Sorry for the long break between installments, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks.
With the first two installments, we got an intimate look into what life is like as an up and coming racing driver. We were able to understand the vast complexities that come with trying to race, get an education and balance the two effectively. But what does the future hold? That’s a tough question to ask any racing driver because they often don’t really know.
Nothing, other than uncertainty, is ever guaranteed in this sport, so speculation on the future needs to be done with an air of caution.
“I don’t know what the plans are for next season”. It’s that simple, really. In this business and at Jack’s stage of his career, it’s dangerous to make long-term plans. Even with the security of the RSF’s backing, Jack remains largely in the dark about what the future brings. He should be used to that, however, as most of the opportunities Jack has taken advantage of have been surprised all their own, allowing him to advance his career further than he has ever expected.
“It’s better to see how we start this [season] and see how we get on and then start focusing in next season.” Ha ha perspective on the realities of racing are very refreshing. He brings up a point that I’m sure is overlooked many times in the lives of young racing drivers. When your career is on the up, it’s all too easy to start planning ahead. Who could blame you? You’ve been successful so far, what makes it dangerous to plan ahead? It’s sound logic, but racing logic has a whole face of its own, and it differs vastly, in many ways, from the realities of everyday life. “If you jump the fun wondering about the future, you’re missing what you’re actually doing,” says Jack of his future. His reservations are completely understandable. The present is the most important thing. There is no point in planning for the future if what you’re doing now is below par. Jack understands this and applies this to everything he does. Perhaps it’s for he best that he doesn’t know his future plans.
Inevitably, the conversation turns to the unavoidable topic that plights every young racing driver: sponsorship. Jack’s situation is unique in that the RSF is not sponsorship. At least not monetarily. The RSF provides sponsorship in that they have faith in his abilities, and because the RSF is so reputable, Jack can take some consolation that his future has a relatively defined path. The RSF provides drivers with similar backing to the Red Bull young driver program. Both of these programs offer their drivers backing in the form of their reputations. Instead of making their drivers rely on personally attaining monetary backing, these foundations pay for their careers under the assumption they will achieve on a very high level in whichever category they happen to be in. It’s a nice arrangement these days. As any driver will tell you, getting sponsorship is becoming increasingly difficult to do, so having the backing by a foundation like the TSF, Jack is very lucky.
But what makes Formula One teams sit up and take notice? A little bit of green won’t do any harm at all, but at the heart of Formula One, despite what anyone else says on the subject, are results. This is precisely the answer I get from Jack when I ask him the question posed above and I’m not particularly surprised. If there is anything I’ve learned from this conversation, it is that Jack is focused on results. Above anything else, he pinpoints his targets and sets about the best way from him to achieve them.
Personally, I worry for the drivers like Jack who run the risk of falling out of the spotlight because of a lack of sponsorship. It’s becoming a vital part of running a Formula One team these days, as we all know, but if there is a heavily sponsored driver who does just as well as Jack this season, who will get the eventual call up to F1? “It’s tough at the minute” says Jack of his F1 chances. “I think anyone who said there wasn’t a worry [of missing out on a drive] would be kidding themselves. Ultimately, there is not a lot we can do to really change that apart from trying to beat them.”
As I’ve said before, Jacks perspective on not only racing, but on the realities of life, is very refreshing. He knows what he needs to do to succeed, but knows that there is they chance it might not work out. If you think about it, this mindset could be worth more than any amount of money.