Described by Michael Schumacher as his racing kart hero, Stefano Modena was touted as a future world champion but it was an all-too-brief F1 career and he retired from the Grand Prix Grid in 1992. He is now a member of Bridgestone's tyre development team.
Who taught you to drive?
My father taught me how to drive road cars but when it came to racing cars I did most of that by myself.
Like so many other drivers you started your career karting, what was your path to Formula 1?
I spent a long time in karting where I improved my driving skills and increased my technical knowledge. I then moved to F3 for two years where I won the European championship. The last category before the move to F1 was F3000 where I won the intercontinental championship at the first attempt.
Who most influenced you?
At the beginning my father then Achille Parrilla former owner of DAP, an Italian karting company.
You have raced all over the world, which track is your favourite?
In F1 Monte Carlo, Spa in Belgium and Suzuka in Japan but the most challenging one was Macau.
What has been your most memorable race?
In 25 years of motor sport I had a lot of memorable moments; maybe the most impressive one was the victory at my first DTM race in Berlin.
Who was your favorite teammate?
What of all the stories about Stefano's superstitions? How much of that is true?
I do not know about all of them but I was superstitious.
Is there anything you'd have done differently?
Yes of course, many things but to say what ... this is difficult!
Why did you hang up your helmet and stop racing?
I could not race with a competitive car and I was frustrated by the poor results.
Where do you call home now?
What have you been up to since you left?
I started my own company around a karting business but after a few years it did not turn out well. At that time I had good contacts with Bridgestone who offered me the role I am in now.
What drives you to be the best you can be?
The hunger and the fear!
Which road cars do you drive now?
A very normal one. The funny thing is that I've never been in love with cars, my passion it's always been the challenge and the cars were a good tool to achieve it.
What kind of driver are you on the road?
Very slow and careful.
In your opinion who is/ was the most complete racing driver?
From the beginning of my motor racing career I've seen many drivers with talent that eventually did not make it to F1. The one who made a revolution in the motor sport was Ayrton Senna Da Silva.
How much has Formula One changed since you first competed in 1988?
Enormously in many aspects not only in technique. Most important it's safety even if though there are still weak points.
Are the cars easier to drive these days?
From the outside I would say so. For me it was already easier when I changed from a manual gear box to a semi-automatic one so I'm guessing that with automatic transmission now in use it should be even better.
Do you have any tips for young racing drivers?
Never give up! Keep focused on your target and do not leave room for your competitors.
Describe yourself in one word.