Ferrari’s Head of Ferrari Attivita Sportive GT, Antonello Coletta, hailed Antonio Fuoco’s pole-winning performance Thursday night as a historic moment for Ferrari, Italian motorsport and the World Endurance Championship. The Italian (pictured above), who shocked the WEC paddock with a lap that put the No. 50 499P two-tenths clear of the two new-look Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRIDs, set up prospects for a fascinating opening round of the 2023 season at Sebring.
Coletta told RACER the result in qualifying was a surprise. Until last night, Toyota had set the pace in every session.
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“Honestly, it’s a big surprise for us,” he said. “But I think that with the method we took and with the passion we all had it was an amazing job and in the end the result came.
“This is Ferrari. The real Ferrari that all the fans know very well,” he continued. “And for me, honestly, is a big, big satisfaction because I have the honor to manage this unbelievable group. And I’m very, very proud to manage Ferrari on their comeback after 50 years. And to start with a pole position!
“It’s clear though that (Friday) is another day, the season is very long but to start with a pole after just seven and a half months in preparation with this program, I think that is a job very, very well done by the whole team involved with this amazing car.
“This is æt. I’m very happy to have three Italian drivers in our team. Because honestly, for our nation it is not an amazing moment in the sport because, in Formula 1, we don’t have any drivers. With the long history of Ferrari and the Italian people in racing, I think that it needs to have a great Italian driver in one of the best cars.”
To many of the fans trackside in Florida, last night during qualifying will have been their first time seeing Fuoco’s talent on full display. Coletta says he was unlucky not to reach F1 with his ability and is delighted to have him in the team.
“He was a big talent in Formula 2, and probably was unlucky in his career in some ways,” he said. “In Formula 2 he was in the same team at the same time as Charles Leclerc. Now though he has restarted his career and I’m sure that for him, the future will be full of success.
“I am over the moon generally. This comes after an unbelievable amount of hard work by the whole team, working every day since the program was started – including at Christmas!
“This is the best result to start this program’s competitive life to reward all the staff that did some unbelievably hard work. We are a very special group because there is a real bond between these people. Now we have to go and try to win the race!”