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. Saturday 28 May 2016

  2. Video of the Day: McLaren's 50 years in F1 05:27

    Video of the Day: McLaren's 50 years in F1

    McLaren celebrates its 50 years in F1 with a special film, presented by team partner Richard Mille.

    F1
  3. Friday 27 May 2016

  4. Giovinazzi penalised, Matsushita gets pole 17:22

    Giovinazzi penalised, Matsushita gets pole

    Nobuharu Matsushita will start GP2's Sprint Race from pole position on Saturday following a penalty for Prema's Antonio…

    GP2
  5. 16:34

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  6. Video: Ferrari's Monaco technical guide 15:32

    Video: Ferrari's Monaco technical guide

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison talks about the demands of the Monte-Carlo street circuit.

    F1
  7. Kvyat feeling 'better and better' in STR11 13:06

    Kvyat feeling 'better and better' in STR11

    Daniil Kvyat says that his feeling at the wheel of Toro Rosso's STR11 is getting "better and better" on a lap-by-lap basis as he…

    F1
  8. Markelov takes maiden win in GP2 thriller 11:46

    Markelov takes maiden win in GP2 thriller

    Artem Markelov surged from 15th on the grid and profited from a litany of Virtual Safety Car (VSC) periods to provisionally…

    GP2
  9. Haryanto misses long runs due to crash 11:22

    Haryanto misses long runs due to crash

    Manor driver Rio Haryanto was left to rue the lack of any meaningful long runs during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, after…

    F1
  10. Video: Sauber drivers on Monaco GP 10:03

    Video: Sauber drivers on Monaco GP

    Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson talk about the challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix.

    F1
  11. Sauber expects to resolve issues 'shortly' 09:24

    Sauber expects to resolve issues 'shortly'

    Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has expressed confidence that Sauber will resolve its financial issues in the near future…

    F1
  12. Baz confirmed to miss Catalan Grand Prix 08:12

    Baz confirmed to miss Catalan Grand Prix

    Avintia rider Loris Baz will miss next weekend's MotoGP round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as a result of the injuries…

    MotoGP
  13. Pirelli pleased with full Ultra Soft debut 07:42

    Pirelli pleased with full Ultra Soft debut

    Pirelli hailed a positive start with its new Ultra Soft tyre compound as the purple-marked rubber made its race weekend debut on…

    F1
  14. Gasly to start from pits after penalty 07:28

    Gasly to start from pits after penalty

    GP2 Series leader Pierre Gasly must start today's Monaco Feature Race from the pit lane after failing to stop at the weighbridge…

    GP2
  15. Video of the Day: FI drawing challenge 05:12

    Video of the Day: FI drawing challenge

    Force India drivers Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg take part in a special Monaco drawing challenge.

    F1
  16. Thursday 26 May 2016

  17. 19:02

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday in Monaco

    F1
  18. Button 'lucky' in drain cover incident 18:53

    Button 'lucky' in drain cover incident

    Jenson Button says he felt "lucky" to escape unharmed after his car struck a drain cover during first practice for the Monaco…

    F1
  19. Rosberg expecting 'very close' battle 16:24

    Rosberg expecting 'very close' battle

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is expecting a "very close" fight with Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix, given the times posted in…

    F1
  20. Sirotkin flies to GP2 pole in Monaco 16:19

    Sirotkin flies to GP2 pole in Monaco

    ART driver Sergey Sirotkin secured pole position for ART Grand Prix during GP2's qualifying session after a stunning final lap…

    GP2
  21. Vettel: Ferrari better than practice display 15:34

    Vettel: Ferrari better than practice display

    Sebastian Vettel is adamant that Ferrari has a competitive car at the Monaco Grand Prix, despite a low key start to the…

    F1
  22. Ricciardo 'in a good window' after first day 15:07

    Ricciardo 'in a good window' after first day

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says he is in "a pretty good window" after topping the first day of practice for the Monaco…

    F1
  23. 14:34

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  24. Ricciardo puts Red Bull on top in FP2 14:32

    Ricciardo puts Red Bull on top in FP2

    Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull at the top of the timesheets during Thursday afternoon's second free practice session for the…

    F1
  25. 12:52

    Follow second practice for the Monaco GP!

