Di Francesca Zito
We had the chance to have a talk with Matias Zagazeta, a FRECA driver racing for G4 Racing this year. He comes from Peru but currently lives in Barcelona and he previously raced in British F4. Let’s get to know him better!
What has been your favorite race so far and why?
Spa was definitely exciting, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s an incredible track with so much history and the track itself is really fun for racing: there’s a lot of overtaking, there’s so much going on so I think it’s been one of my favorite races. I also enjoyed Imola: race 2 there was very cool because it was dry, but it started to rain and then it was dry again, so I was really uncertain of what was going to happen, that’s why I enjoyed that race as well.
You come from Peru but you race in Europe: how does it feel to stay far from home for such a long time?
It’s difficult of course. Now I’m back in Peru, but I usually live in Barcelona throughout the year because the team is based there. Being far away from home is definitely difficult: you miss the food, your family, your friends, you miss everything. It’s really hard also with the time difference as well but in the end I think I got used to it now. I have the team that’s there to support me all the time and my father and my mother also come to some of the races as well, so it’s good to see them quite a lot.
You’ve raced in British F4 as well: what’s the difference between this category and FRECA? What are the difficulties you have faced until now?
From F4 to FRECA it was definitely a big step: the engine and tyres are different, it was basically like changing everything. The tracks were also very different, but I guess adapting to the tracks was the easiest part of everything: you just go for a couple of laps and you get used to it. Being in a new and different team is difficult as well: every team has a different philosophy so it’s hard to adapt to it. It’s a big step in terms of power and you have to take care of the tyres as well because they drop off a lot. There’s also the push-to-pass now, something we new didn’t have in F4. This is more of an adaptation season: as a first season I think it’s good and then we’ll see what we can do next year.
How would you rate your season so far on a scale from 1 to 10?
I think a 7 would be good: up to now it’s not been the results we wanted but it’s been good progress every race weekend and I’m extremely happy with the progress I’m making with the team as well. It’s really challenging to not have many teammates: I just have one teammate, Axel (Gnos), but all the teams have 3 teammates that are pushing each other quite a lot. It’s also difficult for me to come to new tracks and in a new car: that’s a bit difficult but I’m still happy with the progress we’ve done. Now I’m really looking forward to the next three rounds: I’ll hopefully bring that score higher up. In Barcelona it will be really good: it’s the home team race and the track I’ve been the most to so I think we will have some good results there.
What do you think about a career in covered wheels?
I love motorsport, I love racing, so anything that has an engine and four wheels for me it’s amazing. The ultimate goal is to get to F1 or to any professional single seater, even LMP2 or the new categories such as Le Mans Hypercars. There are so many options in the motorsport world: GTs are also an interesting and fun option. My main goal is to become a professional driver in the future and to race in one of the top categories.
Many races of the FRECA calendar are in Italy: what do you like the most about this country?
I personally love Italy: I love the food, I love the people, I love the views, everything is just very cool. The food is delightful so I always enjoy good food when I go to Italy for the races. There are also incredible tracks such as Imola, Mugello and Monza, the three tracks we have in the calendar. I have no complaints about any of those tracks: they’re so amazing and so historical, so I enjoy going there a lot.
What’s your pre-race routine?
It’s usually just the basics: practicing your warmup, practicing some reactions and then I usually pray as well before getting into the car. Then I do some activations and then I’m ready to jump in the car. My mum also makes some rocks that are for good luck: I put them in my hand, I grab them and then I put them in the bag.
Favorite F1 driver and why?
I like all of the drivers and I have so much respect for everyone. In terms of favorite driver, it has to be George since we have the same management. In general I like all of the F1 drivers: everyone has a different personality, driving abilities, they all deserve to be there. It’s truly impressive what they do: thinking about driving an F1 car is incredible and to do it in such a professional way it’s awesome.
If you had the chance to drive an F1 car from the past, which car would you choose?
Senna’s McLaren would be enjoyable because he is probably my favorite driver of all time. Maybe I would also drive the Red Bull from 2010, it’s amazing.
How do you spend your free time off the track?
I usually spend time just with friends or family: I like to play football a lot so I try to make some time to play football with friends, of course trying not to get injured. I just like to go out and explore, I don’t really like sitting on the sofa all day long, I want to go out. If I’m in Barcelona I go out for a walk because the city is breathtaking. I walk around and meet new people and I also jump in the simulator even if it’s off racing.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still racing, it would be amazing to race in a professional way in 10 years and it would be a dream come true. I will be 28 so in racing it would be the last couple of years, so I will hopefully race in a really high professional level.
What’s your goal for the last three races of the year?
I’ll try to get points consistently till the end of the season: having 35 cars on the grid and only 10 scoring point is really hard. 0.6 second separate P1 from P25 so it’s quite competitive the championship this year. We hope to get some points for the last couple of rounds; in Barcelona we have good chance for hopefully a top 5 finish, so we’ll keep working for that.
Since you spend so much time with your team it became like a family for you: how much important is this while you’re far from home?
That’s the most important part of a season, to keep a good relationship with the team all the way until the end and with your teammate as well. Even though you compete against each other and of course you want to beat your teammate, they’re the people who help you developing the car, so it’s important for the team to keep a good relationship in the team and to be happy with everyone. This way everyone stays motivated to work more and I think that’s the most important part of everything. The team for me is like a family when I’m in Barcelona and my family is in Peru, so they’re the only ones who are basically there with me. Feeling close and intimate with them is the most important part for me.
Who is the driver you take as an inspiration?
Senna was one of my favorite driver growing up but I also like Fernando Alonso. My first helmet was painted with Alonso’s design and he was my favorite F1 driver when I was watching F1 on TV so the fact that he’s still racing on a really high level is crazy. I have so much respect for him. Lewis Hamilton is among my favorites as well: he marked all the history books so he deserves a lot of respect from everyone.
You live and race in Europe: which country do you like the most?
It’s between Italy and Spain: those two countries have to be my favorite ones. I live in Barcelona so I spend more time in Spain than in Italy, but if I had to go to Italy I would be more than happy.
Carbonara with cream: yes or no?
I usually have it with no cream, so I never have cream with carbonara.
Interview made by Camilla Coletta and Francesca Zito. For the italian versione click here.