Our interview guest for this week is Francesco Martini from MonacoRC. He is well-known for being the mechanic of Bruno Coelho, but in this interview you will get some other interesting information about Francesco and his life in Monaco. Enjoy this weeks “ETS Family Interview” with Francesco Martini!
Ciao Francesco! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of our series of “ETS Family Interviews”. At first we want to know if you and your family are all right in these difficult times we are all going through right now.
Fortunately, all my closest friends and relatives are fine. I immediately felt that COVID 19 was not something to take lightly and I immediately took steps to distance myself and limited contact with others. It wasn’t easy to stay at home for such a long time for someone like me who is always traveling around. But I was able to enjoy my son and my wife fully. I took the opportunity to work and I think overall good ideas for the future came out.
You are from Italy but you are living in Monaco. How many years ago you moved to Monaco and how is it to live in this very special place which most of us only know from watching the Formula 1 race?
I have lived in Monaco for more than 20 years now and I can say that I have seen it change a lot in these years. Probably I have changed more than the city. Living in a Country/city of this size has its pros and cons. I now appreciate more tranquility and safety compared to a few years ago where I was more interested in nightlife. Living in Monaco for those who love motors is like being in paradise.
A couple of years ago you founded the MonacoRC brand where you sell RC stuff and also create some of your own products. But what some people in RC do not know is that you are also the owner of “Enrico Coveri”, an Italian fashion brand based in Firenze. Tell us a little bit about Enrico Coveri, what you are doing there and how that all began with you in the world of fashion!
For many years I have been the creative director of this historic Made in Italy company. I have always lived in fashion and this is simply my normalcy. I started working when I was very young, directing and organizing fashion shows around the world. I follow what are the most important relationships with licensees and I often enjoy shooting the group's advertising campaigns.
That sounds very interesting. How do you manage to have a good balance between working with Enrico Coveri, MonacoRC and going to all the races with Bruno Coelho during the year?
Good question! In fact, it is as if I had several lives and those who know me in one of them wonder how I can deal with something else at the same level of professionalism they know. Actually, I don't even explain it to myself, the only thing I know is that I don't like doing things just to do them. When I make a commitment I feel the responsibility for having made it and I try to do it at my best. This attitude of mine often leads people to think that I only do one thing but who knows me in my various "lives" knows that I sleep little, research a lot and I always want to do and learn more.
When did you get started into the RC Hobby? Can you still remember your first car or the first track you ever raced on?
I remember it very clearly. As a child I would have liked to run with these models and I also had several but most of the time I couldn't even assembling them fully. I studied in a boarding school, and how you can imagine, living in a boarding school doesn’t allow to cultivating many interests. I've always said that I started making modeling at the age when it would have been better to quit. In 2000 my job absorbed me completely and I wanted to find something that would make me relax a bit. So I remembered this passion that I had never been able to to enjoy completely. I entered a shop and bought my first racing car. The first experiences did not bode well but over time things improved and my passion increased.
What was your best personal result in RC, or a race result that you are very proud of?
My best result certainly does not come from the races. My approach to driving has always been that of a means of understanding the model and how to perfect it. I have won several National titles and collected TQs and excellent placements in noble races but I have always looked for satisfactions in the pits.
You still race from time to time and you seem to be always fast on the track. In 2019 for example you were TQ at the EFRA IC 40+ Euros in Monaco. In the end you finished 3rd overall. Was it a special race for you because it was in your home town?
This race was one of the most fun because it was experienced with extreme lightness and I had the pleasure of being assisted by probably the best Nitro mechanic, Fabio Domanin, who came to Monaco to let me play, As it may seem incredible, despite being my “home track” I never train there, and thinking I made TQ in a category where the hours on the track for preparation are fundamental, fills me with pride. I would have liked to do more, especially for Fabio who worked as well really hard, but in the race I made a stupid mistake that probably compromised our ability to play it.
Since some years now you work together with Bruno in a very successful way. How did it happen that you became his mechanic and how is it, to work together with one of the best drivers on the planet?
