Ferrucci speaks out on Maini clash ban: ‘If I wanted to hit him I’d’ve wrote off the cars’

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Former F2 driver Santino Ferrucci has accepted responsibility for the collision which led to his four-race ban from the series while strenuously denying claims he racially abused former team mate Arjun Maini.

Ferrucci accepted responsibility for the clash with his Trident team mate at Silverstone in an interview for the Marshall Pruett Podcast. The collision was part of several transgressions which earned Ferrucci a four-race ban and led to him being fired by Trident.

Ferrucci said he had already been shoved by Maini following an incident in the weekend’s feature race. He explained how he drove into his team mate following the sprint race in retaliation for Maini forcing his way past at turn four during the race.

“He threw a pass right up the inside, drove into my car and bent my front suspension which put me off the track,” says Ferrucci. “When we finished the race, I was very, very furious and very emotional. It’s just a very dirty move towards me.”

“After the chequered flag I got behind him initially to show him I was pissed. I wanted to put up a hand gesture. I had just thought ‘all right, go around’ and when I went to go around I clipped him.”

Ferrucci did not deny the contact had been intentional but downplayed its severity. “My whole karting career I took nothing from nobody,” he said. “I was one of those people if you tap me I put you in the fence. I just refused to have a gasp of air for anybody. I was super-aggressive, super-mindset of focused, this is my world.

“In cars you can’t have that mindset. You can’t go around just hitting people, you’re going upwards of 200mph in some places, parts fall off and people could get seriously injured. You should display that aggressiveness in difference was by closing doors, blocking, different techniques. Not necessarily driving over people. I’ve had my fair share of moments in go-karts where I’ve been driven over and I’ve driven over people.

Santino Ferrucci, Arjun Maini, F2, Trident, Silverstone, 2018
Ferrucci and Maini came to blows at Silverstone
“Trust me, if I wanted to hit him I would have done it the correct way and wrote off the cars.”

After failing to attend a stewards’ hearing after the race, Ferrucci was banned from the next two double-header rounds. His explanation for missing the hearing was that had to leave urgently to visit his uncle who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Ferrucci blamed his former Trident F2 team for not passing that information to the stewards. “I had emailed the stewards prior saying I had a serious family emergency to get home for,” he explained. “The email was never received through my team, they never sent it, because we don’t have the stewards information personally.

“I had apologised on the Monday and Tuesday to all of the stewards to go out of my way to find and email them. They had emailled me back saying they were unmoved and did not care for my other responsibilities, which is pretty harsh. That’s why I missed the meeting, which I wish I never did. But you live and learn.”

Ferrucci’s Trident team issued a statement criticising his conduct towards Maini. Insinuations that Ferrucci used racially-charged language against his team mate have also been levelled at him, which he denied.

“I wouldn’t even know where to start with that,” he said. “What people are calling me is not true.”

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“I’ve been going over to England since I was 10 years old. I’ve been judged because I was the only American. I’ve been called a Yankee. I’ve been called a ‘fucking American’, it’s an actual term. That’s what I’ve been called my entire life being over there because they don’t like us there. That was the only comment that was flipped upside down on me pretty badly.”

Despite the controversy, Ferrucci remains alongside Maini on Haas’s junior driver development programme. “The guy is trying to make a career and we don’t want to pull the rug under his feet,” explained team principal Guenther Steiner at Spa.

Ferrucci said he would have been kicked off the programme if the allegations of racism were true.

Santino Ferrucci, Haas, 2017
Ferrucci remains a Haas development driver
“In our country the racial topic is very sensitive,” he said. “Especially in our country the racial topic is very sensitive. And recent events that have happened with Conor [Daly] with events that happened over three decades ago.

“I feel a lot of people don’t understand that when you’re driving also for an American team – I’m representing Haas F1 as an American – so if that was a true thing I don’t think I would still be a development driver.

“I don’t think that would be in anyone’s best interests and I don’t think I would even be a racing driver if that was true, because of how sensitive that topic is. So for people to come out and say and express that is really upsetting.”

Following his ban Trident announced they had fired Ferrucci due to the weekend’s events as well as “the serious breach of [the] driver’s payment obligations.” However Ferrucci claimed he already had a deal in place to leave F2 and return to IndyCar, where he started two races earlier in the year.

“Silverstone was technically my last race by contract because I was going to come back here,” he said. “I had made a deal with them and it was said and done.”

Ferrucci came 20th in yesterday’s race for Dale Coyne at Portland after stopping on-track with a technical problem during the race.

