Ajith Kumar was in Chennai for a short break in between his inaugural race at Silverstone, which took place on April 18 and the forthcoming races at Morocco on May 2.
Ajith took time off to answer a few questions pertaining to his current year''s race season at FIA 2010 Formula 2 Championship.
What is your assessment of yourself and your performance after the first two races?
I was pleased with my performance in the 2nd qualifying session. My main agenda for the race weekend at Silverstone was to finish both the races. Race 1 went very well. In Race 2 my car had a problem with the turbo. Around the 17th lap the engine lost revs completely. I had no other choice but to continue and finish the race. In the process I finished 2 laps down. My timing in race 2 was 1.5 secs slower compared to race 1. I was more concerned about finishing the race and gain as much track time as possible in the car.
What do you forecast at Morocco? What will be your strategy there?
Morocco as you know is a street circuit. I will have to study the circuit and understand from my race engineer as to what the best setup for the car should be. My strategy for Morocco will be to try and bridge the gap between the frontrunners and myself.
How many kilometers have you managed to clock in your car?
As of 18th April I must have covered approx 850 kms.
What is the composition of your technical support team?
Each car/driver has a dedicated mechanic, who will be permanent for all the events. Mr. Daniel is the name of my mechanic. There are 8 engineers involved in the championship, one for every 3 cars/drivers. The engineers will keep changing for every event. My engineer for Silverstone was Mr Leon. In case of any incident involving cars/major damage a special team of mechanics come in.
What is the kind of encouragement you receive from: Jonathan Palmer, Piers Hunnisett....others like James Gornall, Simon Melluish, Sam Tremayne?
Mr Jonathan Palmer has been very supportive. He is closely monitoring my progress. He makes it a point to come and give me valuable tips/advise after every test session/race. Most importantly he understands my passion for the sport and how important it is to take this sport to the rural areas in developing countries like India.
Mr Piers Hunnisett, who is a successful racecar driver himself handles my racing programme/career. He takes care of logistics for eg: travel plans/accommodation, licensing, insurance coverage for both car/driver and PR in U.K. He also provides driver coaching. Having Piers for help is god sent. I thank my friend Narain Karthikeyan for getting Mr Piers onboard.
Mr James Gornall is the Official F2 driver Co-0rdinator, who on behalf of the F2 organisation provides all the competitors with necessary information. Mr Simon Melluish & Mr Sam Tremayne on behalf of F2 handle all the media releases/ Driver Photo shoots etc. James, Simon and Sam have been extremely helpful. In short they make all the competitors feel at home.
Obviously your enthusiasm has increased manifold for you to get back to active racing. What is your main motivating factor?
Motorsports in India has definitely come a very long way. With 2 drivers from India making it to F1 (Narain Karthikeyan & Karun Chandhok), Mr Vijay Mallya owning India's 1st F1 Team (Force India). Hopefully India will also host an F1 event in 2011. It's time the sport reached the masses/rural areas. I hope that my mere participation helps take the sport to the masses.
What is the kind of support you have been getting from your family?
My family understands how much I love this sport. The very fact that they have accepted my decision to participate in a very fiercely competitive championship (F2) speaks volume of their support. My family and I strongly believe that life is not about winning or losing. It's about following our hearts and living our dreams!!
What is your overall budget for the entire season of racing?
Approximately 400,000 GBP. But this is only towards participation / accidental car insurance / driver insurance / travel / accommodation. For one to get competitive we would require more funds to hire personal race engineers / driver coach / trainer and track days in cars other than the F2 cars.
What is your target as you progress through the various rounds?
Target is to do the best I can in terms of my own abilities!!