Lavaggi, Conte

5 minutes with: Conte Lavaggi; “I wish I could have listen to The VALiens back in 1995”

Conte Lavaggi

Conte Lavaggi

Johnny Carwash

For many people it’s easier to talk bad about someone. In my case, for most of them was difficult to understand how an old driver like me (I was already 37 years old) could make his debut in F1, without a standard career in kart and single seat. The answer is easy: despite what everybody thinks, I never had the money to start racing when I was young and I never had enough money to compete in the right way in the classic “Formula” championship, but I always had a great talent.
I managed to achieve very good results with the minimum budget available and every team manager who had me as a driver in his team knows my talent.
It is not true that I performed bad in Formula 1. I had very slow cars in my hands and no money to go testing. In my entire F1 experience (10 races) I completed less than 3.000 Km. Villeneuve, when arrived at Williams (after a full and successful season in CART), made more than 3.000 Km just in one month as winter tests!!
Try to ask Minardi about my ability as a driver. He perfectly knows that my performances where quite a miracle with the material I had at my disposal: The Minardi chassis was very good, but our old Cosworth engine had 180 CV less than the best F1 engines and it was really unreliable (I broke 7 engines in 6 races!!). I had to manage the car with parts very old (like brakes dismounted from Lamy car i.e.)
Nevertheless on the telemetry everybody in the team saw that in the most difficult parts of the circuits I was often quicker than Lamy (which is a very fast driver too). That happened in example for Suzuka T1 (even if Lamy received there an engine with 50 CV more than mine!!) or at Eau rouge in Spa where I was completely flat with throttle and 10 Km faster than Lamy at the exit. Unfortunately, having a look at telemetry data compare, the speed lines crossed during the following straight because my engine was about to brake (as it actually did the next run). And what I should say about my second place at the Bologna motorshow, against two Benetton with Fisichella and Trulli, Panis with Ligier and my team mate Marques considered one of the quickest young Brasilian in the motorsport?
All this without touching the car at all. In seven races not a little damage in my Minardi!!
But I don’t care about what people is saying. My life has always been a challenge against myself and I perfectly know my value. It is also a great satisfaction to have the appreciation of many fans like you, even after many years since my F1 experience.
I should write a book about my life and may be I will do it…. but not now. I didn’t give up yet and I hope to give you other good emotions as driver-constructor.

Conte Lavaggi,

Conte Lavaggi

Conte Lavaggi, one year in F1, why?

1)      almost everybody pays for racing. expecially at the beginning of their carrer, but also later. It’s the driver paying with his own money or their sponsors. In example, Schumacher went to Jordan with the money of Mercedes and, when he joint Ferrari, he got a big salary, but he brought Shell with him. Alonso had Repsol at the beginning and now Santander. Just talking about very famous drivers.
People do not understand that the performance of a driver depends 90 % from the car. I said in ’96: “please give my Minardi to Hill and his Williams to me and then we will see the results”….. nobody wanted to do it…??. Look at the first races of this year: The two last world champions at the end of the grid and the slowest drivers of last year in front!! And now we haven’t the situation of Minardi with 180 CV less than all other cars.
2)      The race with the engine on fire was my first race in 1996 with Minardi. During first free practice I went out and I noticed a malfunction of the engine. I came in immediately and explained to Cosworth engineers. They looked at the data and they said that everything was fine. I made other two or three out-in reporting again that something was wrong. They insisted that I shouldn’t lift the throttle and keep going. I said “the engine will brake, and they said: “don’t worry it will not brake”. I went out I kept the throttle down to reach the revs they asked for …. and the engine broke. Sometimes also engineers don’t know their job! ? . The engine was on fire inside, therefore I couldn’t see anything from mirrors. I was coming out from the car slowly because I was very upset and frustrated to have lost Friday sessions at my first race of the year. Then Minardi saw on the TV flames coming out from the snorkel and he shouted me on the radio: “go out immediately, you have fire behind you”, and I jumped out quickly. Journalist didn’t care about the fact that I lost Friday sessions, they just laugh at me watching that quick speed change in my movements….. What can I say, people wit a poor spirit!

1995 Formula One Drivers pictures Conte Lavaggi

1995 Formula One Drivers pictures

—- taken from —

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