FIA ETCR Key Personnel: Antonio Caruccio
A familiar face at the Romeo Ferraris desk in the Hot Zone, Antonio Caruccio is Head of Communications and Press Officer for the squad, and so much more than that, so we say Ciao Antonio and ask him some questions.
What is your role with the squad?
I’m Head of Communication and Press Officer for the 2022 season. I’m not only involved in the racing department in Romeo Ferraris, but over the years I found myself to help in multiple activities, both in our road department, in managing and planning events, plus the communication, and sometimes covering Team Manager, Sportive Director, Hospitality Manager and Drivers Coordinator role. Not only related to my RF experience, but thanks to my life in motorsport, I’ve been able to gain experience in many roles, and this makes my working figure very fluid over the season and the race weekend itself.
As someone who’s watched and covered motorsport for many years, what do you think about the Hot Zone and the ability to talk to the drivers on air in the cars?
To be honest, the Hot Zone is one of the coolest things I’ve faced in my career. On one side, you can have all the info about your cars, talking to the drivers as per my experience in the Endurance races, on the other hand, you can interact with TV commentators and with the other teams and drivers on-air.
What do you think are the key characteristics of FIA ETCR?
I’ve always been very critical of Electric Racing, because most of the time you are not really looking to be sustainable, but only promoting a new ideology. It’s also something still important, but FIA ETCR for the first time has created a consistent way to approach racing doing also something for the planet being sustainable inside the paddock, plus showing concrete activities aside from the racing. Talking about “pure” racing, the series is amazing. The level of the drivers is incredible, then short battles mean to have a lot of actions on track, the drivers fight really hard. This is not the best for my heart in the Hot Zone, but people from home love it, as well on the social media we have a great material to show, helped by a unique and innovative format.
What are the key characteristics of Romeo Ferraris?
It sounds like a mantra, but it’s true. We are a family. I mean, personally, my relationship with the Romeo Ferraris brand goes much over the working skills and attitude. Michela is one of my best friends in “real life” and this helps to give, from my side, 200% of my effort for anything related to our brand. You might say that this is because we are Italians, but (un)fortunately I can tell you it’s because it’s us. Anyone in the team is very passionate, the mechanics did an incredible job many times over the years, the race department is one of the smallest in the paddock, but thanks to the coordination and motivation of Michela and Mario, they’re not only great minds but super passionate, motivated and winning people. When we win, someone in the paddock is surprised by the effort we put in celebrations, but trust me, it is the same effort the guys put in their ordinary work and I think it is nice from all to take their own reward.
How are your drivers to work with? Can you share any secrets about them?
My personal story is pretty fun because I started doing this job when I was 15, and at that time all the drivers were older than me. Then I grew up and I started having their same age, and in the end unfortunately I’m older than most of them. I’ve always called from many of my (former) colleagues when I was a journalist, the “friend of the drivers’. Now I relate myself as an older cousin. I think growing up in the paddock helped me a lot to know and understand how to approach them. I try to be the most respectful I can of their time on track, so they know that if I come to them “unexpected” there’s a reason why.
Talking about the 2022 campaign, the atmosphere it’s really nice. I could tell some secrets for sure, but I won’t. I’m a good friend! I met Luca in my very first races (as a journalist) more than 15 years ago, and he’s now in the team since 2020. I was working in the series when Giovanni made his debut in 2008 bringing him on his first podium (and we have also discovered over the years we’re distant relatives). I knew Maxime from my previous GT3 work experience, and he has an intense sense of humour which I really can relate to. Then, last but not least, Bruno, was one of the drivers I was watching racing when I started my career as journalist, and now we drive each other to the track and we watch F1 races together in the paddock. He’s definitely a beautiful person, and with his incident in Vallelunga, all the team and all the drivers came very close to him, showing the real kind of family we are, and which I’m really proud of.
Can your drivers share any secrets about you?
Unfortunately yes, many. But, unreasonably, I trust they’ll have the same deontologic secrecy I’ll have for theirs!
What do you see as being the future of electric touring car racing?
As per my Socratic approach to life, I don’t think I have all the answers, but I try to ask the right questions. So I don’t know where the future will bring, both racing and road cars development, but it’s important that something moved in our consciences over the last few years. We’ve only one planet, and we’ve resources such as air and water that are very democratic. So any of us needs to do something for global well-being. For sure, in terms of marketing, a series like FIA ETCR suits the manufacturers much better than a formula car. With ETCR you have the chance to show the models you are selling on the market, by showing the clients and the audience how those cars can race. It’s exactly what Touring Cars did over the years, and when all the manufactures will understand this, imagine how the field of FIA ETCR can be!