I honestly can’t wait to get to Paul Ricard!
Rather than sitting at home here in Perth feeling sorry for myself after thankfully surviving a monumental accident in the latest F1 Academy event at Monza earlier this month, I’m eagerly looking forward to Ricard and the final three Academy races in Europe before the series culminates at Austin in Texas which supports the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.
I’m still a tad battered and bruised but counting my lucky stars having survived the biggest shunt of my career thanks to the strength of the Tatuus chassis and in particular the car’s ‘halo’ which saved me from very serious injury.
I remember it being really tight at the start of Race 1 with all the drivers jostling for position. I didn’t manage to slow down quickly enough with so many cars going into the first turn and clipped one in front. The next thing I’m airborne and upside down in the car. It all went by in a blur.
I was upside down and I could see flames inside the car right next to my arm. It was great that the track marshals responded so rapidly with fire extinguishers and managed to pull me out of danger. I’m very grateful to the medical team. People have been very supportive and I’d like to thank everyone for their kind wishes.
I withdrew from Races 2 and 3 but stayed at the historic Monza track to support my ART GP colleagues. On the flight home from Milan, I was already thinking ahead to the next races at Ricard. I’m now working really hard on the SIM before heading to Southern France where I want to end the European leg on a high.
I’m determined to quickly bring an end to a disappointing run. We made massive progress in testing at MotorLand Aragón in June and then again in practice at Zandvoort, the event before Monza. But maybe I was just overconfident at Zandvoort, pushed too hard, and had an off resulting in poor quali positions. I’d been in the top-six in both practice sessions so it was hugely disappointing. I was very annoyed with myself.
But I guess that taught me where my limit with the car was. I thought, and really hoped Monza would give me the opportunity to bounce back but motor racing can be cruel sometimes. That said, I’m really enjoying my time at ART and in the series.
Before Zandvoort, I attended the official launch of ‘Discover Your Drive Karting UK’ along with some other F1 Academy drivers plus Managing Director of F1 Academy, Susie Wolff, at London’s Docklands.
The global initiative aims to increase the female talent pool in motorsport. It offers girls and young women the opportunity to take part in entry-level programmes and professional schemes to promote female participation in the sport both on and off track.
I spent time with some young female karters and also took to the track myself which brought back some memories of my times in karts. I also visited the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire, for a STEM Careers event. I gave a keynote talk to pupils from secondary schools from across the Midlands. Meanwhile Loughborough College, where I’m studying for a bespoke enhanced Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme in collaboration with Motorsport UK, interviewed me about my F1 Academy season which was a lot of fun if a little surreal.
On the media front Scottish TV keeps in regular contact, so I hope anyone north of the border catch the updates that they transmit. I also did an interview with the New York Times which was pretty cool. But now, I’m focussing on Ricard. There’s a test prior to the race which will hopefully allow me to dial into the zone ahead of the actual race weekend (29-30 Jul).