The red dragon that features on this site (and my helmet) is my lucky charm. It symbolises the aggression and fighting spirit that have always been a big part of my driving style and the way I approach racing.
I was three and a half years old when I first sat in a kart. It was in Greece, on the island of Rhodes, my mother’s homeland. My dad held the kart tethered to a yachting line, worried that I might spin off the track and because I wasn’t yet too sure which was the brake and which was the throttle. The rope broke after two laps of the track. That was when my karting adventure really began.
I practised for four long years with Puffo category karts. In the meantime, I followed my father around the tracks of Switzerland as he was still racing himself at the time. My own first race came when I was seven and a half.
In that race at Osogna I finished fourth (out of four I have to admit!). I won my first race the following year at Lyss. The year after that, my first championship. The satisfaction was immense. Race after race, victory after victory, year after year I focused on improving my driving technique and race craft, as always based on the fighting spirit symbolised by the red dragon on my helmet.
I’ve never really been one for "calculating” drivers, I’ve always preferred the ones who’ll go out and attack and put on a show. In the first part of my career I always raced with chassis by the Swiss manufacturer Swiss Hutless. This firm supported me for a long time and stuck by me as my competition career developed, initially placing me within the ambit of its national team and subsequently, as the first Swiss driver after many years (it’s hard being a prophet in your own land!) in that of the international works team.
A few hours after Swiss Hutless shut down its international racing operations, early in 2007, I was hugely honoured to receive an offer from PCR that I immediately accepted.
From red to yellow then, with this fantastic Piacenza-based team soon becoming my new karting family. PCR is an historic marque but also a company that in a cutthroat sector has managed to retain a human dimension. We faced up to the “major manufacturers”; a kind of David against Goliath. Against all expectations and after an understandable period of adjustment lasting a couple of months, we achieved our first results of note, which were then followed by the first victories. The international press gave me the flattering nickname “Yellow Arrow”, partly in honour of the colour of the kart, and it was then picked up by the Italian media and translated as “Freccia Gialla”.
In two years we won the Swiss Championship and the Bridgestone Cup and above all finished second in the International Open Masters, the best result ever by a Swiss driver and one I’m particularly proud of.
I was fortunate enough to work with a number of mechanics of international standing to whom I’ll always be grateful not just for what they taught me but also for cutting me down to size when I screwed up and when things didn’t quite go to plan.
Before I had even turned 16, in the July of 2008, I had the opportunity to drive my first single-seater car, a Formula BMW, in testing at Valencia in Spain.
Through the visor as I sat strapped down in the cockpit, I could see my father’s eyes start to well up.
Both of us were desperately hoping that this would represent not so much a point of arrival as the start of a new and still undefined adventure.
And that was how it turned out.
In 2009, I made my competitive single-seater debut in the Italian Formula Azzurra Championship with the MG Motorsport team.
I won my first race in the month of August (at Varano), repeating the feat in the next race on the historic Imola track.
Two wins with a very special flavour I’ll never forget.
The rest is recent history. The Corbetta Competizioni team showed great faith in me by firstly calling me up for a number of test sessions at the wheel of their Formula 3 car and then by signing me for the 2010 season, during which I raced in the Italian championship. 2011 will see us together once again and tackling the European Formula 3 Open. Another short step forwards and an opportunity I'll try not to let get away;
seeking to go still further with the support of all those who have shown belief in me and whom I would like to sincerely thank and all those whom I hope will do so in the future.