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  • 30 comments on “Ferrucci speaks out on Maini clash ban: ‘If I wanted to hit him I’d’ve wrote off the cars’”

    1. He should’ve gone all Days of Thunder then! Do it the proper Cole Trickle way!

    2. Calling racism a ‘sensitive topic’ rather than actually condemning the idea or saying he’s upset to be accused of it is a dogwhistle if I’d ever heard one. The fact he thinks being called ‘a ——- American’ is on par with what was reported and that he is the real victim there is particularly sad/ironic/awful in the sense he has not only learnt absolutely nothing but actually feels this was all a wrong done to him, not in any way something that he should show remorse for.

      A lovely boy. I wonder how long he’ll last in Indy.

      1. I think maybe the part about him already being on his way to Indy could be true, and explains why he didn’t actually pay Trident the amount promised, but it doesn’t speak highly of his integrity either to go about it that way. Anyway, on the whole, he rather comes over as someone who doesn’t get that other people also matter, not just his feelings and wants, and this does nothing to improve that impression.

        For example, if one just crashed into a teammate after earlier feeling aggrieved, sorry, it is not quite odd to have stewards expect a personal appearance (and not depend only on the team to tell them ‘sorry, gotta go’). And sad as I am for his uncle being ill, there’s little his immediate presence could accomplish, so maybe a plane an hour or two later would have worked too, given it is a ~10 hour flight? So he might as well have appeared and explained why he hoped it could be short, maybe say sorry, I wasn’t myself, won’t happen again, something like that.

        1. I completely agree re the stewards.

          If being with his uncle was that important (and it is!!) why was he racing in the first place, rather than spending time with his uncle?

      2. Probably a while, due to his cash.

        He’s not doing himself any favours. Punting fellow competitors off in karting, whilst boasting “If I’d wanted to hit him, I’d have have wreaked both cars” just reinforces people’s opinion of him.

        It’s depressing people like this are allowed to hold a racing license.

        1. @racerjoss Exactly. First I read that he believes he cooled off since his karting days, but then the “Trust me, if I wanted to hit him I would have done it the correct way and wrote off the cars” comment makes me believe he sees himself as an expert in that aera.

          1. i see some parallel to him in vettel, like in baku? he had no rumorse, and never acknowledged until everyone came down on him, and said we fix problems on the track… no difference… some drivers, when pinged, bring their true selves out in the wild….

        2. It’s depressing people like this are allowed to breathe

      3. Very well said @hazelsouthwell

        His defense for everything is “whataboutisms” or blaming everyone else. His response to racism accusations is what we all too often hear over here in the states. Dogwhistle loud and clear.

        For what it’s worth in all my travels around this world I’ve never experienced the “_______ american” expression ever.

        Redemption is one of the finest possibilities in our human experience. Not seeing it from him though.

      4. @hazelsoithwell 2 reasons I know you’re not from America. You don’t unserstand he is correct in how sensitive a topic od racism is here and how if people don’t like you, they’ll look for any excuse to call you a racist to have society try to knock you down a peg for them. The second reason is because you used learnt in a sentence. Santino is right in his words.

    3. This guys is trouble, I think it is mistake to expect him to change. Also Haas should consider how this reflects on them, why do they want to be associated with this pr**k?

      1. They probably cant get out of contracts that easily.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if they just didn’t renew their commitment when the contract runs out.
        But for now they will just wait it out and not risk any unnecessary legal matters.

        1. Well, Gene Haas was imprisoned for 2 years for criminal tax evasion. And one of their F1 drivers (KMag) is seemingly trying to be the bad boy of the paddock. Even their car is a photocopied Ferrari.

          I’m sure the majority of people who work there are great, but there are some bad smells. Ferruci doesn’t help.

    4. Santino does not appear to understand that race teams are not his butler, that stewards do not generally expect to communicate with individual drivers – only entrants – by email (in F1, that could in theory have got Santino into trouble, regardless of what the occasion which caused it), nor that racing series expect certain standards of conduct to be maintained.

      There are racist people in the UK, and I can believe Santino has experienced racism. I would have expected that to have made him more careful, not less, when it came to his conduct regarding people of other nationalities.

      If there were a correct way to hit a team-mate, it would involve minimising the damage done to team equipment (given that both are supposedly racing for a team and not providing their own equipment). That would be the exact opposite of “writing off the cars”. Indeed, depending on how Trident’s budget was worked out, that strategy might have ended Santino’s season anyway due to lack of budget for providing a replacement car for a culprit.

      Also, had Silverstone been the last race, Trident would not have wasted its time firing Santino, as they would simply have put out a press release saying that he was not welcome to return and why.

