Exclusive interview with Robert Wickens

Exclusive interview with Robert Wickens

10 October 2011 – Sunday saw Canada’s Robert Wickens clinch the 2011 World Series by Renault title at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, with a collision having occurred between himself and Carlin team-mate Jean-Éric Vergne. The 22-year-old Virgin Racing F1 reserve driver took time out after the race to discuss the latest with GPUpdate.net.

Rob Wickens, well done – you are the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Champion…
Yes, sounds pretty good! (laughs)

First of all, the title-deciding race. We had a very interesting scenario – what was your version of events?
At the beginning of the day that wasn’t how I expected everything to pan out. I didn’t have a start which I can particularly brag out, it wasn’t great – me and Albert (Costa) got off the line together but third (Anton Nebylitskiy) had a fantastic start and got between the both of us. I was conceding third but then I got blocked a bit by Albert, because he had a decent gap at this point and didn’t really have to defend into the first corner; he went to the outside, but I was there, but then he braked really early – maybe because yesterday he went wide and what have you.

There was nowhere I could go so, to defend myself, I went over to the inside; I had a look in my mirrors, there was no-one there, everything was good. Then, all of a sudden, at the apex of Turn 1 I got a big whack in the sidepod. In my view, I wasn’t given much space and was past the point of no return. We (Wickens and Vergne) made contact and it broke my suspension; from there I just couldn’t steer and I feel terrible for (Nathanaël) Berthon because there was nothing he could have done and I just was trying to turn. I hope he is alright; I know he was taken away in the ambulance but I’m sure it’s just for precautionary checks.

Away from the incident today, how do you sum up your season?
On the whole, it’s been one of the best years of my career. I was up at the front almost every weekend, challenging for wins, and my engineer Paul Wallace did a fantastic job, always having a car that can be there in qualifying. To end with seven or eight podiums – it would have been eight podiums if Monza had counted, because I had that grid penalty – but definitely in my eyes I think it’s pretty impressive.

I’m really happy with the year. I think we were a consistent front-runner along the way and I hope everyone down the pit lane saw us as a threat on-track every time; that was a goal I had going into the start of the year and I think I can walk away feeling that I accomplished that.

Your name is already quite well-known, thanks to your role with the Virgin Racing Formula 1 team. How much has that helped you this year?
I have learned a lot, just as the reserve driver. You can’t really carry much over into the World Series by Renault because it’s a completely different car and a completely different operation – you go from 47 people on one team to ten here at Carlin on two cars. But I have loved the experience from Virgin and doing an aero test was great. I definitely want to be in Formula 1 more now than ever before.


You must at least be hoping for some F1 Friday drives next year…
Yes, but at the end of the day it’s not my decision. I’m a race car driver, I want to race and I want to race in Formula 1. From my side I feel like I’m ready for Formula 1 and maybe we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Do you speak much with Canadian compatriot Jacques Villeneuve?
Not at all! I met Jacques when I was 16 at a BMW dinner, because I was racing in Formula BMW and he was at BMW Sauber; he shook my hand and said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and that’s the extent of my experience with Jacques Villeneuve. So, no, we don’t speak at all (laughs).

Wickens and Carlin celebrate the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 title in Barcelona
Apart from Formula 1, we now have a few months until the proper racing action resumes. Do you have anything planned for 2012?
I have absolutely nothing. Hopefully now I’ll have a bit of fighting power for next year! We’ll just have to see where it goes. It’s not really up to me, I don’t have personal money to go anywhere; it’s up to the sponsors and to Marussia about what they want to do and hopefully I can maybe gather a bit more myself.


Robert Wickens was talking to GPUpdate.net’s Gregory Haines
Twitter: @GregoryHainesF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Tuesday 21 February 2017

  2. Video: Hildebrand visor cam at Sonoma 10:02

    Video: Hildebrand visor cam at Sonoma

    Take a few laps around Sonoma Raceway with Ed Carpenter Racing driver J. R. Hildebrand.

