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. Thursday 5 March 2015

  2. 16:41

    Subscribe for GPUpdate Manager 2015!

    F1
  3. Speed joins Vergne at Andretti for Miami 16:20

    Speed joins Vergne at Andretti for Miami

    Andretti Autosport has confirmed that Scott Speed will make his Formula E debut at next weekend's Miami round, alongside...

    FE
  4. Manor in talks with 'quick young guys' 15:17

    Manor in talks with 'quick young guys'

    Manor's President and Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon says the squad is in discussions with a few 'quick young' drivers and...

    F1
  5. Weekend deadline for German Grand Prix 11:16

    Weekend deadline for German Grand Prix

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says that the future of the German Grand Prix needs to be resolved by this weekend,...

    F1
  6. Van der Garde takes legal action against Sauber 10:25

    Van der Garde takes legal action against Sauber

    Giedo van der Garde is taking legal action against Sauber, claiming that he was unfairly dismissed from the team with which...

    F1
  7. Stöckinger to make GP2 debut with Status 09:05

    Stöckinger to make GP2 debut with Status

    Status Grand Prix has confirmed that Lotus F1 junior driver Marlon Stöckinger will make his GP2 debut with the squad in...

    GP2
  8. Jaafar switches to Fortec for FR3.5 campaign 08:05

    Jaafar switches to Fortec for FR3.5 campaign

    Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar will race for Fortec Motorsports in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Jaafar made...

    FR 3.5
  9. Video of the Day: Ice driving with Rosberg 05:22

    Video of the Day: Ice driving with Rosberg

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg shows off his ice driving skills ahead of the new Formula 1 season.

    F1
  10. Wednesday 4 March 2015

  11. Manor confirms it will race in Australia 16:40

    Manor confirms it will race in Australia

    Manor has confirmed that it will return to competition and race in next weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix,...

    F1
  12. Pirelli names tyre choices for first four races 14:27

    Pirelli names tyre choices for first four races

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound nominations for the first four races of the season in Australia,...

    F1
  13. Ricciardo answers GPUpdate reader questions 14:02

    Ricciardo answers GPUpdate reader questions

    Last month, GPUpdate.net gave readers the opportunity to pose questions to Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. We picked out a...

    F1
  14. Marciello to get practice outing in Malaysia 11:26

    Marciello to get practice outing in Malaysia

    Sauber test and reserve driver Raffaele Marciello has announced that he will take part in the opening free practice session...

    F1
  15. Lotus pleased with engine, chassis gains 10:14

    Lotus pleased with engine, chassis gains

    Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester reckons the team is in a much stronger position this year with its new...

    F1
  16. Pons confirms Merhi for 2015 season 09:38

    Pons confirms Merhi for 2015 season

    Pons Racing has signed Roberto Merhi for the upcoming Formula Renault 3.5 campaign. The Spaniard, 23, made his series...

    FR 3.5
  17. F1 2015: How did each team fare at Barcelona? 08:12

    F1 2015: How did each team fare at Barcelona?

    After eight more days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the pre-season period is officially over....

    F1
  18. Video of the Day: Red Bull driver photo shoot 05:04

    Video of the Day: Red Bull driver photo shoot

    Go behind the scenes at Red Bull's driver photo shoot with renowned photographer Michael Muller.

    F1
  19. Tuesday 3 March 2015

  20. Video: Red Bull puts UE Boom to the test 14:43

    Video: Red Bull puts UE Boom to the test

    After teaming up with Ultimate Ears last year, Red Bull decided to put the UE Boom to the ultimate test.

    F1
  21. Alonso to sit out Australian Grand Prix 12:13

    Alonso to sit out Australian Grand Prix

    McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will sit out the Australian Grand Prix in the wake of his testing crash at the...

    F1
  22. Force India braced for early regression 09:31

    Force India braced for early regression

    Force India Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley says the squad is braced for a slow start to the 2015 campaign following the...

    F1
  23. Williams confirms Wolff's on track programme 09:24

    Williams confirms Wolff's on track programme

    Williams has confirmed the details of Susie Wolff's on track programme for the 2015 season. Wolff, who stepped up to the...

    F1
  24. Toro Rosso has performed 'as expected' – Key 08:42

    Toro Rosso has performed 'as expected' – Key

    Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key hailed a positive pre-season campaign for the Italian squad, believing that the new...

    F1
  25. Video of the Day: Berlin ePrix launch 05:24

    Video of the Day: Berlin ePrix launch

    Highlights from the launch event of Formula E's Berlin ePrix, which will take place later this season around the grounds of...

    FE
  26. Monday 2 March 2015

  27. Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari 15:42

    Arrivabene urges concentration at Ferrari

    Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has emphasised that the Italian outfit must remain disciplined as it prepares for...

    F1
  28. Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia 14:14

    Renault 'quietly confident' ahead of Australia

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the French power unit supplier is 'quietly confident' ahead of the opening...

    F1
  29. FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes 13:08

    FIA confirms clampdown on helmet changes

    Formula 1 drivers will be restricted to just one helmet design per season after a proposals put forward by figures inside...

    F1
  30. Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers 11:01

    Final Barcelona pre-season test in numbers

    The final pre-season test at Barcelona saw Nico Rosberg and Mercedes top the timesheets, and Sauber lead the mileage stakes....

    F1
  31. Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes 10:52

    Vettel expecting close fight behind Mercedes

    Sebastian Vettel says he expects a close fight between Williams, Red Bull and his Ferrari team this year – albeit some way b...

    F1
  32. Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4 10:45

    Mick Schumacher to race in German Formula 4

    Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, will make his car racing debut in German ADAC Formula 4...

    Misc
  33. Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo 10:33

    Pons Racing parts company with Tunjo

    Formula Renault 3.5 outfit Pons Racing has confirmed that it has parted company with Colombian youngster Óscar...

    FR 3.5
  34. 09:57

    Photos: Red Bull presents RB11 livery

    F1
  35. Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery 09:32

    Red Bull reveals final RB11 livery

    Red Bull has revealed the RB11 in its final race colours, ahead of the squad's planned filming day at the Circuit de...

    F1
  36. Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation 08:38

    Tost happy with Toro Rosso's preparation

    Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost says he is encouraged by the progress the squad has made across its pre-season testing...

    F1
  37. Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project 08:15

    Chilton joins Nissan's LMP1 project

    Former Formula 1 driver Max Chilton has confirmed that he will make the switch to the World Endurance Championship this year...

    LM
  38. Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan 08:12

    Video of the Day: Chilton links up with Nissan

    Former Marussia racer Max Chilton and Nissan GT Academy mentor Alex Buncombe discuss their roles with Nissan ahead of the...

    LM
  39. Sunday 1 March 2015

  40. 19:26

    Photos: Barcelona pre-season testing – Day 4

    F1
  41. Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08 19:12

    Pérez upbeat after first experience of VJM08

    Sergio Pérez expressed his optimism after he received his first taste of Force India's VJM08 at the Circuit de...

    F1
  42. McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015 18:57

    McLaren prepared for tricky start to 2015

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the squad is prepared for a tricky start to its 2015 campaign after pre-season...

    F1
  43. Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash 18:33

    Lotus: Brake issue caused Maldonado crash

    Lotus has confirmed that a brake problem caused Pastor Maldonado's crash on the final day of pre-season testing in...

    F1
  44. Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season 18:13

    Rosberg pleased with Mercedes' pre-season

    Nico Rosberg declared himself happy with Mercedes' pre-season preparations, after topping the combined times at the final...

    F1
  45. 17:08

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 4 results

    F1
more news