Andy Soucek Q&A

Soucek leads the field in Imola

A third place finish in race one at Imola last Saturday (19 September) secured the FIA Formula Two Championship title for Andy Soucek, and the Spaniard went on to celebrate his achievement in style by storming to his fifth victory of the season in race two. Speaking to, the newly crowned champion reflects on a fantastic campaign in F2 and talks about his burning Formula One ambition…

You’ve had a few days to reflect on the weekend; how does it feel to be the 2009 FIA Formula Two Champion?

It feels great! It has been a very special season, the best of my career. I not only won the championship, but I won with a good margin, and I have to be proud of everything I achieved. Hopefully it will open new doors for me: already a lot of people in the world of Formula One know me better than before, and the news has travelled around the world. No-one will ever be able to take away my title in Formula Two, and I will be able to look back on this for the rest of my career.

What are your hopes for F1?

I’m very positive that my dream can become true. I just feel like I’m at the right moment – I’m in the right place and with the right people, and this is my big chance, my dream. It doesn’t mean that I will get my chance for sure, but for me this is the right moment.

Things have changed quite a lot since F2 last ran in 1984, but F2 is still a category where young drivers can get themselves into Formula One. I know back then every champion progressed into F1, so I’m hoping to continue the trend as the first winner of the new series. I had a great championship, scored a lot of points, and brought the car home in almost every race. I think F1 teams look not only at the winner of every championship but also at the most complete driver. That’s why I think I’m in the right moment and I’ve showed it this year. It was not only the number of races I won, it was my consistency at the front that made it such a great year for me, and I think I can have similar success in F1 as well.

How did you feel about the video message you received from Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head congratulating you on your success?

It was incredibly emotional. I’m a realistic and humble person, and I really never expected to have a Formula One team boss – let alone such an important one, because he is one of the most successful ever – like Sir Frank Williams or Patrick Head giving me a message saying that they hope I can achieve my dreams of going into Formula One. It really was like a dream seeing that; it was very emotional, and something I will never forget. Hopefully they are right in what they said!

What will you do to prepare for your test with Williams later this year?

I’m very well prepared now. I started to train my neck as soon as I got back from Imola, because I think that is the one part of my body where the g-forces are different in F1. They have steering assistance, so there won’t be too much force on my arms, but you need a strong neck for sure. I hope to be in peak physical condition for the test, but I have never stopped training and I am fitter than ever so I don’t see it being an issue.

Have you had any contact with other F1 teams?

Whilst we are not currently in negotiations with any other teams in F1, we are in contact with a few and I think that will probably intensify in the next few weeks. First we have to digest winning the F2 title, and then we will have to make a plan of which teams will be good for me and for my career, if they are interested, and work these things out. I know Adrian (Campos) from a lot of years ago and for sure I would be very happy to race for them, a Spanish team, but we are looking at other options as well.

How does this season compare to the rest of your career?

I think this was the best season, because now I am much more complete as a driver. I remember other great seasons like Spanish Formula 3, when I won the championship, and also World Series by Renault when I was challenging for the championship in the final weekend. I think I became a better driver when I moved into GP2 because I gained maturity and experience, but this year I think I have come on even more – everything just clicked and I feel very confident in myself.

Was there a weekend when it all came together this season, or was it a gradual process?

I think I was a bit unlucky in the first weekend in Valencia, but I think I was also a bit over motivated and was expecting to win at my home race, especially after running so well in testing. To be honest perhaps it was a bit of a surprise to have Robert Wickens in such good shape for that weekend – I really expected more and it was kind of a bad weekend for me. For the rest of the season though, really starting from the second race in Brno, everything has been pretty much perfect.

Does winning the championship vindicate your decision to race in Formula Two this year?

Absolutely. It was a group decision I made with my manager and my father to move into Formula Two. It wasn’t just the relatively low cost of competing, but the backing of the FIA, the prize of a test drive with Williams – the combination of all of these things made it a great championship to join. At the start we imagined the best scenario would be to win, but I haven’t just done that, I won it by distinction and that has made it very special. We also really believed in Jonathan Palmer and had heard a lot of good things about him. At the end of the day Formula Two has given me the opportunity to prove my potential in Formula One machinery with Williams, so it was exactly the right decision for me to have made.

How does the level of competition in F2 compare to that of a series like GP2?

I have always said that the drivers in F2 improve with every race, so I had to make sure I was doing the same otherwise I would lose ground. In that sense the level of competition is very high, and I had to become better and better in order to stay at the front, which has helped me as a driver. The car is very strong, with paddleshift gears, very good brakes and a powerful engine, so it’s good training. There are some young guys who have really improved recently, so it keeps getting harder.

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