Digital Dialogue with Runaway Stanaway
Meet the Flying Kiwi. Richie Stanaway. The 19-year old from Tauranga is moving rapidly, and successfully, towards his ultimate dream; Formula 1. Stanaway is based in Hilversum, Holland, and is driving for the Dutch team, van Amersfoort Racing.
His motorsports career started at the tender age of six in motocross. In his first year of karting he captured the regional championship in the Rotax Max category. The trend continued in his first year of Formula Ford; dominating season saw him win the championship with 14 victories, nine of those being consecutive.
F1Weekly would like to thank Richie for answering our questions, and we wish him continued in his racing career.
Q Richie, congratulations on a great start where you are enjoying a winning weekend every time you race in the 2011 German F3 Championship. Is the season going as per the script or has this been a surprise for you?
A It has been a bit of a surprise to have won a race on every weekend, however, the goal is always to win races so the fact that we have been able to do so means it has gone nicely to plan. If we hadn’t have won races by now we would have been working very hard until we did, and obviously competing with a championship winning team they know what it takes to win and have been able to teach me the necessary skills to do so.
Q Seven wins from ten starts so far this season; what was the most satisfying victory?
A The most satisfying would be the first race of the championship, it was my first ever Formula 3 race so to win was an incredible feeling, also with a margin of 10 seconds was for sure un-expected. You do so much preparation during the off season leading up to the first race and there has been so much sacrifice involved in my lifestyle that to win straight away was an incredibly rewarding feeling.
Q With four rounds remaining who do you expect to be your main challenger for race wins and championship?
A So far the closest to us on points is Marco Sorenson, but my main focus at the moment is just on improving my own performance and consistently scoring points for the rest of the championship. If we just focus on giving it 100% and doing our best, the results will take care of themselves.
Q You are now part of Gravity Management, how and when did this deal come together?
A Shorty after winning Germany’s ADAC Formel Masters championship last year I was offered the chance to test with Gravity against some other drivers from around Europe. I was also offered the opportunity to race in the Formula Renault UK winter cup which was all part of the selection process of Gravity, following that they made the decision and I was chosen to join the program.
Thanks to the support of Gravity they have made it possible for me to continue my racing career in Europe and have given me this great opportunity to compete in German F3 this year.
Q Last year you won the ADAC Formula Master Championship with complete authority; how different is the European racing scene from what you experienced in New Zealand and Australia?
A Of course, the environment is very different, and the lifestyle of living abroad on the other-side of the world isn’t easy, however the racing I experienced in New Zealand and particularly Australia I believe was very competitive so I had an adequate and beneficial preparation before coming to Europe at the end of 2009. Aside from that there are subtle differences in the way things are done in Europe which I noticed, and there is a higher density of fast drivers to compete with.
Q Generally, young Kiwi talent go to the land of Kings and Queens – jolly olde England – what made you decide to race in Germany?
A My first manager from New Zealand had influential contacts with Volkswagen and in the German motorsport scene and because of that a test was organized for me which took place in Germany and things went from there. After a short time of competing in Germany I soon realized why they are the nation with the most drivers in Formula 1, and it feels great to have been involved in the German motorsport scene for the last 2 years as I think it has been a great place to develop my skills as a racing driver.
Q Tom Blomqvist is one of your competitors in German F3 and also grew up in New Zealand; did you ever race against him back home?
A I raced against him once at a Karting race in Auckland, but apart from that we haven’t had much involvement with each other. But I think it’s cool to have two drivers from the same backyard competing on the other side of the world.
Q Have you ever met Chris Amon?
A I haven’t met Chris Amon, although I read his biography a few years ago from my school library and have been very fond of his past achievements in F1. My current team boss also says that he was his favorite driver back in the day.
Q Looking ahead, where would you like your career to be in three years?
A In three years my goal is to be driving in Formula 1, that’s a realistic time frame for it to happen, so in the meantime I am working extremely hard on using the time now to prepare myself. With gravity it will all depend on my results in the next 2 years, I need to show that I am capable and win races. I don’t see it as a huge amount of pressure; I just see it as a great opportunity.
Q Your thoughts on the final lap of the Canadian Grand Prix?
A The last few laps of the Canadian Grand Prix left me feeling very inspired, I really admire both Jenson Button & Sebastian Vettel and to see such a close battle at the end was great. Sometimes it’s also interesting to see that even the best in the world can make mistakes.
Q Do you follow American racing series like Indy cars or NASCAR?
A Not as closely as I would like. I never manage to find it on TV here so I rarely get a chance to see the races.
Q Please tell us about Richie Stanaway. The young man not the race car driver; your taste in music and food and what other sports you enjoy watching?
A I’m a big fan of house/electro type music, but also go along with most good chart music which is on the radio; also Kings of Leon is probably my favorite band. Food depends a lot on which part of Europe I’m in but don’t have a particular preference for anything but just try to keep it as healthy as I can.
Apart from watching F1 which is by far the sport I enjoy watching the most, I also enjoy watching the Olympics when it comes around every 4 years, I like to ponder about how much preparation everyone puts into it and how far people push the limits of human performance.
The Tour de France is also very cool to watch, I just finished reading one of Lance Armstrong’s books which gave me a whole new insight into the world of cycling and the amount of effort they put in, for me it’s something I can aspire to.
Weekly would like to thank Richie for answering our questions, and we wish him continued success in his racing career.
For more information on this exciting racing talent please visit www.richiestanaway.com
— Nasir Hameed