And so, the 20 -year-old succeeds Marvin Kirchhöfer, entering the record books as the sixth champion of the ADAC's high-speed academy. Picariello did something quite unique in Formel ADAC on his way to winning: The ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. driver led the championship standings from the first race at the season opener at the etropolis Motorsport Arena Oschersleben without a break, staking his claim to the title at an early stage. So far, Picariello has won ten out of 20 races this season, securing 14 podium finishes in all. He achieved six fastest laps in his second Formel ADAC, season, giving further proof of his excellent speed. Next to 2010 champion Richie Stanaway, Picariello is the most successful driver in the history of the junior series with a total of twelve victories.
Changing team early in season pays off
Picariello's change of team at the beginning of the year to ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. has really paid off. He said: "Driving for this team is really something special," adding, by way of thanks for all their support. "They go about their work in a very serious, purposeful manner, and yet the atmosphere remains excellent at all times."
After achieving two wins in his debut year in Formel ADAC, Picariello was one of the favourites to clinch the title in view of his experience and has lived up to expectations. Picariello: "I was not thinking before the season began in terms of specific targets or of a certain number of wins. I always try to do my best. That was very important to me to develop further as a racing driver."
Picariello first came into contact with motor racing at the age of four when the ambitious youngster posted his first laps in a go-kart. He began contesting karting championships a few years later, and with some success; Picariello won the Belgian championship three times between 2005 and 2008. His father Gianni was always at his side and has actively supported his son ever since he took his first steps in racing. Dad even worked on junior's go-kart in the early years. Picariello likes to do his bit in return for all the support that his family have given him. "My life revolves around motor racing for the most part, but I help out in my parent's restaurant whenever I'm free," he said. Picariello was born in Belgium in Gosselies but his loyalties are split: "My father is Italian and I just adore the Mediterranean lifestyle."
Picariello: "My big dream is Formula 1"
Picariello took a big step towards fulfilling his dream by lifting the championship title. "My big dream is Formula 1," he said. "But I am realistic and know that the path can be tricky. Still, it appeared at first that it would not be possible to drive for ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V. during 2013, but it happened, so I now know that nothing is impossible."
Picariello, who includes Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher among his role models in motorsport, had an idea for something special this season: he would stick a Pokémon sticker on his Formel ADAC racing car powered by Volkswagen to mark each victory. So far, he has ten yellow stickers of the cute little Pikachu character adorning the sides of his car to celebrate his many victories. "We used to play Pokémon when we were karting and give each other nicknames," said Picariello, explaining how it all came about. "I got the name Pikachu since I always wore yellow overalls and have kept it to this day."
Bringing on Formel ADAC juniors has a long tradition and has provided a springboard for many future motor racing aces down the years. In the past, Formula 1 drivers such as three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hülkenberg, plus DTM stars, including Martin Tomczyk and Timo Glock, all began their successful careers in various ADAC junior open-wheel racing series. Last year's champion, ADAC Sports Foundation protégé Marvin Kirchhöfer moved up to the ATS Formula 3 Cup after his Formel ADAC triumph.