Winning multiple titles in his still youthful career, Gianluca Petecof has already enjoyed plenty of highs, but the Campos driver is as focused on learning from the lows as basking in the good times.
We spoke with the Brazilian, who picked out the three moments that made him
“I think that we all have these three important key moments,” said Petecof. “One of them is a moment of extreme happiness, the second moment is a really hard moment, it can be a sad moment, a frustrating moment, one where you learn and you grow. The third moment is a comeback moment, where you overcome something.
“I think that these experiences are there to teach you things. You can learn from losses, you can learn from success, and you can learn during difficult and less difficult moments. Ultimately, everything is there to teach you something.
“Each one of these moments has a special meaning to me.”
1. A FIRST NATIONAL TITLE
“The first moment fits into the extreme, pure happiness category. It is a moment from quite a while back in 2013, it was my third season racing karts and I had just won the Brazilian Championship in karting, in the junior category.
“As you grow older - I am still pretty young obviously, but you know what I mean - you learn about things a bit deeper and have different experiences, you can never have that kind of pure emotion like you have when you are eight, nine or 10-years-old.
“I was only 10-years-old at that moment and everything was still about having fun and enjoying myself. When I achieved that win, it was my first national achievement and it was something that I had been working towards for quite some time, so when I finally got that win, it was just pure happiness. I was so over the moon to have achieved it.”
2. THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF SPA 2019
“I tried really hard to think of a different moment, but I couldn’t and I feel that it is important to touch upon this topic, because it did affect me. It was a moment of sadness, a moment of realisation in a way - a moment that I just couldn’t believe. It was something that made me reflect a lot and ultimately grow a lot. I think everybody remembers where they were on the 31 August 2019.
“It was the Spa Formula 2 weekend. I was racing Formula 4 at the time and I was at a round in Imola. Just before our second race of the weekend on the Saturday, there was the F2 Feature Race and I saw what happened, but had to go straight into my race without much information on what was going on or what had happened after the crash. I did the race and finished on the podium somewhere, although I don’t remember where. All I could think about was knowing how the people involved in the crash at Spa were.
“I don’t tend to react too intensely when things like this happen normally, but when I found out the news about Anthoine (Hubert), I just broke down. I never actually met Anthoine personally, but I admired him. When you rise up the ranks, you look at the people who are ahead of you, people who have achieved the goals that you want to achieve, and he was one of these people.
“To see something like this happen to somebody you admire, a work colleague, a person with hopes and dreams, a person who was aiming for the same thing that I am aiming for, was truly difficult. Difficult for anybody and everybody involved. It is a moment that made me grow a lot, it made me realise that not everything is as big as it seems. I was destroyed for a few days and it took me a little while to recover from that.
“I truly leave my condolences once again and I just want to say that he is a true inspiration for everyone in the paddock.”
3. WINNING THE FORMULA REGIONAL EUROPEAN TITLE
“Like I mentioned, the final moment is a type of comeback. For me, this moment was winning the Formula Regional Championship last year. Last season was very difficult for a few different reasons. On the track, the competition was of a very high level, but it was also tough away from the track, both for financial reasons and for political reasons – which is a natural part of this sport.
“At one point during the season, there was a higher chance of me having to pack up everything and go home, than continuing on and doing the next round, due to financial difficulties. This was a year that really made me grow and helped me to appreciate every shot that I get. I put my head towards winning the title and tried to truly enjoy every opportunity and every moment.
“When I won the title, it meant a lot more to me than on a purely sporting view. It wasn’t just a championship win, it was more personal than that. I developed and became a much stronger character, much more mature. It was truly special, and it is the reason why I am able to compete in F2.”