My life has become much more complicated this year: like before I am the GP2 and GP3 catering manager, and on top of that I now have responsibility for hospitality in Formula One with Pirelli and for Team Lotus! I have the same job as before, but now I take care of hospitality in Formula One as well, for Europe and for the flyaway races.
These new opportunities came from being here with GP2 for many years: Jarno (Trulli) has always come to GP2 a lot, and that was a good window for me: we always tried to create a very good ambience. So in that place most of the teams and their people come down to GP2 at different times, and they notice that there is no stress: it is a real hospitality area, what you hope to get from a nice restaurant or a bar. The series has helped so much with that: everybody is free, we have a nice space, and people like to come here.
It has given me the opportunity to come back to Formula One (Christian previously worked in hospitality for Minardi and Renault, among others), and more than this it has given a big opportunity to my whole team. I can’t do everything myself! (laughs) I try to give all my guys a little bit more responsibility, you know: it's like when you see your kids improve, and you give them an opportunity to show a little bit more what they can do and to do a bigger job with you, so that it's not just me.
But I still do a lot of my job in the same way as always: I still buy all the groceries, but now I do it for 3 teams! I just have the different teams in place, and I go back and forth between them all weekend. Of course here in Monaco this is not so easy: luckily I had the chance to steal Bruno (Michel)'s scooter, when he wasn’t looking! (laughs) So all week it was up and down, up and down, but unfortunately lunch time or dinner time is too short for me to work both here and downstairs: I think it is nearly one kilometre, and the time I have to be there is very short to cover all of the service.
The window for service is one hour for each one, so for two hours I am between here and Pirelli, moving from one to the other: it’s easy in the normal paddock, not easy if you have to go up and down all the time, and I think I lost a few kilos this week! (laughs) Today (Friday) is quite easy because Formula One is on a break, so there are just a few team members eating in hospitality (in F1) and there's not many things to do for me over there. That's why I've changed shirts and am here all day with GP2: we have a race today, and it's important that I'm here.
There are two ways for me to work: one is to be the manager and come over when it is necessary and to leave early, or else to be part of the team and be with them at breakfast, be here and let them sleep a little and be safe, and then continue. And that's what I did today: the series is on and everything is fine so I double checked that Lotus and Pirelli are going properly, the boys told me their reports, what is good and what can be better, and that's it.
Yesterday was a little bit more complicated because we had 3 series running, guests and everything, and for 2 hours it was very, very busy! We come in early and I bring the bread and croissants for everyone in my team, they come and say hello, everyone has something to eat, and then they start cooking for all the teams. At lunch time I tried to cover the 3 areas: for GP2 it started early so I was here for that and it was fine, then I went to Lotus and we pushed the trolley over to the pitlane for the mechanics, and then back to Pirelli and I did the service for lunch, a la carte, just as Pirelli want it, and then back to Lotus to give them some help. And I was satisfied: tired (laughs), very tired, but very satisfied.
Tonight we don't have a dinner here, but one of the cars has a problem because they smashed it completely, Rapax, so they have to repair the car. They don't have any prepared food, but if I'm here it's because the team needs my help: if somebody needs food, it's my job to be here. But it doesn't make sense to keep my team here to cook for just 12 people, so I decided to prepare the food and give my team a chance to have a break after 2 weeks work, and take a half day off. Everybody knows that my guys work hard so I was happy to prepare the buffet, and I can give a few free hours to my guys to relax, to sleep, and to be ready for tomorrow.
Normally on a Saturday we are here, and we have some F1 drivers and other people join us, because everybody comes here: everyone talks about racing, all the things happening in GP2, but also it is nice that sometimes they talk about the catering too, that they have a chance to come down and have a look, and to just relax with us. We are hospitality, and I say many times the meaning of hospitality is to be hospitable to everyone, so our area is my place to share some time, ten minutes, thirty minutes, have lunch, have dinner, to come here and not think about your job or your problems or anything. I want you just to come here and relax, and enjoy the food.
If this means I don’t relax, well, that is my choice! Before the season the doctor told me you can do GP2, GP3 and Formula One: I think I can do it, and I think I can do a good job, but I can only know at the end of the season. For today I am pushing hard, and I saw there are good things happening. The reports are good: there are of course some things that are not so good, which is part of the job, but I think we are having a brilliant season, and I just want to do the job they ask me to do properly.
I work my job, and I think it's the only way to do it, like a family: if you do this job just for business reasons then maybe you can realise lots of things in that way, but for me passion is still the best ingredient to do this job. When you create a family with your team, sometimes you fight about your point of view with the other 24 people, sometimes you all laugh together, but always we try to do it like that, to create something good.
If everybody believes in the same project, and we have the chance to have more work, more responsibility, then everybody can have a chance to improve. The Christian you see today was just like that 18 seasons ago in Formula One: now I have responsibility for three catering groups today, and if I hadn't learnt this from the beginning then it would mean I hadn't learnt anything! Formula One and GP2 have given me a chance: I believe that now I have to give this chance to other people.
