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Formula Renault 3.5

Interview of Nathanaël Berthon, one of the french drivers in the FR 3.5 Series' paddock. Before the Paul Ricard HTTT meeting, the ISR driver is already excited.

Nathanaël, you'’re only in your second season in Formula Renault 3.5 Series. How do you think you have done so far?
My debut season was a disappointment and everyone took a good look at themselves. On a personal level I managed to get some good people around me when things weren’t going too well. I’ve got a new physio, David Alaria, who’s also the fitness coach for the France’s FFSA (French Motorsport Federation) Karting team. I’ve done a lot of work with him to get back into shape. My new manager, Peter Collins, got me to overhaul my driving style too, and though it’s not easy to start from scratch and rethink everything you’re doing, that’s what I had to do. He didn’t set me any objectives before Silverstone, and I came away with a good result (fourth in Race 1 and third in Race 2) sooner than I’d expected. I’m happy with that and with all the work that went into getting that result.

You’ve got a high-profile team-mate in Daniel Ricciardo, who’s now got a Formula One drive. Is that a help or a hindrance for you?
It’s a definite help because Daniel has a lot of credibility and is widely regarded as a very good driver. It’s really good for me to see that I can challenge him and get up to his level, especially as he has more experience than me. The fame he’s found can help me, especially if I can get ahead of him. I’m learning a lot from him and he’s helping me raise my game. We work well together and although Carlin are ahead of us right now, we can match them in terms of pace. Beating them in a race is a different story though.

The French leg of the World Series by Renault is taking place at the Paul Ricard HTTT. At Magny-Cours last year you managed to win one of the weekend’s two races.
Magny-Cours holds some great memories for me and it’s a track I love. For a French driver there’s something extra special about winning in France. It’s a big thing and people still talk to me about that win today. There’s a family atmosphere to the World Series by Renault, and I think people who aren’t familiar with motorsport know my name thanks to my victory and the fact I’m French.

Driving in France could also be a source of extra pressure for you.
A lot of my friends are going to come and see me and I’ll also be able to meet people who can help with my career. I’m also lending a hand to a singer friend of mine, Grégory Bakian, who’s going to shoot a video with the team over the weekend. Local TV from the Auvergne (Nathanaël’s home region) will be there too, as will the FFSA, among others. I’d better get it right on the track.

You’re a driver on the FFSA’s France team. What are the benefits of that?
We get year-round training, specific courses and financial support. It’s also a good way of getting your name known because the FFSA provides regular reports on our performances, and I’m proud to represent my country too. The FFSA can have a big part to play in our careers by helping us to get to know the right people.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 16 September 2011
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