Carlin has a brand-new line-up for 2023 and potentially one of the most exciting. Enzo Fittipaldi joins the British outfit for what will be his second FIA Formula 2 campaign alongside Zane Maloney, and the Brazilian has his expectations set high.
Building on what was a stellar rookie season in which he secured podium success and came close to a maiden victory, Fittipaldi says that his subsequent effort with Carlin is the perfect opportunity to fight at the front. Joining the team that finished a close second in the Teams’ Standings last year, there is plenty of opportunity to clinch a maiden victory in 2023 he believes.
“I'm extremely excited to be racing with Carlin, it's a great opportunity for me. Last year was an amazing year, fighting for podiums, had 16 top 10s, six podium finishes, that was just my rookie season. We were fighting for top three in the Championship up until the last round so it was a really good year last year. I'm looking forward to this year even more now for what will be my second season in Formula 2, racing with Carlin and being part of the Red Bull family, it’s just an amazing opportunity.”
Since the 2022 finale at Yas Marina, Fittipaldi has been keeping busy with preparations for the 2023 season. The 21-year-old says he has dedicated himself to building up fitness and mental fortitude more than ever before.
His plans in the winter are also more straightforward this time around compared to last year. Fittipaldi of course had to recover from injuries sustained during his crash at Jeddah in 2021, an incident that he says cost him performance well into the ’22 campaign as he built back up to full fitness.
Without any setbacks holding his preparation back, the Carlin driver says his training programme has never been so extensive ahead of a new season, with a programme in the United States followed by a Red Bull boot camp ahead of testing.
“I've been preparing a lot for this season, I've never trained as much as I'm training now. I'm training about five to six hours each day, just not only physical, but mental as well, and just trying to get myself as ready as possible for the 2023 season.
“The past two months, I was at home in North Carolina, so ever since Abu Dhabi, I’ve been back home and training at a facility called PitFit, where they train a lot of IndyCar and NASCAR drivers. I've been doing a lot of my physical preparation with them and some mental stuff. Also, I have been doing a lot of karting days with my brother in the shifter kart. Obviously, the best preparation would be to go on a track and drive with the F2 car, but that's not allowed.
“You have to do everything you can at home, drive on the simulator, train physically, train your neck so that when you do arrive at the official test days in Bahrain, you're as ready as possible, because it will be a long period since the last time in Abu Dhabi. You have to be on it because you only have three days of testing and it's straight into the race weekend.
“We have a training camp at Red Bull to go as well. We'll be doing the training camp by Red Bull at the end of January. I’m also going to the team in Milton Keynes on the 27th for a presentation day, I'm really looking forward to that. It's an amazing opportunity. A dream of mine has always been to be part of the Red Bull. They’re the best Formula 1 team there is.”
Getting to know the Carlin team has been an easy process so far, and Fittipaldi was very enthused following post-season testing in Abu Dhabi. He says the team showed it had good speed across the board, boosting his expectations at the early stage. The three-day test left him with a good feeling ahead of the new year and says that the chemistry has already taken a positive step.
He will be at Carlin’s base for the first time on Monday as the team’s preparations continue for pre-season in Sakhir, Bahrain. Its newest driver says the team has a solid foundation from which to build from.
“It's been great. I really like the team atmosphere, everyone works very well together. The engineers, the mechanics, everyone was very welcoming at the test and it was an amazing test. We had really good performance, both in terms of race runs and Qualifying pace. So it's all been very positive and I’m very confident I'm in the right place.
“I had an amazing season last year and it was really good. But, like I said, it's an amazing feeling but at the same time, it's another step forward in my career. It's a big step forward but now the work is harder than ever, the hunger is bigger than ever.
“My dream is one day to race in Formula 1, and currently racing in Formula 2, I’m one step away from the pinnacle of motorsports. I'm working as hard as I have ever been and getting ready for this season. I think the goal for this year is to be spraying champagne at every race. Absolutely that’s my goal and I’m going to do whatever I can from my side to make that happen.”