Seventeen-year-old Mexican Alfonso Celis Jr is heading into his first season of the GP3 series with Status Grand Prix as team-mate to Brit Nick Yelloly and New Zealander Richie Stanaway. The youngest was not expecting to race this year due to a shortfall in sponsorship, so the GP3 deal came out of the blue.
“Well actually I wasn’t planning on racing this year due to sponsorship issues, but you know, when its your destiny things just accommodate in an easy way, and with out looking for anything, things aligned and the opportunity came about,” said a happy Celis Jr to The Checkered Flag. “I’m very exited and can’t wait for the first race.”
Celis Jr has had the support of his family since the beginning of his career but admits he does not like using their money to fund his career; instead he tries to find his own backers to assist him. He also admitted his father began racing at the same time he did.
“My dad started racing at the same time as me so he does comprehend the feelings inside the helmet, and he has been a huge support for me throughout my entire career,” said Celis Jr. “My mom is not a big fan of what I do but she supports me and backs me up in every aspect, and in sponsorship wise they definitely help but only a small amount.
“I like racing because even it requires a lot of people in the garage, the one driving its only you that’s what I like so much about it and do to that I like to find my own sponsors and I don’t depend in my family’s help in order to race.”
The Mexican also spoke about the big step up the car he is racing in this season is, with more power and downforce than he is used to.
“The car itself its completely different compared to what I’ve driven before so, it was quite hard at the beginning but then I got used to it and started to understand the car more and more. I think the adaptation process will be quite slow due to the limited seat time but it’s definitely exiting and quite a challenge which I’m enjoying a lot.
“The first [season] is to learn as much as I can this year, about the series, the car, the environment and definitely to enjoy it as much as I can, with so many experienced drivers I would be a talker if I said I was planning a top five, my main goal is to do things right and professionally, so as a consequence results will come by themselves.
“I think you never stop learning, if you think you know it all its because you know nothing about this sport, each time I get into the car I learn at least a new trick or a new technique, and so on.”
Joining Status Grand Prix for 2014, the Mexican is excited to be racing alongside Yelloly and Stanaway, and he admits he has received advice from both during pre-season testing which he is grateful for.
“They [Yelloly and Stanaway] are very professional guys and they have been very open to me up to now, helping me and giving me some advice. We for sure will get on really good and I’m sure Status will be one of the tough guys this year!
“I thank the team for believing in me and my project, its the most professional team I’ve work with so far, but at the same time they are very warm and nice people and that’s what really count about a team, the conjunction between everyone.”