With these 10 questions we are introducing to you Francesco Saverio Mazzoli – Tsunami RT team coordinator. Enjoy!
1. What's a team coordinator? Can you describe your work... at least in 2 hours?
F.M.: This kind of job combines technical and sporting duties. I take care of the series regulations to be compliant during all checks and scrutineering. I look after the preparation of the cars in the workshop before and after the event. I take care of the tires, as in Porsche Cup we use marked tires and we must be very careful about the bar codes. I keep myself updated with the technical bulletins in order to understand what needs to be changed/updated in the cars. When we move to the race track, I look after the administrative checks with the drivers, the general preparation of the cars, all the timing, the movements of the team according to the schedule and I organize the people, so eveybody can be in the right place at the right time and we don't lose time. Well, that's it...
2. Are there more difficult and easier races from your point of view?
F.M.: The format is quite similar every time. But the main difference is the language issues that occur in France. Here in Italy it's easy to exchange information with the organizers, the race control, the marshals and all the people involved in the event. In France it's a little bit problematic to be in touch with everybody. But you see, in Tsunami we come from 6 different countries and clear communication is always the priority for us – to share information in the right way and not to lose anything on the way. So we all got used to deal with it at every race.
3. A traditional question – what was your start in motorsport?
F.M.: I started from rally – I have worked for RalliArt Italy, then I moved to a private team but continued to organize private tests, for example, for Abarth. I spent 3 years following the official rally program with Skoda and Andreas Mikkelsen. And then Stelios Fakalis invited me to do some job here, with Tsunami.
It was such a curious experience to discover a new world – circuit, paddock... On rally you usually are in the middle of nowhere with your face covered with mud. And here we have a lot of facilities like toilets, restaurant, tarmac – well, it's total luxury!
4. What has changed in the team since you've started working here?
F.M.: When I arrived here I found a big power in the team and we are constantly improving our way of operating to be an highly professional team. We have changed the way we manage the supply of spare parts, the preparation of the cars, we have modified a little bit the work in the workshop. Changes step by step are improving us, and small details are very important. The most difficult thing is following many things at the same time. But there is a good balance of people working in the team and the task we have to manage. I'm so I'm happy about the situation now.
5. What's the busiest time for a team coordinator during the racing weekend?
F.M.: When we arrive at the race track and have to arrange everything. At the same time we have to collect everything for the car preparation, to collect all the documents and papers for the free practice, check the payment and the licenses of the drivers with the administrative office of the race track. And at the same time preparation of the cars for the technical scrutineering is starting, so the first hours are very tense – when we arrive and start to set everything from zero.
6. How do you feel about a woman boss?
F.M.: You see, Irina knows motorsport very well; she understands why we are here, what we have to do, all our targets and she can discuss problems and find the solutions. She's the part of the team, not only an owner. Sometimes one could just say: "okay guys, that's your problem" and leave, but she stays and joins us in solving a problem. And she helps the team to grow up. Sometimes I don't agree with her, when my opinion is different, but she's ready to discuss and look for a correct solution.
7. What is special for you in Tsunami RT?
F.M.: The team consists of the people of various nationalities. I feel that this situation helps the team to get more information – we can have a lot of contacts around the world. We can collect different information from various points of view and that gives a good balance.
8. If you were given 1 hour when you could take place of anybody in the team – what position would you choose?
F.M.: My position is what I like to do. I'm in the middle between the mechanics, managers and drivers. I like my job.
9. Okay, and what position you would never try? Maybe a spectator's one?
F.M.: I've seen many rallies as a spectator. It's a big experience because sometimes you lose the connection with the situation OUTSIDE the team because you are too busy IN the team. So you have no time to walk around the race track, to move somewhere, to see other categories racing, to watch where they brake in the corners... So being a spectator can be a good solution to see the story from the outside, find good ideas and use them in your job to let the team improve.
10. What can happen to make you want to throw everything and run away?
F.M.: When we do everything perfect and something out of control happens – maybe during the race. The situation falls instantly from 100% to 0 and you can do nothing, you can just follow the car on the monitor and accept this fact. Something can destroy all your perfect job in a moment but you must say: "Okay, next time we'll try again".