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. Monday 28 July 2014

  2. Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic 05:00

    Video of the Day: Stories from Senna's mechanic

    Neil Trundle, former Chief Mechanic to Ayrton Senna, discusses his time working with a legend of the sport

    F1
  3. 03:00

    Championship standings after Hungary

    F1
  4. Sunday 27 July 2014

  5. Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot 19:54

    Bottas feels tyre strategy cost podium shot

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas reckons he could have been in the podium fight in Hungary if he had chosen a better tyre...

    F1
  6. Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders 18:18

    Mercedes to discuss Hungary team orders

    Mercedes says it will hold internal discussions with its drivers after the outfit issued team orders during the Hungarian...

    F1
  7. Force India drivers apologetic after incidents 17:56

    Force India drivers apologetic after incidents

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez have both apologised to their team after retiring from the Hungarian G...

    F1
  8. Button laments misleading weather forecast 17:14

    Button laments misleading weather forecast

    Jenson Button was left to lament a missed opportunity after getting caught out by false rain predictions in the Hungarian...

    F1
  9. Rosberg: First Safety Car wrecked race 16:57

    Rosberg: First Safety Car wrecked race

    Nico Rosberg says the timing of the first Safety Car period ruined his chances of winning Sunday afternoon's Hungarian Grand...

    F1
  10. 16:40

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    F1
  11. 'Nice surprise' for Alonso and Ferrari 16:39

    'Nice surprise' for Alonso and Ferrari

    Fernando Alonso says finishing on the Hungarian Grand Prix podium came as a "nice surprise" to himself and his Ferrari...

    F1
  12. Hamilton grateful to recover to podium 16:28

    Hamilton grateful to recover to podium

    Lewis Hamilton admitted that he was grateful to recover to the podium after a first lap error during the Hungarian Grand...

    F1
  13. Ricciardo: Safety Car did not hand me win 16:00

    Ricciardo: Safety Car did not hand me win

    Daniel Ricciardo says he was made to work for his Hungarian Grand Prix victory, playing down the role of two Safety Car...

    F1
  14. 15:25

    In full: Hungarian Grand Prix race result

    F1
  15. Ricciardo wins dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix 15:03

    Ricciardo wins dramatic Hungarian Grand Prix

    Daniel Ricciardo claimed the second victory of his Formula 1 career during an incident-packed Hungarian Grand Prix. The Red...

    F1
  16. 13:40

    Follow the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  17. Button tips Hamilton to finish on podium 11:37

    Button tips Hamilton to finish on podium

    Jenson Button has tipped Lewis Hamilton to recover from his qualifying woes and finish on the Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  18. 10:29

    Latest GP2 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  19. Vandoorne takes GP2 Sprint Race victory 10:28

    Vandoorne takes GP2 Sprint Race victory

    McLaren young driver Stoffel Vandoorne came out on top in the GP2 Sprint Race at the Hungaroring after taking the lead at...

    GP2
  20. 09:05

    Latest GP3 photos: Sunday at Hungaroring

    GP3
  21. Niederhauser controls second GP3 race 09:04

    Niederhauser controls second GP3 race

    Arden driver Patric Niederhauser claimed his first GP3 victory since 2012 in the second race of the weekend at the...

    GP3
  22. Briatore to assist Formula 1 popularity drive 07:00

    Briatore to assist Formula 1 popularity drive

    Ex-Formula 1 team boss Flavio Briatore is set to be involved in a new working group being put together by Bernie Ecclestone...

    F1
  23. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide – Part 6 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide – Part 6

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, continues his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
  24. 03:00

    Revised starting grid for the Hungarian GP

    F1
  25. Saturday 26 July 2014

  26. Mercedes apologises to Hamilton for fire 20:06

    Mercedes apologises to Hamilton for fire

    Mercedes has apologised to Lewis Hamilton after he suffered another technical problem during Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  27. Coletti stripped of podium, Marciello loses pole 19:42

    Coletti stripped of podium, Marciello loses pole

    Racing Engineering drivers Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello have been given post-race time penalties as a result of...

    GP2
  28. 17:09

    Latest GP3 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    GP3
  29. Stanaway holds on for Race 1 victory 17:08

    Stanaway holds on for Race 1 victory

    Richie Stanaway held off the advances of Robert Vișoiu to claim victory in the opening GP3 race of the weekend in...

    GP3
  30. Kvyat vows to learn from qualifying error 16:52

    Kvyat vows to learn from qualifying error

    Daniil Kvyat has vowed to learn from the mistake that prevented him from progressing to the final phase of qualifying in...

    F1
  31. Bianchi delighted with Q2 appearance 16:27

    Bianchi delighted with Q2 appearance

    Marussia driver Jules Bianchi was overjoyed after reaching Q2 for the second time this season during Hungarian Grand Prix...

    F1
  32. 16:03

    Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  33. Pic claims maiden GP2 win in Hungary thriller 16:02

    Pic claims maiden GP2 win in Hungary thriller

    Arthur Pic claimed his maiden GP2 victory for Campos during a thrilling Feature Race at the Hungaroring, ahead of Stefano...

    GP2
  34. Magnussen to start from pit lane after crash 15:54

    Magnussen to start from pit lane after crash

    Kevin Magnussen will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from the pit lane as a result of the damage sustained in his qualifying...

    F1
  35. 15:50

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Hungaroring

    F1
  36. Vettel: Red Bull still far off Mercedes 15:49

    Vettel: Red Bull still far off Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel has admitted that Red Bull remains a long way off the pace of runaway championship leaders Mercedes,...

    F1
  37. Bottas surprised by second row grid spot 15:36

    Bottas surprised by second row grid spot

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has admitted to feeling surprised over his third-place starting position for the Hungarian...

    F1
  38. Rosberg: I need to play it safe in the race 15:19

    Rosberg: I need to play it safe in the race

    Nico Rosberg says he will "play it safe" during the Hungarian Grand Prix, with title rival Lewis Hamilton starting at the...

    F1
  39. Räikkönen questioned Ferrari strategy 15:01

    Räikkönen questioned Ferrari strategy

    Kimi Räikkönen says he repeatedly questioned Ferrari's tyre strategy in the first phase of qualifying for the Hungarian G...

    F1
  40. Hamilton: I will struggle to score a point 14:39

    Hamilton: I will struggle to score a point

    Lewis Hamilton has said that he will struggle to salvage a point from the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver, 14...

    F1
  41. 14:29

    Hungarian GP: Full qualifying results

    F1
  42. Rosberg on pole as Hamilton hits more trouble 14:11

    Rosberg on pole as Hamilton hits more trouble

    Nico Rosberg claimed his third successive pole position during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session for the Hungarian...

    F1
  43. 12:49

    Follow qualifying for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
more news