After a stellar 2022 season in karting, Enzo Deligny will join reigning team and drivers’ champions Campos Racing in Spanish F4 and will receive the support of the Red Bull Junior Team. The French teenager – and his father, Arnaud – spoke to Feeder Series about how these two deals came to be.
By Perceval Wolff
Three months after his maiden OK win, Deligny joined TheGrid, the same management agency as F1 race winner Pierre Gasly. It’s thanks to the 2023 Alpine F1 Team driver, a member of the Red Bull stable for nearly a decade, that Deligny and Red Bull first established a connection.
“My manager is the one of Pierre, and he knows Dr. Helmut Marko and the Red Bull family very well. He introduced me to them and Helmut was really interested, so he asked for more information and he got convinced to take me into the academy.”
He often sends me kind messages after good results like “Congratulations! Carry on!”Enzo Deligny on his relationship with Pierre Gasly
Because they share a manager, Gasly and his young countryman have a cordial relationship.
“We are going to have a dinner with him at Milan soon! I haven’t talked to him about my signature with Red Bull yet. But he often sends me kind messages after good results like ‘Congratulations! Carry on!’ I think we will talk about all of this deeper when we will eat together.”
Red Bull: “a no-brainer“
Despite not having done a single race in single-seaters yet, Deligny didn’t have to wait long before receiving a proposition from an F1 Academy. “Six months ago, I was far from thinking we would realise such a season. Red Bull was undoubtedly the best choice we could have ever had. It was a no-brainer.”
“The only problem with all this will be about Enzo’s helmet!” Arnaud Deligny adds. “Enzo is really attached to his helmet’s design. It’s a design he did when he was five years old and we never changed it. It’s a local painter in Taiwan who makes it for us. We will do our best to keep this design when we add the Red Bull colours.”
Following a karting season that brought him to new heights, Deligny knew that Formula 4 and single-seaters would be the next step in his career. Very quickly, three championships stood out from the rest: French, Italian and Spanish F4.
Each of these options had their merits, but as Arnaud Deligny explains to Feeder Series, a campaign in France would not have worked out for Enzo.
“At the beginning, Guillaume Le Goff and Pierre Gasly advised us to do French F4, as Pierre did when he was younger. But the main problem with this championship is that Enzo will only turn 15 on April 17th and he would have missed the opening round of the 2023 season one week before. We wouldn’t have been able to do the whole championship. It was the main deal-breaker.”
Earning a recommendation from Tsolov
Eventually, the decision between Spanish and Italian F4 came came from Nikola Tsolov, the freshly crowned Spanish F4 champion, who talked to Campos about Deligny.
“I have known Nikola for several years now. I think we pretty much spent the whole of lockdown playing iRacing together in 2020. But I would never have thought he would talk to Campos about me. From what I heard, Campos asked him for a suggestion of a good driver to replace him next year, and Nikola mentioned me. It was clearly not something I would have expected. It was a really good surprise!
“So Campos contacted us and the feeling was instantly great, everything was straightforward. They explained to us why Spanish F4 was the best option for us,” Deligny says.
Campos asked [Nikola Tsolov] of a good driver to replace him next year. It was a really good surprise!Enzo Deligny on his recommendation by the Spanish F4 champion
Arnaud Deligny picks up the story from there. “When we saw Campos’ offer, Enzo’s manager Guillaume Le Goff told us it was the best offer we could have ever had,” he tells Feeder Series. “He will be prepared to work with an engineer; he will have extremely competitive teammates, like he had with Parolin this year. We were originally planning to do French F4 as the level there is good, everybody has the same car, it’s extremely fair. But the offer from Campos was even better.”
The 14-year-old driver from Shanghai feels prepared for his 2023 season, as he has already driven the Tatuus T-421 with Campos.
“What a feeling that was! It was so different from karting, and the team is much more professional. Everything is more organised. Before each weekend, each testing session, you get a booklet with the track and the car’s information. And the circuit has nothing to do with a karting track, it’s so much bigger, it’s really impressive.
“After each session, we then had to review the data with our personal engineer, look at the onboard. Seeing all the engineers, the radio communication when you’re in the car, the mechanics and all that, you really feel part of a team and I feel that I owe them good performances.”
It was so different from karting, and the team is much more professional. Everything is more organisedEnzo Deligny on his first taste of life in F4
Deligny impressed at the Spanish F4 post-season testing by topping several sessions at Barcelona in November and at Jerez under the rain in December. But his most impressive achievement was undoubtedly at MotorLand Aragón, where he broke the track record and became the first F4 driver ever to complete the lap in less than two minutes.
Several drivers are set to join Deligny in the Campos line-up, including Noah Strømsted and Jesse Carrasquedo Jr, who raced in Danish and Spanish F4 for the past two years, collecting several wins. But it’s not something that scares the Frenchman.
“Some people don’t like competition, but I consider that if my teammates are directly on top, it’s better for me. I will be able to learn from them and to progress more than if I had teammates that would be behind me,” he explains.
“It’s the reason I stepped up to OK this year and did not do another year in OK-Junior. It was to learn more. If I have teammates that are already performing right from the start of the season, it will push me forward, and I will be even more motivated. And when I will step up to a higher category, I will be even stronger.”
Header photo credit: Red Bull Junior Team
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