THE BLOG

Chasing the Formula One Dream!

22/09/2014 11:08 BST | Updated 19/11/2014 10:59 GMT

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All across the world many boys grow up dreaming of becoming a Formula One driver. The glitz, the glamour, the travelling...and, of course, driving cars at speeds you'd not normally get the chance to!

I started racing when I was seven years old and it doesn't matter how many people ask me, I don't really know what got me hooked.

Born in Malaysia to Australian parents, and Australian in my heart, my dad took me go karting when I was on holiday in Cairns and from there my passion has never stopped growing.

Now, I'm living in London, racing in the GP3 series - a Formula 1 support series - and I'm chasing the dream that only a handful of people ever get to fulfill.

Motorsport is a strange sport, very money-driven and extremely political. But there is no better feeling in the world than driving a racing car on its limit.

The journey to get to F1, however, makes the dream an extremely difficult one. There are 22 seats in F1 and every year there are about 3 seats available. On top of that, there are seemingly a billion drivers, dreaming the same dream.

The money part of the sport can also complicate the dream. Ever since F1 began, it's been an expensive sport - the cars are expensive, the trucks that transport everything are expensive and to be honest, everything is expensive!

The teams need sponsors, they need money and the lower-end teams, the teams that give new drivers chances, now rely on the driver to bring in sponsors.

The money has become ridiculous nowadays. The sponsorship required can be anywhere between 5 to 10 million euros - an absolute crazy quantity of money to drive a racing car for a year.

But Formula 1 is one of the most watched sports in the world so people are finding the money. This is what fuels my dream, instead of destroying it like it does with others. If someone else can find it, why can't I?

The life of a driver isn't as glamorous or exciting as it seems, not in the lower levels anyway. We travel the world, do a lot of weekends per year, and live a very strict and disciplined life, often losing family money along the way. It's not just me, the driver, in on this, but my whole family. Sacrificing what they have for the "dream".

When I was racing in Malaysia, at 14 years old, my dad told me if I wanted to chase this dream, my time was up in Malaysia, my home for 14 years.

He said if I really wanted this, Europe was the place to be. Four months later, my mum and I boarded a plane and left our comfort zone. This was truly the start of the dream. I was lucky, my mum, my best friend, came with me - a lot of drivers get sent on their own!

We lived in a small town in Italy, where no one spoke English, and I was just go karting all the time. Results came, I even finished 3rd in the world championships. However, the life was tough. Emotionally, anyway. Both of us, my mum and I, were very alone. No friends, no life. She was a true warrior to stick through it and it gave me strength to do the same.

We now live in London and things are better, but we always feel the same loneliness. Maybe I could go out more, meet more people, but I have this opportunity of a life time, and it means absolutely nothing if I don't take advantage of it.

Last month I was selected for a training camp with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. It is now a normality that racing drivers are athletes. I train 5 or 6 days a week if I'm not racing and have to balance a 'normal' life with that of an athlete and the training camp really brought the importance of this side home again. Training always comes first, as it does with most professional athletes. Just because we are sitting down doesn't mean it is easy!!

Next for me is back to my GP3 season. I normally fly out to Italy about a week earlier than the race. That is where my team, Trident Racing, is based. While I'm there we spend countless hours on the simulator over two or three days, preparing for the upcoming race. Also, since I am a new signing, joining the team after missing all the pre-season testing and the first two races, it's the perfect time to bond with the team and get to know them out of the high pressure environment of a race weekend.

My GP3 career so far hasn't been straight-forward. I think I have been doing a good job, but I'm definitely feeling missing the pre-season.

I switched to GP3 after a difficult season in F3 (a story for another day!), and the cars are completely different. First of all, any F1 fan will have heard about these Pirelli tyres. They're difficult to manage, and without knowledge, very hard to get your head around.

Secondly, the clutch is now controlled by your hand, not your feet. This is a first time ever for me and in racing, the start is the most important part of the race. This sets your race and is the easiest place to gain and lose places. Therefore, it's not been the easiest of switches for me, although I've still had some moments, like the fastest lap in one race, as well as a top 5 qualifying.

It's been really cool to be part of the Formula 1 weekends. It's great to be walking around and Nico Rosberg walks past, or you see Jenson Button next to you at the traffic lights texting. I don't really get star struck, but I've been watching these guys since I was 8 years old! It's also just amazing being on the weekends, and seeing so many people that just love racing! You feel a big buzz just being there.

What comes next in the dream? Well, I need to start getting results. It's been a tough year and a half. A lot of things have been out of my hands and I feel the group of people that still believe in me is small. However, that small group of people have such a strong belief in me that I am the real deal.

This gives me the belief I need to push on and chase my dream!

Once the results come, everything I hope and dream of will come together. The team and I are improving every session we go out on track, and we are nearly there! We have been showing some big flashes and from there I'll continue to chase. I don't want to talk too much about what's next, before I nail this step. It's a scary and exciting path, but I'm up for the challenge and so is my team of people!

Photo credit: GP3 Media Services