Daniel Ticktum admits the rumours linking him with a potential move into Formula 1 in 2019 ended up being an unwanted distraction to his ambition of winning the FIA European Formula 3 Championship this season.
Rumours in the Formula 1 paddock were linking the Red Bull Junior driver to a ride with Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda for 2019, but current Superlicence point regulations would be a major stumbling block, with even the title in Formula 3 this season not enough for him to get the required number to make the immediate jump into a Formula 1 race seat.
It now appears Red Bull will place him in a full-time drive in the Japanese-based Super Formula championship next year, although he could compliment that with a test driver role with one of the Red Bull teams in Formula 1.
Ticktum has now admitted that the rumours were causing him to change the way he was driving, but he has now turned his attention back to Formula 3 and he has begun to drive strongly once more, even if his advantage at the top of the championship standings has shrunk to just three points following a strong run of results from Mick Schumacher.
“When I had all the F1 rumours, all I was thinking about was that I needed to win the title for the [superlicense] points,” said Ticktum to Motorsport.com. “I wouldn’t say it was hurting me, but there was a couple of situations that I probably would have done differently if I wasn’t thinking about it.
“Very quickly with my coach we decided to focus on the championship less and more race-by-race. I think it works for me.”
Ticktum says his revised positive driving style has seen him begin to make overtakes he would probably avoided had he remained in the negative mindset he had when the rumours begun, with a move on Ralf Aron in the recent round at the Nurburgring one such manoeuvre.
“If I was thinking too much about the championship, I probably wouldn’t have done that move on Aron as it was a bit risky,” added Ticktum.
“It was assertive, like 100 percent I’m doing it, but if you think about the title and have a tenth of a second of a hesitation it can cause an accident.”