Ricky en route to IndyCar

Ricky en route to IndyCarMention Max Verstappen, the youngest race-winner in Formula One at 18 and national karting champion Ricky Donison, also 18, snaps back, "I am not following this route. Those following that route are under pressure. If they don't start early, they are screwed. To get into Formula One, you need money, big sponsorship and contacts as well. It's very difficult to get into F1."

It's been a while since we had an Indian in the driver's seat of an F1 car. Many years have passed since Narain Karthikeyan (2012) and Karun Chandhok (2010) raced and the future too looks dim. F1 is after all the most popular motorsport racing in India and every aspiring racer wants to get there by starting with karting.

Not Ricky though. "My plans are to follow the road to IndyCar," Ricky, who notched up a win in the first round of the JK Tyre-FMSCI National Rotax Championship on Sunday, said. "It's big in America, almost as big as Nascar. The biggest motorsport action in the world is the Indy500, which happened a week ago. That's done in an oval track. The IndyCar series has street races and two oval tracks as well."

The London-born city import Ricky is also second overall in the Rotax Asia Challenge, after claiming a win at the Sepang Karting circuit last week. He has got a good rivalry going with Indonesian driver Sylvano Christian and trails the latter by five points with two more rounds to go. Ricky's dominance in the country is undoubtable but the road ahead is quite tough. Ricky, on his part, is confident of making it. "In F1, you start with Karting, F4, F3, GP2 and then hopefully make it to F1," he said.

"In IndyCar, there's the USF2000 series, equivalent to F4. If you finish in the top-three of that, you are given a scholarship and a car. Formula Mazda is F3's equivalent and then you top that, you go to Indy Lights, a developmental series for IndyCar. Most pros don't wanna move up because they get paid a lot in that series itself but the ultimate goal is the Indy500 race for me."

Ricky Donison (right) in action at the National Rotax Championship

And for it, Ricky has already started his homework. He's working on his fitness, doing a couple of simulation rounds and by the end of the year, hopes to do well at the Formula BMW and Formula Renault testings later this year. "When it comes to karting, your neck, ribs and back are affected a lot because of the bumps in the track and the speed," he said. "And because your kart is at the ground level, you feel it all the more. In cars, your neck has to be stable, otherwise it gets painful. You also need strong arms and legs because you have to slam the brake as hard as you can. When you sit in a car too, your heart rate increases and you have to learn to be relaxed otherwise it's dangerous."

Up next for Ricky is round two of the national karting event later this month on June 24 but a small visit to England before that awaits him. "I am going to England later this week," he added. "I train with Porsche in Silverstone, where McLaren test driver Oliver Rolland and Mark Webber also train. I do simulation with Fortec, the biggest F3 team in England. Simulation is important because it helps you learn all the tracks in the world. You also get a feel of how to handle the car without getting into it.
Whenever you are racing and you see any sign in the car, you are able to recognize it and brake or turn accordingly." Aravind Suchindran/Bangalore Mirror Bureau

Leave a Reply