Griffitz DurangoThey won the debut race of the 2011 season, with a dominating performance by Giovanni Venturini in Monza, and then they confirmed their competitiveness thanks to the Italian youngster clinching another podium finish in Budapest: in Brno, then, Giuseppe Cipriani grabbed the first points of his season, crowning an impressive progression. Griffitz Durango had a really positive season start, and the team now wants to add another success to their roster in Donington, as team principal Ivone Pinton explains:

“We’re really happy about this first half of the season, because it confirms that we made some good choices in our 2011 planning. When it was time to define our line-up some people were pushing for an experienced driver, one to the likes of Filippi just to make an example; one of the reasons for that, a good one to be honest, was that with such a choice winning a good amount of prize money would have been very likely. Anyway I chose a different way, deciding for a youngster as Giovanni Venturini. I did that because I deeply believe in his talent, and I see a great future for him. I was right, and I also think that his commitment with us in Auto GP, as it was announced very early, was a factor in the choice by other young drivers to join the Championship. The outcome was that three rookies, Giovanni, Ceccon and Buttarelli, already managed to win a race, something that makes Auto GP the best Series for a young gun nowadays.”

Venturini made a strong debut in Monza but in Brno he had a strange weekend, a double zero that allowed Filippi and Ceccon to build a gap. Are you worried in any way?

“No, we’re not. A bad weekend is something that usually hits every driver during the season, so when we will come to the final showdown thing should get balanced. Furthermore, if we look at our speed we have nothing to be worried about. Giovanni is the same amazing racer that won in Monza with a staggering performance, we’re sure about that. In Budapest he was coming from a bad flu, so he was in poor shape from a physical point of view: despite this he got on the podium, and even if at the end of Race 1 he was really tired, this wasn’t enough to stop him. Brno was a different story: Giovanni is facing his final High School exams, and we believe that this took away some focus from him. From our side we weren’t as good as usual in giving him the car he likes, and this was the reason for a performance below our expectations. Anyway Donington will be a different story: we’re ready and his exams are over, so driver and team will be in top shape.”

Giuseppe Cipriani is the other face of your team. A gentleman driver is a bit unusual in single-seater racing, but his improvements from the start of the season were really impressive?

“Our program with Giuseppe started in 2010, when he did with us the last race of the Auto GP season. He liked the car a lot and immediately decided to be back for a full 2011 campaign, so we had the time to prepare the best possible plan for it. For us it’s a way of bringing our friendship on track, but there’s a lot more than that.

We worked well, with some goog pre-season testing, and Giuseppe from his side is really committed. He is fighting with very young drivers, people who are doing this as their main profession and have F1 as their final aim, but despite this he never looks for excuses: he is unforgiving with himself if he isn’t as quick as he would like to, and then he starts working even harder to get a better result. The outcome is an impressive improvement that led him to his first point finish at just the third event of the season, and he also got very close to the Race 2 pole on some occasions, something that he will surely get before the end of the year.

This is even more impressive if you bear in mind that often during our race weekends Cipriani keeps managing his companies. Once he gets out of the car and he completes the technical briefing he then has to switch his mind to “business mode” to prepare contracts and speak with people from all around the world. That’s why I think that there’s much more to come from him. My dream would be having him with us also in 2012, because with a full season under his belt I’m sure he will be able to challenge for some race wins.”

Donington is just one week ahead, what’s your aim?
“We have some sweet memories from Donington: in 1994 we made a one-two finish in F3000 with Pescatori and Peter, so we like the track. We have what it takes to hit the big target with Venturini, while we expect Cipriani to keep improving as he did until now.”