Recently crankandpiston was invited to/found a gap in the fence at, the Yas Marina Circuit for some on-track seat time with the Ferrari California. Yep, pictures and swooning to follow.
Even though we were prepared for some tyre-squealing hot laps with our illustrious instructors, we did not expect one of them to be current-Ferrari Formula One test driver Marc Gené.
Espying a gap in the human traffic, crankandpiston pounced for a few words with Seňor Gené about his F1 and GT career.
Marc, you competed in Formula One for two years with Minardi (1999-2000) only for a certain Fernando Alonso to make his debut with the team the following year. How does it feel to be team-mates now at Ferrari?
“Funny, isn’t it? I won the World Series by Nissan Championship in 1998, he won it the year after. I raced for Minardi for two years, he raced for them the year after. He seems to be following in my steps very closely!
“I obviously try my best to help him any way I can. He’s an incredible driver, and I’m proud to work with him. Honestly, nobody in Spain expected there would be a double Formula One World Champion.
“It’s a shame he didn’t win the title [in 2010] because I think he deserved it, but it’s great fun working with him. I like speaking Italian with the guys, but it’s nice to have someone to speak Spanish with.”
He’s not the first World Champion you’ve worked with though…
“No, actually I’ve worked with a lot of them. I’ve been team-mates with Jacques [Villeneuve], Michael [Schumacher], Kimi [Raikkonen] and now Fernando. All of them were special. But Fernando’s extremely talented.”
Do you consider Formula One unfinished business?
“You never know what the future may hold, but it’s extremely difficult. First of all I’m very happy to be with Ferrari, and I’ve raced at the 24Hrs of Le Mans up until this year [following Peugeot’s eleventh-hour exit] and I hope to come back next year. I’ll be honest though, I wouldn’t want to leave Ferrari to race for any cost. It’s too much of a family…I’m very happy here.
“And I’m happy enough with my time in Formula One. Okay, my best result ever will be winning Le Mans [in 2009], but I have good memories of F1. I finished sixth with Minardi [Nurburgring ‘99] and took fifth with Williams [Spa, ‘03], and they’re good memories. I don’t feel there’s anything else I need to prove.”