Formula Ford, Formula E cars, Formula 1 documentary, Monaco, celebrities, auctioning and growing up as a driver - in the words of Freddie Hunt.
Freddie Hunt was a pleasure to talk to - collected and cool - the last time we had a conversation. I caught up with him once again to discuss his recent outing in a Formula Ford car at legendary race track, Castle Combe. among his other ventures in the world of racing.
Quite recently '1' was released, probably the first ever, comprehensive documentary on the world of Formula 1, which Freddie had a few seconds-worth of screen time in, making him even listed on the Internet Movie Database. I asked him about the film and his answer was - frankly - a bit shocking:
I haven't seen that one yet. I've seen my part when filming, but I haven't seen the documentary yet. Ha!
He's definitely missing out on a lot, but as far as one can tell he's super-busy, even when not racing. A few months ago he was prepared to compete in the Dutch Supercar Challenge with Tiga racing team and possibly their LMP2 car, which seems to have gone south a bit.
They haven't got the money, they haven't got the sponsors and I don't have the money to run with them at the moment. But I can always come back and race with Tiga in the LMP2 car if they are ready, if they have the money, if the car's competitive and if the price is right, but at the moment... you know... it's just not happening.
If you happened to be in Monaco where Nico Rosberg had a missed corner during qualifying and winning the race from P1, you might have encountered James Hunt's Hesketh Formula 1 car, which went up to auction.
Monaco was a fun weekend. I met Chris Evans who bought the car, seemed like a nice guy. Unfortunately, I haven't driven it competitively, but he did offer me to drive it on a test day, but that hasn't happened yet, so I guess he's busy. But I hope it will happen. And Monaco was an amazing one.
One of the hot topics of the motor racing world in 2014 is Formula E, the fully electric open-wheel, single-seater competition series, which is set to kick off later this year. Freddie was present at their open test at Donington Park - not driving, though, but he gave some interesting insight to these cars.
I don't know exactly [how Formula E cars compare to others], but the one thing I did notice - by not being able to drive the car - is that everyone was breaking a lot earlier. I can't remember the technical reason, but it's not good to brake as late as you possibly can. I think it has something to do with charging the battery - you need to brake a little bit earlier to give a charge, or something like that. The other thing I noticed is that they haven't got a lot of grip. The tyres are all-weather, low-profile ones and they don't have a lot of downforce. Because at the moment they don't have so much power, they can't have big wings because they wouldn't go anywhere in a straight line. So I think until the batteries are more refined and more powerful they can't have too much downforce.
At the first weekend of August, Freddie had an outing at Castle Combe, in a Formula Ford 1600 race, which - unfortunately - ended with a bit of a shunt, but showed some great driving qualities.
The first video is from testing, because we couldn't get the camera to work in the qualifying, because it was wet, very wet. But it was good, because I qualified to pole position for my class and seventh overall. I was going quicker, my last lap was about a second faster than the previous one, but I got held up in the last corner, which was a bit of a shame, so I could have been better.
The race, however, didn't turn out that well.
The race was going well. As you can see, I didn't get a very good start. I was being a bit hesitant - being careful not to spin the wheel too much. Nevertheless it was fine until that black car - can't remember his name - was braking really early for all the corners. He had more power and traction - he was in a Class A car. So as you could see he was pulling away coming out of the corners, but when I was going into the corner, I was catching up a lot. I don't mean to be rude to him, but he didn't have any balls. He was braking so early, not carrying any speed in. And he was fine getting on the power, because he had so much traction with that Class A car, and he had a good engine - for sure a better engine than mine, I know that much. At one point I was on the straight coming out of the corner faster than him, I was running up behind, I should have been able to stay behind in the slipstream and pass him, but no, he was just pulling away from me. So I think he must have had three or four horsepowers more, possibly six or seven.
But anyway, what killed it was coming into Quarry, that tricky left-hand bend for right-hand braking. He braked really-really early on that one, just too early on the brakes. I was even braking earlier than I normally did, because I knew he was gonna brake early, but I didn't expect it that early. We touched, but I don't think there was any damage, because it was a gentle touch. But then, I think a couple of corners later, I realized I had a damage from going on to the grass. And then the next lap around I couldn't really pull away from him, because I had to be very careful with the damaged car and I didn't know what it was going to do in the corners, and then I spun. I don't know whether it was due to the damaged car or oil on the track, but there were two other cars spinning on the same spot, so there must have been oil on the track.
Despite the mishap, Freddie is positive about the weekend and his racing career overall. So much that he was happy to share a bit of a revelation.
It's a shame how it ended, but the good news - the positive outcome - was my mentality. As I suspected, which I didn't know, my mind has grown up a lot, matured as a driver in the last few years. That's why I thought I would be able to maintain a sensible head during the race. And this was the test, and the answer was yes, I can. So despite all that happened it was a very positive weekend, because I was very cool, very relaxed and I was being very confident, which I never felt before the race, so that's why it was a big plus for me. Now I'm just desperate to get in a car again as soon as possible.
The question arises, what does 'as soon as possible' mean. His earliest confirmed event is set for October in India in the MRF Formula Ford 2000 series, where he is about to race against Mathias Lauda.
I haven't actually signed the contract yet, so I'm still holding my breath a little bit. They actually gave us the contract and made a couple of little changes. So I think it's on, around the 18th or 20th of August we are going to India for the test and the media day, which I think should be at lest five or six days of full testing just for myself and then the mdeia stuff. And the first race is in the middle of October - 16th, 17th in Quatar. It's going to be very different from club Formula Ford, because the cars are a lot more powerful, have more grip, downforce, and the competition is going o be a lot higher as these are all professional drivers, whereas in club FF a lot of them are amateurs, very good amateurs, but this should be at least ten to fifteen, very experienced and talenterd drivers. So it's not going to be easy at all. And it doesn't matter how much talent I've got, they are much more experienced than me, so it's going to be very-very difficult. If I can get on to the pace in testing, I think I probably could go fast enough. But to deliver that consistently in the race and keep out of trouble is going to be a challenge.
And where European fans of Freddie will be able to find him nearest?
We will hopefully go with Formula Ford again in November in the Walter Hayes Trophy, but nothing until then, because I'm out of sponsors. I need to find some for Formula Ford, because it's a really good, fun weekend and learning, but the only confirmed race is the MRF in October.
All images are from Freddie's Facebook page