The chain of young drivers coming from the CRG training camp who are entering motorsport is enriched with a new name, the one of Mattia Colnaghi. After many big names of the past, including Hamilton, Verstappen and Hulkenberg, as well Gabriel Bortoleto, the new FIA F3 Champion, who recently joined the McLaren Academy or Dennis Hauger, protagonist of the FIA F2 Championship, a new potential protagonist of tomorrow’s motor racing who comes from what can be considered in all respects a full-fledged school for young karting drivers.
Italian, born in 2008, Mattia has stood out this season with the CRG colors in the OK category, where he has always been among the fastest drivers and has achieved many notable placings, including P6 in the FIA World Championship. Mattia has joined the CRG team at the beginning of the season and has constantly made progress, becoming increasingly solid and faster as a driver, so much so that he has earned the attention of the Italian Federation, of the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy program, which selected him for an evaluation test in September and shortly afterwards, also from the Richard Mille Academy, a scouting program run by Nicholas Todt, in which Mattia won the selection, earning a place in the Spanish F4 Championship for next season. At just 15 years old, therefore, Mattia can say goodbye to karting and continue his journey in motor racing, chasing that dream which for all go-kart drivers means becoming motorsport professionals.
We have met Mattia recently, to relive the key moments of his career with him and to find out what are his expectations for the future. The first question we asked him obviously concerns the CRG world…
How did you find yourself with the official CRG team and what is your assessment of your 2023 season?
“I started my journey with CRG at the beginning of the season with the first WSK races and subsequently I did the entire FIA European Championship and took part in the FIA World Championship in Franciacorta. My performances were constantly growing, because I had the opportunity to learn a lot and refine my skills, both as a driver from a speed point of view and in terms of ability to analyze data from a technical and setup one. Also from a human perspective, the CRG Racing Team and the Tinini family have welcomed me and have immediately put me at ease without any type of pressure, allowing me to make my growth path at the right time and in a natural way. CRG is certainly the best team with which I have raced in my experience in karting and it has given me, in addition to the experience and training I was talking about, also great visibility among professionals, giving me the chance to get the attention of very important figures in Motorsport”.
Which were this year’s most significant moments?
“There is not a particular moment that characterizes my 2023 season, but rather the entire journey I have done from the first races up to the World Championship, because it has been evident how my performances were constantly improving and in the international races I have done and how I have often been among the fastest drivers from May onwards. The top ten in the World Championship was the icing on the cake of a positive season overall”.
Can you tell us about your beginnings in karting and the main steps of your career to date?
“I started racing in 2020 in the Easykart single-make Trophy, competing in the 5 races of the National Series and the International Final. Subsequently, in 2021 I moved to the Iame X30 Junior Series, where I remained until mid-2022, when I debuted in the first international races with the OK Junior category. This year I made the transition to OK by joining the CRG Official Team, completing a journey in which I have always placed in the foreground the need to have new objectives to achieve, without giving too much importance to results, compared to experience that karting has to teach you. Many drivers often spend an extra year in a category without progressing to obtain some important results, but I have always given priority to training and have always looked for the next step to grow, rather than the comfort zone. Even joining a top team like CRG was a great challenge to test myself as a driver”.
What would you recommend to a young driver who wants to follow the same path as you?
“My advice is to aim for rapid growth in karting as has essentially been my experience. Karting is a great school for all drivers and this sport should be approached in that way, especially if you have growth ambitions towards motor racing. I recommend continuing to raise the level by seeking new experiences and difficulties to overcome them, even though this will penalize your results and sporting curriculum a bit. But the amount of things learned and the need to give maximum effort will make the difference, compared to a few less trophies, to become a more complete driver”.
Can you tell us how the Ferrari Driver Academy experience has started and how has developed then?
“The experience with the Ferrari Driver Academy was unique with 4 days spent in Maranello inside the Ferrari Headquarters: a dream that every driver has had since childhood. At that time I also had the opportunity to learn a lot, both in terms of the approach that a driver must have in his work on and off the track, and from a technical point of view as well. Above all I had the opportunity to make my debut on the track with the F4 cars of the Prema Team and it was a unique experience”.
And obviously, we would like to know how the Richard Mille selection that saw you as the winner went and also your plans for 2024.
“The selection program organized by All Road Management with Richard Mille and the collaboration of MP Motorsport was a unique experience and opportunity. The entire program took place on the Navarra track in Spain and after various activities carried out, a jury of technicians announced me as the winner, opening me the doors to the Spanish F4 Championship which I will face with the MP Team. For me, this is an opportunity that I would not have been able to have without this selection program and I am thrilled to begin this new phase of my motorsport career. I leave karting with great memories and above all with the awareness that it trained me and allowed me to have these great chances for my future”.