arden in the form of Carlos Sainz Jr & Daniil Kvyat, how does it feel to have won twice and be competitive this year alongside two highly rated drivers?
RV: MW Arden really has a very good line-up this season. I knew before the start of the season that both Daniil and Carlos are very fast drivers and that this season was going to be great! It felt really good to be able to be the first one of the group to win and to do it twice was a huge bonus, but I know I still have lots of things to learn and that both of my colleagues are really, really fast.
PH: What’s the atmosphere like within MW Arden with Sainz & Kvyat? Do you all get along, share information and the like?
RV: We have a great relationship. We immediately understood that it’s important to have a good working relationship and that by pushing each other we could all evolve. It’s really a positive atmosphere and we make the most of it. They are really cool guys also, and we respect each other both on and off track.
PH: At the same time, you were the lone driver for the first few rounds of Auto GP, how much has gaining Kevin Giovesi as a teammate helped you and the team?
RV: Kevin is a really fast driver and he immediately became one of the front runners in Auto GP. His presence is a big plus, as we understand each other very well and the team profits from this. Team Ghinzani Arco is at its first season in Auto GP, but they are real professionals and this makes a huge difference on the long run.
PH: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
RV: I think the first thing that comes to mind are the two wins in this season’s GP3 Series, but actually I think the highlight would be the fact that I am always learning and I am always evolving. I’m happy with my learning curve and I think on the long run this is the most important thing for me.
PH: Who’s been your fiercest rival on track so far in your career?
RV: I’ve had some great battles in karting with really fast drivers like Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, but if it comes to cars I will always remember the fights I had in the Formula Abarth with my team mates from Jenzer Motorsport: Patrick Niederhauser and Sergey Sirotkin. It’s been really fun to race against them and to battle it out sometimes, but it’s not really a rivalry as we all respect each other and understand that this is the way to get better and better. We’re all friends when the flag drops.
PH: What’s the best track you’ve ever raced on, and on the flip side, what’s the worst?
RV: I don’t think I could say if a track is good or bad, but I could say there are tracks which I like more than others. I will always be attached to Valencia and the Hungaroring after wining there, but I also like Barcelona a lot. This season I’ve raced on the Donington Park track and I was really captured by its design and history.
PH: Are there any tracks you’d like to race on one day, maybe Le Mans or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
RV: Sure, I love the old tracks with a lot of history behind them and Le Mans and Indianapolis are really high on the list. Laguna Seca is also a “must have”, as well as Paul Ricard.
PH: What do you do to relax in between races? How can you relax with so many races on your schedule?!
RV: Racing is a way of life, so you don’t really get “time off” from it. To be honest, I don’t really want to escape racing so I am always doing some simulator training or other forms of preparations. I play tennis and I like to swim. When I’m home I try to go out with my friends as often as I can, but between training and school there’s not to much time for anything else.
PH: What would be your ideal plans for 2014? Would you concentrate on one series or continue in two again?
RV: We have a pretty good idea about what we need to do in 2014. First of all I need to get better in some aspects in which I know I still have to learn. The goal is to always be faster and more constant and for this I think it’s crucial to have a good strategy from start on. I can’t tell you just yet what the plan for 2014 is, but I’d like to have a go in more powerful cars during the winter, to test things out a bit…
PH: Thank you for taking the time to look & respond to my questions! Good luck for the rest of the season and beyond!
RV: Thank you for your really interesting questions. I wish you good luck with your website!
Many thanks for Robert Visoiu for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions. Also thanks to Horia Totu, his Public Relations specialist for forwarding the questions to Robert and the answers back to me!
Robert Visoiu currently drives for MW Arden in the GP3 Series and for Team Ghinzani Arco in Auto GP World Series. I wish him luck for the rest of the season, and hope to see his career develop over the next few years!