    F1
  26. 10:37

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  27. Hamilton edges out Rosberg in FP1 10:35

    Hamilton edges out Rosberg in FP1

    Lewis Hamilton edged out Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during Thursday morning's first practice session for the Monaco Grand…

    F1
  28. Bianchi family sue over 'avoidable' death 10:23

    Bianchi family sue over 'avoidable' death

    Jules Bianchi's family has announced that it will be taking legal action in the UK against the FIA, the Formula One Group and…

    F1
  29. Pirelli announces Germany compounds 08:58

    Pirelli announces Germany compounds

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound selections for the German Grand Prix, with the red-marked Super Soft…

    F1
  30. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Monaco GP!

    F1
  31. Wehrlein downplays 2017 Mercedes chance 08:36

    Wehrlein downplays 2017 Mercedes chance

    Pascal Wehrlein has insisted that he is not thinking about a Mercedes seat in 2017, despite Nico Rosberg being out of contact at…

    F1
  32. GP2 confirms Monaco qualifying groups 08:02

    GP2 confirms Monaco qualifying groups

    GP2 Series organisers have confirmed the qualifying groups for this weekend's second round of the season in Monaco. Under GP2…

    GP2
  33. Video of the Day: Räikkönen looks to Monaco 05:08

    Video of the Day: Räikkönen looks to Monaco

    Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen discusses the challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of this weekend's event.

    F1
  34. Wednesday 25 May 2016

  35. 18:04

    Latest F1 photos: Wednesday in Monaco

    F1
  36. Bianchi family unveils foundation for youngsters 18:03

    Bianchi family unveils foundation for youngsters

    The family of Jules Bianchi have unveiled a foundation created in his name, the Jules Bianchi Society, in order to support young…

    F1
  37. Hamilton: Crash reaction reflects maturity 16:26

    Hamilton: Crash reaction reflects maturity

    Lewis Hamilton believes that the way both he and Nico Rosberg reacted to their collision at the Spanish Grand Prix reflects the…

    F1
  38. Bottas hopes to end Monaco drought 14:39

    Bottas hopes to end Monaco drought

    Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams can implement the lessons learned across the past few seasons as he chases his first…

    F1
  39. Ricciardo, Magnussen get Renault upgrades 14:04

    Ricciardo, Magnussen get Renault upgrades

    Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen will receive upgraded Renault engines this weekend, after the B-spec power unit was sampled…

    F1
  40. Ericsson: Monaco best Sauber chance so far 13:30

    Ericsson: Monaco best Sauber chance so far

    Marcus Ericsson believes this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix provides Sauber with its best opportunity of a top 10 finish so far in…

    F1
  41. Pérez: Tyre degradation hurting race pace 11:56

    Pérez: Tyre degradation hurting race pace

    Sergio Pérez believes tyre degradation is the reason why Force India cannot currently match the likes of rivals Toro Rosso and…

    F1
  42. Rabat has successful shoulder surgery 10:46

    Rabat has successful shoulder surgery

    Marc VDS has confirmed that MotoGP rookie Tito Rabat has started rehabilitation process following his crash at last weekend's…

    MotoGP
  43. Canamasas keeps Carlin seat for Monaco 10:18

    Canamasas keeps Carlin seat for Monaco

    Sergio Canamasas will once again compete for Carlin at the second round of the GP2 Series in Monaco, as championship organisers…

    GP2
  44. London ePrix set for season three change 10:09

    London ePrix set for season three change

    This season's Formula E finale around Battersea Park in London has been given the green light, though the championship will need…

    FE
more news