Dan Ticktum on ‘Character Building’, F2 and Life within Williams Academy

In an exclusive interview, Dan Ticktum has candidly spoken about his rise up the motorsport ladder and looks ahead to the future. (Image credit: DAMS)

With 2020 fast hurdling towards its conclusion, we caught up with Formula Two’s Dan Ticktum to discuss life in junior categories and how he bounced back from an one-year absence to ‘make the best with what you’ve got.’

Ticktum has enjoyed a mixed season with luck often failing to swing his way but he candidly talks about various lessons which he has learned from throughout his junior career from karting all the way up to F2.

The 21 year-old also looks ahead to other racing series which he wishes to attempt in the future whilst keeping his ultimate aim of F1 within sight.

 

Who inspired you to become a racing driver?

Ticktum: “There’s not one particular person, I think my passion for cars has played the biggest part. I however was a big fan of Lewis Hamilton growing up when I was 6/7 years-old watching him finish second in his first season of F1.”

 

You enjoyed a successful karting career but what was it like to make that switch to single seater racing, especially because you enjoyed a successful start in the MSA Formula series in 2015?

Ticktum: “It’s so different, it’s almost like a different discipline. The biggest differences are the sizes and the weight, but the best things that you learn in karting are race crafts and how to mentally prepare for different scenarios, like what mindset will help you to nail a lap in qualifying.

“I don’t think I struggled much making the step up, I was quite quick to find my feet.”

 

2017-18 saw you enjoy success at the Macau Grand Prix on top of a seventh placed finish in Formula Eurocup before missing out on the 2018 F3 title to Mick Schumacher. From your perspective, what was the biggest lesson that you took from this period as you adapted back to full-time racing following a one-year absence? 

Ticktum: “I think they were very good character building years. I think the biggest lesson, which I’ve learnt a lot throughout my career is to make the best with what you’ve got. That year {2018} reinforced that not everything will go your way and it won’t be easy even when things are seemingly in your favour.”

 

2019 saw you depart Red Bull’s Junior Programme and endure a tough year before reuniting with DAMS this season in F2. How excited were you to re-join the team after having previously enjoyed solid success in latter rounds of 2017 GP3 season and already gained F2 experience at 2018 Abu Dhabi GP with Arden?

Dan Ticktum has enjoyed a solid rookie F2 campaign after reuniting with DAMS. (Image credit: DAMS)

Ticktum: “I was very happy and privileged to have joined DAMS full-time for the year. We had a strong relationship from 2017 and fortunately we were able to pick up from where we left off. It’s just a shame that we have struggled to understand the tyre but it was nice to have won at Silverstone for them.”

 

This season has proven particularly tough with lockdown then luck often not falling your way with Spa and Monza Sprint Races being two notable examples on top of an ‘out of context’ radio message at Silverstone. Looking back now at 2020, how do you reflect on this challenging season yet one full of learning which you can take forward into 2021?

Ticktum: “Lot of little lessons, like race pace management and positioning in qualifying. Things that I already know but with a lot more polishing and fine tuning.”

 

You’re also a part of Williams’ new Driver Academy so what is it like to be a part of their Academy, especially given your previous experience within Red Bull’s setup?

Ticktum is a member of Williams’ Young Driver Academy in what he describes as a ‘proud’ moment. (Image credit: Williams F1)

Ticktum: “I’m very privileged to have been picked up by Williams and it was an honour to have joined them while the family was still involved, to join the heritage that Frank and Claire Williams have built from the ground up is very humbling.

“A very proud to be British moment.”

 

Finally, what are your ambitions for the future and especially if you don’t reach F1 now that Formula E is on the scene?

Ticktum: “Formula E has some great opportunities, it’s such close racing and I love street circuits. You also go to some of the most incredible places in the world and it’s only going to get better and go further.

“Outside of the box, I would love to have a go in NASCAR, it’s very different but Formula One is still very much my end goal.”

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