Interview by Elena Giordani, Sara del Mistero, and Isabella Tomassi, edited and traslated by Imma Aurino
At Vallelunga, our correspondents had the chance to engage in a conversation with fresh addition to the McLaren’s junior driver, Brando Badoer. The promising young talent, born in 2006, has recently wrapped up his second year in the Italian Formula 4. The Woking-based team will closely monitor his progress over the upcoming year, with a decision on whether to enroll him in their Young Driver Programme on a permanent basis set to be made at the conclusion of the 2024 season.
Hello, Brando. How was it to sign with McLaren and become a part of their world and their youth program? How motivated are you to be a part of their Academy?
It’s very important, and it gives me a lot of energy and motivation to keep pushing. It’s definitely a positive thing to enter their world, not only for my growth as a driver but also as a person. I hope to achieve great heights with them.
Is there something you believe you share with your father and the kind of driver he was, and something in which you differ?
I believe I inherited from him the skill in taking care of the car, making it perform the way I like. We differ in our temperament; I think I’m more emotional than him, while he has always been cooler and more composed.
In the last two years, you’ve mainly raced in the Italian Formula 4. What differences have you found between it and the one in the United Arab Emirates?
The main difference is the tires. Here, we have Pirelli, while in the UAE, they use Hankook tires, which are more challenging to handle since they are harder. Regarding the level of competition, it’s quite similar. The Italian championship is slightly more competitive, but in the UAE, drivers from the British and Spanish championships also participate, so it’s of a good standard.
You’ve partecipate in four different Formula 4 championships in the past year. What have these experiences left you with?
They have provided me with crucial experience in racing with single-seaters, in driving them, and learning how to control them.
Do you dream of Formula 1, or do you have other championships in mind, like the WEC, for example?
No, my dream is Formula 1.
Last question, Brando: what’s your most cherished memory from your Formula 4 championships, and what’s one you’d like to change or forget?
My fondest memory would probably be Race 3 in Monza in the Euro 4 series, where I started sixth, dropped to ninth at one point, but then managed to finish second. On the last lap, I even fought for the win. As for the worst memory, I think it would be the last race in Imola, where I was in a battle for the lead but got hit from behind and had to stop.
In the end in Race 2, Brando secured a third-place finish, marking his fifth podium of the season. He continued with a fifth-place finish in Race 3. These strong performances propelled him to sixth place in the overall drivers’ standings. He managed to overtake Maltese driver Zachary David by the end of the season, a significant improvement from his sixteenth-place finish in 2022.