Following is an interview with Michael Lewis posted on the PREMA Powerteam website about the upcoming 2011 Formula 3 Italia race season and Michael’s experience racing in Italy.
What differences did you find between the Formula BMW car you were driving last year and the F3 Italia?
The biggest difference between the two cars is that the Italian Formula 3 has much more overall grip and braking potential, compared to the Formula BMW car. The engine in the F3 car has quite a bit more torque, as well. Overall, the F3 car is much faster and it gives you a closer feeling to the larger formula car categories. I must say, however, my time in Formula BMW was a good experience and it gave me the tools to be able to drive the Prema Italian F3 car in a good way.
The preseason tests show you on the top of the time charts. What’s your objective for the upcoming race season?
The results in the preseason tests have been quite good. Prema has been working extremely hard, and everyone on the team is dedicated to make the car fast. For me, I look to fight for the rookie championship this year. There are many rookie drivers in the championship, and it will be a good fight for the first overall rookie.
As with your previous team, Prema is an Italian team. What do you notice mostly in the way we race in Italy?
I must say that Angelo Rosin and everyone at Prema have developed a great team over the years. Prema has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years, and their experience shows in the results. Not only is everything professional, but I honestly feel as if Prema is my second home. My relationship with my engineer, Fabio Zilio, and all of the staff is very respectful and friendly. I truly enjoy every moment I get to drive the Prema Italian F3 car. Regarding the atmosphere of racing in Italy, it is one that is very familiar. I have been racing in Italy since go-karts, so I have established many friends and relationships, which creates a great atmosphere. From Dino Chiesa of Chiesa Corse, Dr. Cecarelli of Formula Medicine, Giacomo Ricci, and Angelo and René Rosin; they have all developed my racing career in Italy. It feels very natural to race and live here in Italy.
Compared to my home country, mainly, the intensity of formula car racing in Italy is extremely high. In the United States, there is a larger focus on oval track racing, such as NASCAR. As I am currently driving in a formula car category, Italy is the best place to race for this objective.