For several years now, Martin Hudy has taken the reins of the Xray On-Road projects. I had the pleasure of experiencing this handover step from Juray and I had the honor of participating in the development team. We have worked for years trying to make the best car on the market. The results started to arrive with Alexander but our Team was in fact the only one who had only one driver who could play it while the others could count on more drivers. One day in Spain Martin tells me that he would have liked to invest in a young driver and shows me Bruno. I looked at this "young man" who was sitting on the track as if by the pool on a deckchair with slippers on and his girlfriend next to him. I turned back to Martin burst out laughing in his face. That weekend Bruno between a swim in the pool and a heat on the track risked winning the European championship ... Bruno has always been followed by his dad Cesar who was much more prepared on the nitro categories than the electric ones. We soon understand at the World Championship in the USA, where Bruno almost took the win that Martin had seen right and that he could do very well. The problem was that the electric is a difficult category to approach at certain levels and it was necessary that someone with a “know-how knowledge “had to follow Bruno. So Martin came to me and asked me if I could help him out. As I said before, I do not have the character of doing things halfway and therefore taking the commitment we started working together. The most beautiful discovery was to know Bruno's greatness as a person rather than as a pilot. We have become very close friends and I think this is the magic formula that makes this collaboration possible.
During a race weekend you always have to find the perfect setup to go really fast and compete against the other top drivers. But when you are there as a mechanic only, you only can work with Bruno`s feedback after the run. Is it sometimes difficult to imagine how the car feels on the track when Bruno is driving or can you see easily which changes you have to do to get the car even faster?
Over time the tuning has refined and Bruno's feedbacks have become clearer to me. The role of the mechanic is a bit like that of the goalkeeper of a football team. Things get even more complicated if Ronaldo is attacking because when the team loses you tend to think that the goalkeeper is to blame. Being always spot on to everything is really difficult especially because compared to others we spend less time on the track testing since Bruno drives many categories and can hardly be there for tests. The fast drivers all look for the same two things, traction and steering. Bruno is a driver who, when the race starts, can put his effort into making a difference, my job is to try to create for him the means to enable him to do so.
Is it harder for you to stand on the side line and watch Bruno in a thrilling race or do you feel more stressed when you are racing yourself on the driver stand?
For sure following Bruno's races is way more stressful than driving myself.
Bruno missed the world’s title in 2016 in China after he was TQ. Can you describe your feelings after he finally got the job done in 2018 in South Africa, starting from P2 and winning against Ronald who is always very hard to beat?
China was hard. Everything was working out correctly. Our first WC together prepared with such care and that saw us comfortably in command for all the qualifications. A final won and several seconds ahead halfway through the second final when in a moment everything changed. Even the weather made us understand that that was not our day. It was not so difficult to not win but to try not to lose that determination that we had created and that led us to be ready to win. But there the champion that Bruno is came out, and he started again with his head down with even more desire to win. In South Africa, at the warm up, we had found an excellent set up for our car with particular solutions. At the world championship we arrived with the same set up but we were not as confident as before. Bruno was there and head-to-head with Ronald but we knew we could ask for more and with all due respect to others we didn't want to finish second place. The night before the finals in agreement with Bruno, I changed the set-up to the model by making difficult decisions and counterclaims compared to our experiences on that track. In the first final test we understood that it was the right decision, still a few small changes and then the rest is history.
Tell us how the party was after Bruno won the race in South Africa?
The feeling felt for this title is something unique, also thanks to the fact that it is a victory that has been sought with all the energies and that came with a splendid win to crown years of commitment by the whole Team, not only mine and Bruno.
Compared to the world of fashion you work in, how would you rate the ETS in RC? Is the ETS kind of a “fashion week” of RC because everybody is there to get the best show of RC racing down on the track?
In a way, the example you have given can fit but if I have to be honest, I see ETS more as a trendy party than the show where usually the atmosphere is less carefree and more employed. So maybe ETS is the cool fashion party and the World Championship is the catwalk.
What do you like more: Racing yourself or winning a big race as Bruno`s mechanic?
For some time now I have only been driving for fun or to try new parts, which gratifies me but not how to get an important result with Bruno.
Do you have other things you are passionate for beside fashion and RC?
It may seem incredible but I also find time for other things. I love good food and I really like discovering new places. I have a great passion for photography that I pour both on my work and in my personal life. The family is at the center of everything and I have always tried to keep my mind hungry every year by studying something new. I have collected diplomas and certifications developing skills that I will never use just for the desire of learning something.
As you live in Monaco you might have experienced the Formula 1 race there for multiple times. How special are the vibes in the city of Monte Carlo during the F1 race weekend?
Montecarlo in some periods of the year becomes even more special, the Formula 1, the boat show and the Tennis attract the jet set from all over the world creating a unique and surreal atmosphere at the same time.
Thank you for your time and the very nice interview Francesco. It was really interesting to find out some things about you and your life in Monaco. We look forward to see you on track soon!
It has been a pleasure for me to talk about different things than the usual. Thanks for the great questions.
|06.||Frederik B. Mikkelsen||592pts|
|03.||Martijn v. d. Heijden||569pts|
|04.||Steven M. Olsen||598pts|