Alex Quinn says he can ‘count himself very lucky’ to be on the Formula Renault Eurocup grid in 2020, but once there is showed just what he was made of to take the rookie title.
Quinn was not originally scheduled to be racing in Eurocup in 2020 but was called up by Arden Motorsport when Jackson Walls was unable to compete due to the coronavirus pandemic. From there on, he did not look back, taking pole position in the very first race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and an outright win in difficult conditions at Spa-Francorchamps.
He took the rookie class victory in seven of the final eight races to catch and pass main rival David Vidales, ultimately taking the rookie title and fourth overall in the championship standings.
“It’s been great,” said Quinn to The Checkered Flag. “We had a couple of really tough rounds but the team and I worked extremely hard and it paid off in the end with our results in the second half of the year.
“I absolutely loved racing the final four weekends on the bounce, but it was nice to get back home to see family and believe it or not my little dog.”
Quinn admits his plans for 2020 were unclear prior to his late call-up by Arden, with budget shortfall the usual cause of uncertainty in the British racer’s career.
“I have no idea, probably the same as the past few years which consisted of the odd race here and there,” said Quinn when asked about his options for 2020. “I have always had some interest over the winter periods but due to budget it makes life very difficult.
“So, I did count myself very lucky to be on the grid in 2020.”
Quinn says he gets on well with everyone at Arden, including team-mate’s Ugo de Wilde and Reshad de Gerus, both, he says, helped him improve throughout the 2020 season. He also thanked Team Principal Garry Horner for creating a fantastic working environment in what was a very difficult year.
“I get on well with the whole Arden team, the relationship I have with them and the work they do is fantastic,” said Quinn. “My engineer Ben Salter and my mechanic Alex Fitzgerald have both given me a year to enjoy.
“I really need to thank Garry Horner for creating a great working environment. My Team-mates Ugo and Reshad helped me improve as they always gave me something to look at on the data.”
When asked about his highlights of 2020, he spoke fondly about his win in wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, but he was also delighted to take pole position at Monza just a few days after being told he was racing!
“Definitely Spa, but after that it was probably taking pole position and a podium at the first race of the year after only finding out I’d be there days before the race.”
Looking Ahead… with Trepidation
Whilst impressing in 2020, Quinn says the challenge of finding a budget for 2021 means he is unsure to where he will be racing next year, if anywhere.
However, the young Briton is keeping his options open, and is hoping to race in either the FIA Formula 3 Championship or in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine series.
“This is the hardest part of the year for me, it’s always been a challenge to find any budget to race so at this moment in time I will just have to keep my head up and options open,” said Quinn.
“I would love to move into FIA F3 because I feel like I am ready but will also be very happy to have another year in the new Formula Regional European championship by Alpine.
“I am open to everything, I just love to race and go fast, but looking to the future I am desperate to make a living out of it.”
Looking back at his career to date, he says it was his father who first got him into motorsport and has helped him get as far as he has in his career to date, although he also credits the Racing Steps Foundation for giving him the opportunity to advance into single-seater racing.
“My Dad was actually a rally driver when he used to live in Northern Ireland,” said Quinn. “When I was born, he then stopped racing and allowed me to go Karting for fun, and interestingly I hated it at first.
“I got my first helmet stuck on my head which at that young age meant I didn’t want to drive for a few months until I got back in and enjoyed it so much. Since then, it really has been a family story as my dad has somehow managed to help me get to where I am today.
“However, my career really did take a boost when I became a part of Racing Steps Foundation and without them I can confidentially say I would not be in any form of car racing. The support they brought financially and in a performance aspect have been crucial.”
He says his win at Spa-Francorchamps ranks highly amongst his career highlights to date, although there are a few other moments that he feels are up there as well.
“There is lots I could choose from, but I would have to say recently the Win at Spa this year will never ever be forgotten,” he said. “The memories will always inspire me to continue the maximum effort as a driver.
“I also think a good memory is the race at Nürburgring after taking almost two full years out of racing due to budget and finishing P2 behind Oscar Piastri in Eurocup. Earlier in my career I have a kart race I won called Kartmasters which was very special to me. And also taking my first car win at Donington in British F4.”
Quinn says Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Knockhill in Scotland are two of his favourite tracks, but he is eager to race around a street circuit for the first time in his career, having been denied the opportunity in 2020 by the cancelation of the Monaco Grand Prix that Eurocup were set to support.
“I have always enjoyed racing on two particular tracks that stand out to me, Spa in Belgium and Knockhill in Scotland which both have big elevation changes,” said Quinn.
“A track that I would love to race on is Monaco. We came very close to racing there this year but it was unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. I have never raced on a street circuit and I really want to experience it.”