Franchitti just wants to keep going

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 10:45 AM IST

London: After chalking up two Indy 500 wins, and watching old-timers like Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher keep on going in Formula One, Dario Franchitti has every reason to race on.

The 37-year-old Scot, currently battling for his third IndyCar championship, paid a visit to the Italian Grand Prix at the weekend but has no intention of becoming a spectator any time soon.

"If you`d asked me seven years ago, I`d say I think I`ll be retired by the time I`m 35," he told reporters at Monza where he was watching his cousin Paul Di Resta take part in Friday practice for Force India as well as being a guest of Renault sponsor TW Steel on race day.

"When I got to that age I just realised I really enjoy doing what I`m doing. I just don`t want to retire, I love it. I am still competitive, the results are better than they`ve ever been."

"I want to just keep going. As long as I`m enjoying it and we`re winning races and competitive, and the two are definitely linked, I`ll keep going," added Franchitti.

"I was talking to Rubens and I watch what he does and I feel a lot of understanding, I understand what he`s going through. He`s driving probably as well as ever and just talking to him and looking at him he`s as determined as ever."

Brazilian Barrichello, 38 and now at the Williams team, is Formula One`s most experienced driver with more than 300 races under his belt.

Franchitti, married to Hollywood actress Ashley Judd, once hoped for a Formula One career but the opportunities never fell his way.

He had a test in a McLaren after winning the British young driver of the year award in 1992 and also with Jaguar, formerly the team run by fellow Scot Jackie Stewart, in 2000.

Instead he carved out a career in America, winning the prestigious Indy 500 in 2007 and 2010 and the IndyCar series title in 2007 and 2009.

A year in NASCAR proved a nightmare and he returned to IndyCar for the current season.

"It really showed me -- being away from something made me realise what I was missing driving the IndyCar, being part of the series," he said.

"And when I was away the two series (IndyCar and ChampCar) finally got back together which I had been hoping for the whole time I had been in America."

"The first time I drove the car again it was why did I go away from this?"

While Franchitti battles Australian Will Power for this year`s title, his younger cousin is hoping to be up against Barrichello and Schumacher on the Formula One grid next year.

The older Scot has no doubt Di Resta deserves to be there.

"F1 was something I dreamed about as a kid and the chance never came. For me it`s never about just being in the paddock, it`s about being able to compete for the wins...I just never felt those chances were there," he said.

"I`ve been very closely involved in Paul`s career since day one, he`s my cousin, I`ve supported him since day one and I`ve sponsored him, given him advice."

"I really believe that he is an exceptional driver."

"We`ve seen that in what he`s been able to do on the Fridays with Force India and he does it in the DTM (German Touring) car, he did it in Formula Three where he and (Red Bull`s) Sebastian (Vettel) were team mates and he won."

"I think he deserves that chance, I really hope he gets it."

Franchitti, who drove to Monza from Monaco with his younger brother Marino in two Ferraris, said he had not been able previously to watch Di Resta live at the track and was suitably impressed.

"I got to stand in the garage and it was great to just stand there and watch him...listen on the radio, listen to his feedback, watch him learn the track, get up to speed."

"He`s bloody good, he`s really great to watch. Hopefully he gets the chance to show people really what he can do."

Bureau Report