    Indy
  3. Magnussen: Improving on 2016 not a given 09:26

    Magnussen: Improving on 2016 not a given

    Haas newcomer Kevin Magnussen says improving on the team's 2016 results is not a "given", in spite of its increased experience…

    F1
  4. Horner: RBR has most exciting line-up 07:16

    Horner: RBR has most exciting line-up

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner reckons Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen represent the most exciting driver line-up…

    F1
  5. Video of the Day: Horner on 2017 season 05:00

    Video of the Day: Horner on 2017 season

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner looks ahead to the 2017 season and a new Formula 1 era.

    F1
  6. Monday 20 February 2017

  7. 17:02

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  8. Video: Ricciardo onboard in Houston 15:42

    Video: Ricciardo onboard in Houston

    Go onboard with Daniel Ricciardo during his recent demo at ExxonMobil's HQ in Houston, Texas.

    F1
  9. 'Overtaking could be easier with 2017 cars' 13:32

    'Overtaking could be easier with 2017 cars'

    Red Bull's technical chiefs have suggested that Formula 1's new cars could create more overtaking opportunities than previous…

    F1
  10. Horner: Renault has had a 'big winter' 12:04

    Horner: Renault has had a 'big winter'

    Christian Horner is hopeful that his Red Bull team can be a "real challenger" in 2017, given the changes engine supplier Renault…

    F1
  11. Video: 2017 Formula 1 tyres explained 11:04

    Video: 2017 Formula 1 tyres explained

    Get the lowdown on Pirelli's 2017 Formula 1 tyres, and their expected impact, in this video from Mercedes.

    F1
  12. Kaltenborn: 'Great opportunities' at Sauber 11:01

    Kaltenborn: 'Great opportunities' at Sauber

    Monisha Kaltenborn reckons Sauber now has "great opportunities" to move back up the Formula 1 pecking order, following the…

    F1
  13. 10:54

    Gallery: Red Bull KTM MotoGP livery

    MotoGP
  14. KTM unveils livery for 2017 MotoGP entry 10:52

    KTM unveils livery for 2017 MotoGP entry

    KTM has formally unveiled its 2017 MotoGP bike and team during a presentation at its factory in Munderfing, ahead of its…

    MotoGP
  15. Hamilton: 'Zero problems' at Mercedes 10:30

    Hamilton: 'Zero problems' at Mercedes

    Lewis Hamilton has moved to clarify comments he made about data-sharing in Formula 1, insisting that he has "zero problems" with…

    F1
  16. Sauber presents new Formula 1 car 09:34

    Sauber presents new Formula 1 car

    Sauber has formally presented its 2017 Formula 1 challenger, the Ferrari-powered C36, in an online launch, to kick-start a busy…

    F1
  17. Wolff, Lauda extend deals through 2020 09:10

    Wolff, Lauda extend deals through 2020

    Mercedes has announced that Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have signed new contracts which will keep them with the World Champion…

    F1
  18. Di Resta to stay as Williams reserve driver 09:07

    Di Resta to stay as Williams reserve driver

    Paul di Resta will remain as Williams' reserve driver for the 2017 season. Di Resta, 30, joined Williams in a reserve role in…

    F1
  19. Ferrari youngsters join Prema in Formula 4 09:00

    Ferrari youngsters join Prema in Formula 4

    Ferrari Driver Academy members Enzo Fittipaldi and Marcus Armstrong will join Prema in Formula 4 in 2017, for their first…

    Misc
  20. Grosjean keen to utilise Pirelli wet running 07:56

    Grosjean keen to utilise Pirelli wet running

    Haas driver Romain Grosjean says gathering data from Pirelli's wet tyres during pre-season testing will be crucial, due to the…

    F1
  21. Video of the Day: Stroll on 2017 hopes 05:37

    Video of the Day: Stroll on 2017 hopes

    Canadian teenager Lance Stroll discusses his hopes for his rookie Formula 1 season with Williams.

