13 May 2011

Welcome to my regular blogs

It’s about time I brought everyone up-to-date with what’s been happening over in Europe, where I am currently living and racing. The first race of the season was a little over a month ago, but since then I’ve been racing nearly every weekend which has been great.

Just to give you a little background, I’m competing in my second season of the British F3 championship, which is recognised as one of the key feeder series on the path to Formula 1. My first year in this series was a steep learning curve, with a bigger, more powerful and more aerodynamic car than I had previously driven. Most of the tracks were new to me as well, so the first part of a weekend was usually learning this before I could focus on developing the car set up. I learnt so much last year and now I need to capitalise on this.

I’m also competing in a new series called the FIA Formula 3 International Trophy, which brings together six existing F3 races and points scored in each of these count towards this championship. Some of the races, like Macau, I’ve done before, and one of the events is the Spa round of the British F3 championship, but some of the others, like Zandvoort Masters, will be new to me, but are classic events. It’s a great opportunity for me to get more racing at this level, and gain knowledge of different race tracks, which we don’t visit as part of the British F3 series.  There’s also a big prize for the top three in this series, which is qualifying for an F1 superlicence – so now you know why I decided to race in this as well!

As I write, I’ve done two rounds of the British F3 championship, which is six races – there’s always three per weekend. I’ve had three podium finishes so far, and all the other finishes have been within the top six. This has put me in joint second place of the drivers’ championship, and I’m pleased with this early season success. I need to keep this momentum going every time I’m out racing to be in with a chance of winning the title. An outright win has eluded me so far, but I’m knocking on the door and hope it will happen soon.

I’ve raced in the first of the six rounds of the F3 International Trophy, which was an F3 Euroseries event at Hockenheim. It was a big challenge, but I came away with a top ten finish and I’m lying sixth overall in the championship, which is a good start.

When I’m not racing I’m always doing something connected with it, from training and publicity events to meetings with my team and getting together with my engineer to look at last year’s data and plans for the next race. I race with Carlin in the British F3 series and often go to their HQ to spend time on a simulator, which is good preparation for racing.

Since the start of the year I’ve only managed to get back home in KL once, and that was a flying visit to join PETRONAS and Mercedes GP PETRONAS at the PETRONAS Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. I had an excellent weekend, with the chance to hang out in the team’s garage and benefit from being part of the PETRONAS family. I’m hoping to go to more F1 races if I can fit them in with my racing commitments, as I learn so much and really enjoy representing PETRONAS in the paddock.

It’s back to the cockpit for me now, I’ll catch up with you all again soon.

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