      If he carries on like this, then one way or another, he’s going to come a cropper in Indycars, regardless of how much money he has available. There’s a limit as to how much liability a team or series is willing to take on – even those series (like Indycar) that appreciates certain types of “loose cannon”. The “if you tap me I put you in the fence” is just about tolerated in NASCAR – though even they have limits – but near enough every other series emphatically forbids such conduct, and applies serious consequences when encountering it. I have a horrible feeling Santino is on the way to writing off his own motorsport career entirely, despite Dale Coyne’s willingness to let what happened in Europe stay in Europe.

      1. Santino does not appear to understand that race teams are not his butler, that stewards do not generally expect to communicate with individual drivers – only entrants – by email (in F1, that could in theory have got Santino into trouble, regardless of what the occasion which caused it), nor that racing series expect certain standards of conduct to be maintained.

        Having listened to that podcast too (was stuck sitting at my desk for a bit), that is the impression that remains @alianora-la-canta

        The tone is a bit better than the loose quotes about hitting, which came from Pruett putting it to him that an intentional hit like seen in NASCAR, … or F1 (Seb Baku2018? Maldonado, or longer ago?) looked different; but it still remains grating for all the reasons you summarise in the paragraph I quoted. He never takes the sport more seriously than he does his own feeling that he deserves to be in it.

        At the end Pruett tries to tell him to change tone, put some genuine effort into charities, helping people who had less chance than the two of them (ie. sitting there in an IndyCar paddock where one of them is going to do a race that day) to get a go in motorsport, to show he’s different than we think, but that doesn’t really seem to take (“I do all the charities, but I don’t post about that” could be honest, but it only came over defensive).

        1. Baku2017, of course.

      2. @alianora-la-canta Even if the very concept of races is archaic and entirely debatable no, Ferrucci didn’t experience racism. American citizenship is not a race even by the largest standard, calling it racism is understating the real offense racism is.
        Otherwise I quite agree with the comment!

        1. @spoutnik Santino is white American by race, which in Britain (where I believe he spent time in the junior series) is deemed a different race to, say, white British. The USA has a slightly different way of classifying race, but in the nation Santino was in at the time, he did indeed experience a (relatively minor form) of racism if what he said is true.

    5. Glad the kid got thrown out of F2. And If he tries any of the stuff he boast about (i.e. wreacking the equipment when tapped) I am sure his IndyCar career is a short one too – I can’t think of a team principal who would tolerate that, and given the speeds they race at, nor can the series.

    6. “In our country the racial topic is very sensitive” doesn’t sound like a statement from someone who opposes racism. It sounds a lot more like a statement from a racist who has become aware that he shouldn’t say the things he wants to say.

    7. “In our country the racial topic is very sensitive”…

      Hmmm… Interesting choice of words, but also certifiably hollow if you ask me: so sensitive you requested to run Trump’s dog-whistle slogan on your car… When people show you who they are, believe them…

    8. If Haas had any gumption, they’d punt this degenerate to the kerb. He’s a middling driver at best with a warped sense of entitlement.

      The most unsporting driver on the grid, surely.

    9. Trust me, if I wanted to hit him I would have done it the correct way and wrote off the cars.

      Keep digging, buddy.

    10. He doesn’t do himself any favours with this interview.

    11. Santino seems to know more about crashing cars than driving them.

    12. He took everyone out bar the safety car!!! Didn’t know when not send one down, It’s a shame as Maini’s not a great driver & Santino had more talent but didn’t know when to filter himself on the radio or back off the gas pedal. Good luck in Indycar

    13. Am i the only one whop thinks Ferrucci may be a sociopath?

    14. Eight months later, Santino Ferrucci raced in his first Indy 500 and finished 7th. He was quite racy and put on some crazy moves late in the race (look at the big crash on lap 177). He is expected to be named rookie of the year, later tonight at the banquet. Nice turn around for this young kid. It appears whatever “allegations” of racism against him there are, are just that, allegations. And the social justice warriors still packing a grudge against him just need to let it go.

      1. He is expected to be named rookie of the year, later tonight at the banquet. Nice turn around for this young kid. It appears whatever “allegations” of racism against him there are, are just that, allegations.

        Whether you or I believe them or not, his Indy result is in no way relevant to those allegations.

        1. ALLEGATIONS! ZERO BACKING TO HIM EVER SAYING ANYTHING WRONG. WAS SEEN IN HIS HOME TOWN WITH THE CAPTAIN LAST WEEK.

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