International News: Issue 34

INTERNATIONAL NEWS WITH ASHISH | One-On-One with Cristiano Morgado

Some of you may or may not know of him, but he’s raced against some of the current and past F1 drivers, National and international… and he lives right on our door step, meet Cristiano Morgado.

Yes he’s half South African and half Portuguese if you were wondering!

Cris, in a nutshell, is South Africa’s former A1 GP series driver, former Formula 3 driver and the only person in the World to be crowned 4 times world Rotax champion. He started racing at the age of 10 and now at age 35, has no plans of slowing down.

I’m curious… How many races have you taken part in altogether? Thousands at this stage. I began at the age of 10, so it’s difficult to say.

Your most prestigious race win? 1st World Karting Title in 2003 and 1st F3 win at Brands Hatch in the British F3 championship are two that are particularly memorable.

How did racing all begin for you? My father bought a small second hand kart from an advert in a newspaper. We took it to the track where I entered my first race and it continued from that point.

How does it feel to be the only person in the world to win the World Rotax Championship 4 times? I just feel grateful that it has gone so well. I’m fortunate to participate in a sport that I love and had the opportunities to train, get better and be able to do this since I was 10 years old and still going.

What’s your take on South African Motorsports? South Africa is the most successful karting nation in the world with the most Rotax World Championships. Unfortunately, due to the high need for sponsorship to progress up the ladder to Formula 1, our drivers are limited and this is why we don’t see south Africans reaching the top of the sport and Formula 1. But the talent here is the best in the world and we have a great motorsport community here.

Choose one… A single Lap in a Formula 1 car or R500 000 cash? Definitely F1, not many people will ever get to experience that in their lifetime.

Compare racing a kart to Formula 3 in terms of how physical they are? The F3 car is a lot more physical on the neck, where as karting is very demanding on the arms, especially the forearms, but overall I would say they require a similar level of fitness.

What was it like racing in A1 GP and F3? Dream come true, amazing cars and incredible experience. You get a taste of what F1 must be like; the demands on the driver, the competition, the emotions, the magnitude of the sport and especially the appreciation of how difficult it is to do it well and win. It’s completely given me an appreciation of what F1 champions have achieved in the past, the skill and courage they have. It looks so easy on TV but when you actually do it, it is 1000 times more difficult than it looks. An example is driving in the wet, keeping it going in a straight line and seeing where you are going is hard in those conditions.

Do you have any words of advice for upcoming drivers? Do the sport with love and passion. Make sure that you enjoy it and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Have you raced against any F1 drivers?  Yes, have been lucky to race with many current F1 drivers and gotten to know a few like; Jarno Trulli, Kimi Raikonnen, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Max Verstappen to name a few in karting and in car racing was on track with Sebastian Vettel, Sergio Perez, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna, Max Chilton, Robert Kubica and a few others on various occasions.

Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso? I’d have to say both, but each for their own reasons. Lewis, because of his fearlessness and the way he can drive on, or even past the limit. No one can ultimately drive as fast as him in my opinion. Alonso, for the fact that he is a complete racing driver in every aspect. He never gives up and his overtaking is on another level. They are both unbelievable drivers and an inspiration to all with they skill.

What racing are you doing at the moment? Racing locally and internationally in the Rotax Championship, Rotax is the world’s largest and most competitive karting category. With over 7500 competitors spread over 60 countries, on all 5 continents around the globe. These impressive karts are capable of 170 kph and are some of the nearest things to experiencing what it is like to drive a Formula 1 car and in fact used by a lot of the drivers for preparation during the off-season.

What should we expect from you in the future? Hopefully I will continue to get better results in motorsport and enjoy the experience.

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