    F1
  22. Sunday 19 February 2017

  23. Magnussen to get first taste of VF-17 15:35

    Magnussen to get first taste of VF-17

    Haas has confirmed its driver line-up for the pair of pre-season tests at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with new recruit…

    F1
  24. Hamilton: New Mercedes 'looks like a boat' 14:44

    Hamilton: New Mercedes 'looks like a boat'

    Lewis Hamilton says that Mercedes' new Formula 1 challenger, the W08 Hybrid, "looks like a boat" due to the new regulations…

    F1
  25. 13:44

    Formula E standings after Buenos Aires

    FE
  26. Buemi relieved to overcome brake complaint 13:42

    Buemi relieved to overcome brake complaint

    Reigning Formula E champion Sébastien Buemi expressed his relief at overcoming a brake issue with his second car as he…

    FE
  27. Video: Buenos Aires ePrix highlights 12:14

    Video: Buenos Aires ePrix highlights

    Watch race highlights from the Buenos Aires ePrix, the third round of the 2016/17 Formula E championship.

    FE
  28. Hellmund: Brazil result led to Manor demise 11:25

    Hellmund: Brazil result led to Manor demise

    US-based Tavo Hellmund says that Manor falling out of the top 10 in the championship standings late last season ended his and…

    F1
  29. King confident of GP2 championship fight 10:14

    King confident of GP2 championship fight

    British racer Jordan King is confident that he can challenge for the GP2 championship in 2017 after committing to a third season…

    GP2
  30. Video of the Day: Bottas on racing Hamilton 05:38

    Video of the Day: Bottas on racing Hamilton

    Valtteri Bottas talks about linking up with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and his hopes for the 2017 season.

    F1
  31. Saturday 18 February 2017

  32. 20:00

    Latest Formula E photos: Buenos Aires ePrix

    FE
  33. Buemi cruises to third straight FE victory 19:59

    Buemi cruises to third straight FE victory

    Renault e.dams driver Sébastien Buemi extended his lead in the Formula E championship to 29 points by maintaining his unbeaten…

    FE
  34. Brawn wary F1 changes will take time 15:12

    Brawn wary F1 changes will take time

    Ross Brawn says any changes Formula 1 implements in the future will "have to tick some boxes", though has warned that such…

    F1
  35. Video: Toyota Racing Series highlights 13:03

    Video: Toyota Racing Series highlights

    Watch highlights of the recent New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series, won by Thomas Randle.

    Toyota
  36. Combined times: Phillip Island MotoGP test 11:22

    Combined times: Phillip Island MotoGP test

    MotoGP gathered at Phillip Island, the picturesque home of the Australian Grand Prix, for its second three-day group pre-season…

    MotoGP
  37. Overview: Biggest F1 stories of the winter 09:32

    Overview: Biggest F1 stories of the winter

    Away from team factories, Formula 1's winter period is usually a calm affair. But the 2016/17 off-season was packed with big…

    F1
  38. Video of the Day: F1 2017 aero explained 05:44

    Video of the Day: F1 2017 aero explained

    Get the lowdown on F1's major aerodynamic changes for 2017 in this Mercedes technical feature.

    F1
  39. Friday 17 February 2017

  40. Hamilton sees city races as future for F1 19:18

    Hamilton sees city races as future for F1

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton believes new Formula 1 owner Liberty Media needs to concentrate its efforts on city-based events…

    F1
  41. Lorenzo focused on feeling, not times 16:08

    Lorenzo focused on feeling, not times

    Jorge Lorenzo says that establishing a comfortable feeling with Ducati's Desmosedici GP17 is of more importance to him than fast…

    MotoGP
  42. Video: López tours Buenos Aires in FE car 14:02

    Video: López tours Buenos Aires in FE car

    DS Virgin's José María López drives around the streets of Buenos Aires, ahead of Saturday's ePrix.

    FE
  43. Rossi 'not very happy' after second test 12:01

    Rossi 'not very happy' after second test

    Valentino Rossi declared himself "not very happy" at the end of MotoGP's Phillip Island test, after lapping significantly slower…

    MotoGP
  44. Honda 'getting closer' with electronics 11:19

    Honda 'getting closer' with electronics

    Marc Márquez says that Honda is "getting closer" to achieving the optimal level with its electronics package, after the second…

    MotoGP
  45. Wehrlein to miss first pre-season test 09:42

    Wehrlein to miss first pre-season test

    Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein has confirmed that he will miss the first of two pre-season tests at the Circuit de…

    F1
more news