What did you know about your teammate before?
Stefano: I heard that he was a crazy mother(blip). I don’t know why
Rodolfo: I heard you were an arrogant as*(blip)
Rodolfo: We had some trouble in F3 Euroseries.
Stefano: Did we?
Rodolfo: Yeah in Norisring. I was on the inside and you pushed me. When I got back on track we touched wheels three times on the main straight.
Stefano: I remember! (He laughs)
What are each other’s greatest strengths?
Stefano: Women. He has many pictures of women on his phone.
Rodolfo: Stefano’s greatest strengths is that he has great cars.
What are each other’s weaknesses?
Stefano: You start.
Rodolfo: You can talk too much sometimes...
Stefano: I talk too much? You talk too much during debriefs!
Rodolfo: I have to raise my voice because you are always talking!
Stefano: When there is a group meeting, I can never speak because you talk all the time.
Rodolfo: I can never talk because you talk all the time!
Stefano: okay so none of us can really talk...
They both laugh
Who always gets to the circuit the last?
Stefano: Today was the first time that Rodolfo arrived before me.
Rodolfo: No, also in Imola. But you know, we leave the hotel together, but you have a Mercedes and I have a cheap rental car so of course you get to the track sooner.
Who is the craziest one on and off the track?
Rodolfo: Off the track, him.
Stefano: On the track, him.
Rodolfo: Stefano is crazy. I have really good stories, but I cannot tell them here...
Stefano: On track, Rodolfo does crazy stuffs sometimes.
Rodolfo: It’s not crazy, I would say that I am passionate! (He laughs)
Who is the most successful with the ladies?
Rodolfo: You were quite successful in Abu Dhabi and in Turkey
Stefano: I have a girlfriend you know.
Rodolfo: I have a girlfriend also
Are you superstitious?
Stefano: Very. I can’t see any number 17 in the box or on the track. The team doesn’t show me the board on Lap 17, only lap 16 and 18. In Italy, 17 is like 13. It’s bad luck. And on a race weekend, if someone asks for the salt at the table, I always put it on the table, but don’t hand it over directly. I always jump in my car from the same side, the left one, always.
Rodolfo: I hate the number 13. I get in the car from the right side. My gloves are in different colours. I put a red glove on the left hand and a white glove on the right hand. Once I have a habit, I try to keep it.
Stefano: I will tell you a story from Macao. Things started very badly when I got the race number 17. I went to the hotel. They gave me my room key and it was number 1717, on the seventeenth floor. I started P3 and I crashed on the final race!
Who will have the best road car in ten years time?
Stefano: No idea
Rodolfo: What is the best road car anyway? I love the Cayenne, the Q7. Stefano prefers sports cars. In Venezuela, we need more 4x4 than in Monaco!
Who will have the most beautiful wife?
Stefano: I will!
Rodolfo: I will! You will see... She will be Venezuelan of course and may I remind you that Venezuela has won the most beauty pageants in the world?
How would you best describe your teammate?
Stefano: Crazy. He is completely nuts!
Who has the best fashion sense?
Rodolfo: He wears the same trainers all the time.
Stefano: No I don’t. They are different colours. Those are blue. I got them in 9 different colours. I’m a fashion addict. I love buying clothes. I go once a year and buy everything!
Rodolfo: I don’t like to spend 200 euros in a pair of shoes. Even if I was rich, I wouldn’t do it because I think it is too much. You can find really cool clothes for a really good price. I come from Venezuela and when I see something that costs 50 euros for example, it’s like 500 Bolivars and it’s money to feed an entire family and I am always very careful. I always think about that.
Who is your favourite sportsman or sportswoman?
Rodolfo: Ayrton Senna in motorsport.
Stefano: I have a lot of admiration for Zanardi after his crash. He got back in the car and won races. He is a model. He keeps fighting... It’s an amazing human story.
Rodolfo: To me, it’s Rubin Carter, the boxer. I read the book about his life. He was wrongly accused of murder. He spent twenty years fighting to prove his innocence.
Who tells the most jokes?
Stefano: I do...
Rodolfo: Half of them are really bad though.
Stefano: That’s not true!
Stefano, if you invited Rodolfo for dinner, what would you cook? Same question for Rodolfo.
Stefano: I would order in really. But if I had to cook, I would cook pasta.
Rodolfo: I’m a chef. I love pasta. I can cook really good pasta.
Stefano: Yeah, but if I come to your place you would have to make me something typical from Venezuela. Otherwise I would not come. Seriously! (Laughs)
Rodolfo: Then I would have to cook something called Arepa. Or I would make some typical dish with the shoulder of the cow which is very tender and you roast it in a sauce for a long time. The sauce is made of red wine, black beer, a lot of pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, tomato and you stuff the roast beef with truffles and a little bit of pancetta. You serve it with some white rice and some Venezuelan salad from palm heart.
Stefano: Sounds amazing!
Who has the most contacts in their phone?
Stefano: I have 311
Rodolfo: I have 147 in BBM and 220 in my phone.