Bathgate’s Dario Franchitti claimed he has “no regrets” as he held his first news conference in America since announcing his retirement from racing.
And the triple Indy500 winner, and four-times IndyCar champ, revealed he has been boosted by the number of supporting calls from people he ranks as his “heroes”.
“Jackie (Stewart) called me when I was at my mum and dad’s house in Scotland, and he was at the F1 US grand prix at Austin,” the 40-year-old explained yesterday. “That meant a lot. Then I got a call from my old friend Alex Zanardi, who had a couple of ideas about what we could do in the future.
“As you know, I’m a great lover of the history of our sport, and to know people I rank as my heroes have reached out to me offering their support has meant a huge amount.”
Franchitti, who was keen to emphasise that “Scotland will always be my home”, did acknowledge how strongly he feels about the States.
“People have always asked if I have any regrets in my career, and usually that’s accompanied by the question of, ‘do you wish you’d raced in Formula One?’” Franchitti continued.
“I have no regrets. As I said, Scotland will always be my home, but whenever I got on to a racetrack in the US, America was my home. I’ve always loved the way you guys put on a race meeting. It’s brilliant.”
Franchitti, advised by doctors not to race again for fear of causing permanent damage following the severe concussion and broken vertebra he received in the high-speed crash in Houston at the beginning of October, looked at ease in the 20-minute conference.
Arriving on the stage on crutches, as his broken right ankle continues to heal, Franchitti was flanked by the Borg-Warner Trophy (Indy500) and the Astor Cup (IndyCar Championship). The conference, held at the HQ of his Chip Ganassi Racing team in Indianapolis, also allowed the Scot to touch on his plans for the future.
“Chip and I are talking about how we can go forward, and the role I can play,” he said. “Whatever I do next, I know I have to do it properly.”