Not being back for Raya was difficult for me. I have to admit to being a little jealous of all of you who got to spend time with your families and eating home made food, cakes and other Malaysian delicacies. Unfortunately I could not come back to Malaysia this year simply because I chose not to.
Of course I would love to be around my family and friends, but all of that eating would have ruined all the training I have put in to improve my physical well-being, something that is extremely important at this level of motorsports. Instead of adding a few extra kilos, I chose to add muscle. I spent hours on a bike, rode it for miles in a day, exploring new routes and finding new limits of my physical abilities.
I recently spent time at a training camp just outside of London. There were other top racing drivers and athletes. All of them absolutely killed themselves to find how far they could go, and so did I. I was shattered after each day and the pain was just surreal. But at the end of it, I told myself, I wouldn’t have trained as hard as I did with these athletes if I chose to go home for Raya. I would not have put in the same hours of quality training.
I must say that I have developed a lot as an individual in the past few months. I learned that being outside of your comfort zone builds you up as a person, both physically and mentally. My people skills have also improved tremendously as you learn how to communicate with different people and learn to work as a team. Staying in a different environment with different cultures certainly opened my eyes to things I would have normally not taken seriously.
All of those things may sound minor, but it helps a lot in my racing and my ultimate dream of being a Formula 1 driver. Physical ability helps, but you also need to be mentally prepared, and I have been putting hours into improving and developing to be a better driver, and I proved that with the podium finishes in the World Series by Renault which is also my first time in the series, and the wins on my return to British Formula 3.
World Series by Renault starts again later this month and I cannot wait to get back to my car and start racing again. I want to learn, I want to improve, I will not stop until there is nothing left to achieve. I also want to thank all of you who have believed in me and have stood by me all these years. I could not have done it without your constant support.