Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has sent out a warning to his 2009 Formula Renault Eurocup and North European Cup (NEC) rivals that he does not intend to merely 'make up the field' – he is aiming, he makes clear, for title glory.
After graduating from the Formula BMW UK Championship to Formula Renault in 2007 – competing in the second half of the campaign – Quaife-Hobbs took on his maiden full season in the category last year with BVM Minardi, but the results were far from what the recently-turned 18-year-old had been hoping for.
“It wasn't the best,” he confessed, speaking to Crash.net Radio
. “There were a few ups and downs, but I ended up getting my first win in Formula Renault – in the Italian Championship – which obviously was a great achievement, and we did have a few strong performances in the Eurocup too. In the last race at Barcelona I was fifth on the grid out of 40-something cars, so we had good moments.
“Formula Renault is a big jump from Formula BMW UK – it's like another level again, and it's just about getting used to everything. The tracks are all different and you don't know much about the European teams because they're not talked about too much in England, so it's about finding everything out for yourself and it's just a big learning curve really.”
Fourth position in the Italian Championship at the close was at least something to take away from the year, whilst just two points gleaned in the Eurocup left the Kent teenager a lowly 25th in the title standings there.
With that now behind him, Quaife-Hobbs has turned his attentions firmly towards 2008, and in his efforts to steal a march on the opposition he has signed up with reigning championship-winning outfit Motopark Academy, who last season triumphed in the Eurocup with Valtteri Bottas. Not only is it a big boost to his chances, he affirms – but it is also an opportunity to set to rights what might have been...
“Motopark are the double champions from 2008,” the Tonbridge ace acknowledged, “and I've got high hopes looking to the season. In 2007 I had a test with Motopark but we chose not to go with them – which was a mistake, looking back! We're back with them now, though, and in winter testing I was quickest on three of the four test days – hopefully we can carry that momentum on into the year.
“Since being in Formula Renault I've learned a lot about how you need to drive the car; it hasn't always been perfect, but now I've got into the Motopark car I can see where it's helped me, because I was straightaway on the pace in it. I can say that as a driver I've improved a lot.
“The main goal is to win the Eurocup Championship and the NEC. We'll see how it all works out, because after all, it's the Eurocup – it's the hardest championship in Formula Renault, so it will be really tough – but that's what we plan to do. We're not there to make up the field; we're in it to win it.”TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE