Father of latest F1 driver Ralph Firman and boss of racing car constructor Van Diemen, Ralph Firman Snr, has been revealing how he originally didn't want his son to enter motor racing.

Speaking to Britain's News of the World Firman Snr, who used to be the chief mechanic for Brazilian racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi, reveals "Like many kids, Ralph wanted to go karting but I thought it'd be a six-month fad and we could get it out of the way early."

Seventeen years later that 'fad' is still clearly ongoing, but Ralph Snr tried all he could to discourage his son in the early days. "I didn't want him to be a racing driver and tried very hard to get him off it," he explains. "I knew there would be a lot of pressure on him coming from this family and there were business pressures as well."

Firman Snr founded the Van Diemen concern in 1973 and it went on to become the world's largest volume manufacturer of racing cars.

"I did the reverse of most dads in trying to actively discourage him. I wanted to make sure he really wanted to do it. I got him into golf and he became very good at that too."

Despite this, and attempts to get the young Ralph into swimming, the desire to compete in motorsport remained. "He decided at an early age that he really liked it and it turned out he was really good."

How good will be seen when he competes against the world's best for the first time on March 9th in Melbourne.