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Alexander Sims – Q&A

24 July 2009

Alexander Sims will make his International Formula Master debut this weekend, having been given the chance to contest the latest rounds of the year in Hungary.

The 21-year-old, a pole winner and podium finisher already in his rookie F3 Euro Series season with Mücke Motorsport, has been invited to take part in this weekend's IFM meeting with the 'Formula Master Talent Support Programme' team.

Despite no previous experience of the car, the Briton is looking forward to the challenge…

Q:
How did the opportunity to join the Hungarian Grand Prix support race programme come about?

Alexander Sims:
We were speaking to another team who had a previous involvement in the series and met them at Silverstone and the opportunity really just rolled from there. I was subsequently invited to take part as a guest driver in this weekend's races at the Hungaroring.

It's a great opportunity for me to sample the car, learn the track and ultimately be part of the Grand Prix. I'd like to thank IFM for giving me the chance to join them in Hungary and I'm really looking forward to the weekend.

Q:
Given you've yet to even sit in an International Formula Master race car, what are your expectations for the weekend?

Alexander Sims:
I know they haven't had massive grids this season but it doesn't mean the competition will be any less challenging. I've heard Earl Bamber is joining as another guest driver and he's obviously got a good reputation which further strengthens the field. I've got no doubt it's going to be tough, I haven't even tested the car and this will be my first experience of the track. That said, I like to set my sights high and if I can score a podium then that'll be a great result!

Q:
What's going to be the main difference between your regular F3 ride and the IFM car and how easy will it be for you to adapt given you'll have had no testing?

Alexander Sims:
Obviously it's going to be a challenge. From what I've heard, the cars are reasonably similar to an F3 car, possibly with a bit more power but with a bit less downforce. If they're that similar then I should be able to get near to the limit pretty easily, it's just getting to the absolute limit in qualifying that's important to get a decent lap in. There's no practice session but with a forty minute qualifying session I should have time to dial-in but I'm obviously going up against drivers familiar with the car and perhaps even familiar with the circuit. As I said, it's definitely a challenge but I can't wait to get out there!

Q:
You could be forgiven for wanting a weekend off from racing having been in action last Sunday in Zandvoort and again next weekend at Oschersleben with your F3 Euro Series campaign.

Was the chance to learn another Grand Prix circuit a factor in your decision to race in IFM?

Alexander Sims:
Definitely! This is a great chance to get out there and learn the Hungaroring. There's not too many series that race there and obviously being an F1 circuit, and an actual Grand Prix event, made it a very attractive proposition to me as well.

Q:
With a pole position and a podium finish to your credit (Norisring – Germany) already in the fiercely competitive F3 Euro Series, how different is the racing in Europe to what you experienced in two successful seasons in the Formula Renault UK Championship?

Alexander Sims:
Well you've still got to produce the goods in qualifying and the races that's for sure! Probably the biggest difference is that previously in the UK, a bad qualifying session for me might mean starting around sixth or seventh whereas now, given the sheer level of competition, as I saw in Zandvoort last time after a bad session, I was down in 18th. There are so many good drivers in this series that if you happen to have an 'off' session there are a whole bunch of guys there to punish you for it!

Q:
You're almost half-way through your season competing for Mücke Motorsport – what have been your personal highlights to-date over and above the aforementioned pole and podium?

Alexander Sims:
It's been a pretty good start to the season, we've had a few issues but they're all things I can learn from and become a better driver from. The F3 Masters at Zandvoort and the Euro Series race at the Norisring stand-out as highlights in terms of actual results but I was also happy with our pace in pre-season testing and again at Magny Cours once the season had started when I was fastest overall. We've shown a lot of promise and now we have to turn that into consistent results.

Q:
What are your expectations for the second-half of your F3 Euro Series season and how much are you looking forward to a return to home soil and the Brands Hatch round in September?

Alexander Sims:
Put simply it's got to be about finishing in the top-eight in the first race and top-six in the second in order to score points each time out. Winning the title is probably realistically out of reach now but a good top-six finish is achievable and that was my goal entering the year. I obviously want to be up there winning races and Brands Hatch could be as good an opportunity as any given I know the track well!

Q:
Finally, have you been given any indication as to when you might receive your test drive with the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team as part of your prize package for winning the 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award?

Alexander Sims:
Unfortunately not! I saw some of the guys from McLaren at the British Grand Prix and got to hang out with them which was a great experience. As to actually driving the car, I've yet to find out when that might happen but it's a very nice feeling knowing I'm going to get to experience a proper Formula One test.


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