Andrea de Cesaris
RJ: Andrea, of all the GPM drivers here this weekend, you’re the one that was away from racing and indeed the sport the longest…
AdC: Yeah, I wasn’t driving after 1994 and so, basically I go and do other work…
RJ: Like being a currency trader..
AdC: Yeah, very much so.
RJ: How did you get into that – were you interested in that sort of thing or did it just happen as it were?
AdC: Well, yeah, it was something I took up when I stopped racing as before, it was something I looked at before, but when the time came, I decided to go for it. But in fact, it was something I had already started in Formula 1, but just wasn’t something I could devote a lot of time to at that time. I’ve been interested for some while. After 1994, I could do that and enjoy and gave me something to do!
RJ: Also, you enjoy a lot of windsurfing – was that another post-F1 interest or..
AdC: No, no, I love windsurfing. I have done it for years. Windsurfing’s my passion. I can do it a lot more now as sometimes when racing, you have to be careful about injuries. Now, it keeps me fit (smiles and pats stomach).
RJ: Well, it’s certainly helped with this weekend and the GPM?
AdC: Oh yeah, because I don’t race otherwise.
RJ: What made you decide to return to racing and the GPM after so long out?
AdC: Well, it's the challenge of it all. Proper cars, proper drivers, a series that seemed, and is, well organised. They do a good job and it means we can do proper racing and gives me the chance to race against some top drivers in cars that are very similar, and that’s not something I was always able to do in Formula 1. I like it, good challenge, good fun.
RJ: Did you find any problems getting back into a racing/driving mentality?
AdC: No, not really. Well, I was not.. obviously, when I first drove, some of the drivers were still racing, and I was not, but I would say it didn’t take me long to get back into it, because once you do it for so long, you don’t forget the basics. I didn’t take me long to get back to full fitness, either. It would’ve been nice if I could have perhaps done a bit more testing before I started, because again some of the other drivers are still racing, or very experienced, but I’ve done okay. I’m happy.
RJ: Finally, you had a fantastically long career in Formula 1. When you left, after driving for Sauber in 1994, did you decide to get out, or were there other options to stay in Formula 1 or other racing?
AdC: No, I didn’t want to race anymore, because, once.. if you’re in a job for a long time, and things change, and you’re not liking it and you’re near finishing, you just want to leave. No motivation, you know? It was like that with me and racing cars, when it got to the end of my season, I decided it was over. There wasn’t anything, anyway, that interested me. I didn’t feel challenged by anything any more. I wanted a different challenge and I suppose just got tired of the sport. A lot of the time, there was nothing different about racing, you know, to what I’d done before, and the offers weren’t there or interesting, so I decided to get out of it and not race any more.
Interview conducted by Richard Jenkins on the 13th August 2006 at the Grand Prix Masters event at Silverstone. Thanks to Andrea and his wife, for their time, friendliness & again, for speaking superb English!