The 2014 season was an odd one for Dario Franchitti – he spent the year as an advisor for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Verizon IndyCar Series program, rather than behind the wheel of his usual No. 10 Target car, following his retirement from driving.
Franchitti’s life changed in several different ways last year. It marked his first time out of the cockpit after more than 20 years, having grown up racing in Europe before shifting to North America with Carl Hogan’s Mercedes-powered team in the 1997 CART season.
He has shifted to being a TV commentator for the FIA Formula E Championship.
He also moved home to Scotland and commuted to the U.S. for events, rather than living in either Tennessee or Indianapolis as he had previously.
On a more random note, he was named as the title track in a rap song last fall – “baked ziti” was used as a rhyme to counter his surname.
Franchitti reflected on his 2014 evolution in an interview with Herald Scotland, now back in his home country and away from driving.
“I didn’t realize how tightly wound I was until I retired because I would think about racing pretty close to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I really focused,” Franchitti admitted.
Out of the cockpit, he only now realized how intense his dedication and focus to driving was.
“Sometimes you sit back and think: ‘This is mad,'” he said. “But most of the time you are thinking: ‘Right, how are we going to get them to go faster?’ But with a bit of distance you realize what seemed normal before is not normal.”
Franchitti also spoke about his new home life, which he said includes FaceTiming his dogs back in North America. He’s keeping things fairly low key, getting out occasionally and adjusting back to the culture.
“I’ve got a bunch of friends I grew up with and we go sailing and when we go on the boat, we generally don’t eat well. I’m trying hard not to [eat badly]. I mean, who doesn’t love a fry-up on a Sunday? Sliced sausage, that’s my Achilles heel, and I am a Tunnock’s addict.”
The full interview is a good one, and is linked here. It’s a decently revealing interview with the driver who prefers to stay under the radar, yet whose accomplishments from 1997 through 2013 (four IndyCar championships, three Indianapolis 500 wins and 31 career wins) rank him as one of North American open-wheel racing’s all-time greats.