Belgian Florian Merckx is this week’s guest of “Fast Lane”. The Baron Motorsport driver is back in Ferrari’s orbit after his work commitments had taken him off the track for some time. For him, it is a return to a Prancing Horse series where he has always been a leading player. His roll of honour also includes the Trofeo Pirelli title won in the 2016 Asia Pacific championship.
What features do you like most about the new Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo, and what are the differences from past models?
“I love this new version. It’s much faster, has better ground grip and an even more effective braking system. This new car has even more competitive features: driving it is a real dream”.
Of all the circuits on which you’ve competed, which is your favourite?
“Tough question. Without a doubt Spa-Francorchamps, but I also really like the Singapore track”.
How did your passion for Ferrari and motorsport begin?
“I’ve always had a passion for motor racing, passed down by my father at an early age. I still have some photos of me sitting behind the wheel of my first go-karts. As for Ferrari, everything stems from my family who gifted me the chance to take part in a Drivers’ Course. For me, being so close to the Ferrari world was the fulfilment of a dream. During the course and the various tests, I realised I wasn’t that bad and decided to take part in the Ferrari Challenge. And today we’re still here; the story goes on!”.
Throughout your sporting career, you’ve always achieved significant results, after which we’ve seen you on the track less often. Why this parenthesis? Now that you’re back, can we expect to see Florian Merckx full time?
“A series of things led me to slow down. I started working for my family’s company, and the commitments grew. I have a full-time job and thus find it difficult to be as competitive as before. We also need to take into account that I have been out of racing for about four years and now also have to adapt to the new car. I haven’t yet fully learnt how to exploit the new technologies and instruments. It’s going to be difficult to get back to the way I was before, but I want to do my best”.
How do you prepare before a race? Do you have a particular ritual or method to achieve the necessary concentration before the green light?
“I try to stay as quiet as possible. It’s a kind of mental training: I close my eyes and imagine myself behind the wheel of my car, ready to race. It’s a sort of preparation that helps me to regain my calm and relieve tension”.