Q and A with Henry Surtees Following in the footsteps of the only man to have won World Championships on two and four wheels would prove too much for some, but Henry Surtees is taking it all in his stride. At 16, Henry is about to embark on his first season in Formula BMW, and can’t wait for the first race of the season at Brands Hatch this weekend.
You raced Ginettas last year, how did your season go?
I won the first three races and I was leading the championship for about the first third of the season, but I had a bit of bad luck and had some engine trouble which put me to the back. I ended up finishing third, but I still think that had it not been for that I could have won the championship. Formula BMW is quite a contrast.
What are your hopes for the season?
Of course I want to have a strong start to the season, and I want to win the Rookie Cup or even the Championship. It might be an ambitious target, but you have to aim high. As a racing driver, you want to win in everything you do. I know I’ve got a good team under me. I like the people here and we work well together.
Carlin has a good history and background; you just have to look at all the trophies around here to see that. How does the FB-02 compare to the Ginetta you drove last year?
The car is very different to the Ginetta. It’s amazing how much speed you can take into the corners, with the downforce. It’s very different to anything else I’ve ever driven. The kart I won the championships in is probably the most comparable, as the gearbox is quite similar. Why did you choose Formula BMW as the next step? I think the FMBW championship is very good, it’s not overpowered; the car is quite forgiving, especially if you are a Rookie, and it’s good because you get associated with BMW. It’s not just about racing either; you get driver coaching, fitness training and media training too.
You’ve completed an extensive winter testing program, has that helped you prepare for the season?
I think the winter testing we have done will help us. I know a lot of teams have tested in Spain but I think its great that we have tested on English circuits in English weather, because although we’ve not had the best weather conditions, we are going to have deal with it, especially in the early parts of the season. It’s been good to get used to the car, what it does, how it reacts, on the circuits that I’m actually going to race on.
How has having a famous father affected your racing? Do you feel a lot of pressure to be as good as him?
It’s nice to have the support of my Dad and I’ve never known anything different. I’ve always had that pressure really. He’s always been him, done what he’s done. I just enjoy racing, and I’ll just get on with it and see how well I can do. He’s never pushed me into motorsport, it was actually a friend of the family that took me karting for the first time, and I loved it. My Dad was always ?Do what you want to do. If you want to do rugby, do rugby. If you want to do motorsport, do motorsport.?
Are you looking forward to your first race day in Formula BMW?
I can’t wait! I feel like we’ve been waiting ages for the first race. Hopefully we’ll get a good result, I’d like to finish as the top rookie.
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