Riccardo Patrese
Exclusive Interview with Riccardo Patrese at Sportel

The world’s premier event for industry leaders in technology and sports media, SPORTEL took place in the Principality of Monaco this week. The convention is recognized for presenting the latest trends and market transformations, as well as providing powerful networking and exposure with the most influential brands on the planet.

In each edition, the event in Monaco also offers a space to honor elite athletes and world champions, as well as remembering the sport’s most exciting moments of the year.

As the only Brazilian correspondent in the Brazilian betting segment on SPORTEL, iGaming Brazil had the opportunity to exclusively interview former Formula 1 driver Riccardo Patrese. The Italian raced with big names in world motorsport, such as Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, among other legends.

Riccardo Patrese’s Trajectory

The Italian started running in the Shadow team (1977), and then went through Arrows (1978 to 1981), Brabham (1982 to 1983 and 1986 to 1987), Alfa Romeo (1984 to 1985), Williams (1988 to 1992), where he became runner-up in 1992 and ended his career at Benetton in 1993.

In September 2008, Patrese, then 54, returned to driving a Formula 1 car in a test run for Honda, 15 years after leaving the category. This test was a way of honoring his record of 256 grand prix contests, which remained intact until that season, when he was beaten by Rubens Barrichello.

Check out the interview with former driver Riccardo Patrese

iGaming Brazil: You made your debut in Formula 1 right here in Monaco. What does this place mean to you, it is special to be here again?

Riccardo Patrese: It’s special for me, because Monaco is where I live most of the time, I have a residence here.

I did my first Grand Prix (GP) in 1977 and won my first GP in 1982, so it’s definitely a special place for me and a great place to be. And I like the activities that exist in the Principality.

iGaming Brazil: You lived in Monaco one of the most emotional moments there is for a driver in 1982. Can you talk about how it was for you, how did you feel when you won the GP?

Riccardo Patrese: Of course. It was a surprise GP, because there was some confusion at the end due to the rain that fell during the last two laps. I was in second position, behind Alain Prost who was at Renault, I was at Brabham.

The rain came and a lot of things happened, he hit the fast chicane, I passed the lead, but then I did it on the penultimate lap, I started again but I thought I had lost the Grand Prix because I did it.

A few other riders got in front of me but stopped on the last lap. I crossed the finish line but I didn’t really know what position, because at that time we didn’t have the radio in the car.

I was very angry because I thought I had lost my chance to win the race. But they put me in front of the podium and at that time only the winner needed to be there. And because of that I found out that I was the winner, that was really a huge joy.

And in those days there was a gala and as the winner I was a guest of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. I spent a wonderful afternoon with them. In my memoirs, there is a special place for this victory in Monaco in 1982.

iGaming Brazil: During the Monaco GP week in 1994, you were asked to replace Ayrton Senna at Williams. I would like to know why you refused.

Riccardo Patrese: In 1994, unfortunately we lost Ayrton in Ìmola and at the next Grand Prix nobody wanted to drive his car, we were all still a little shaken up and nobody wanted him to be replaced so soon after the event.

I talked to Williams about driving Ayrton’s car, because I worked for 5 years with Williams, and I really enjoyed working with them.

There was a lot of trust between us and there was the possibility of me driving for Williams again, but also the sadness of losing a friend and a great driver like Ayrton. In the end, I had a lot on my mind and that was the moment when I really decided to retire from Formula 1.

iGaming Brazil: You lived the true golden age of Formula 1. Which driver impressed you the most and why?

Riccardo Patrese: There are 2 drivers, I believe. Ayrton and Michael Schumacher. I think even if they had inferior cars they could win races and compete in championships.

They are the only ones I see who could make a difference, there are a lot of great champions these days, but they had the right car at the right time.

And in the case of Ayrton and Michael, even they did not had the best cars, they could get victories and fight for titles.

iGaming Brazil: Thank you very much for your presence here with us.

Riccardo Patrese: Thank you.

Watch the video with the exclusive interview with Riccardo Patrese