The right formula

The right formula

Motor racing is all about teams seeing whose car is fastest. YP junior reporters went backstage at the Macau Grand Prix


Junior reporters William Cheng and Yasmin Subba pose at the paddock in Macau.
Junior reporters William Cheng and Yasmin Subba pose at the paddock in Macau.
Photos: John Kang/SCMP
The Macau Grand Prix is one of the top events on the Formula Three (F3) motor racing calendar. On November 16, the day before the race, our junior reporters were invited to a paddock tour of Red Bull's team and interviewed driver Tom Blomqvist. Here's what they had to say about the experience.

It's not just about the driver

Yasmin (left) and William talk to Carlin public relations director Jodi Kemper before the Formula Three race

Vroom, vroom! This was the first thing we heard when we landed in central Macau. These adrenaline-pumping noises were produced by one of the machines built purely for speed, the F3 race cars.

We were greeted by Jodi Kemper, the friendly public relations director for team Carlin, who also travels around the world with the Red Bull F3 team. She told us all about the F3 cars and their drivers.

"Every part of the [F3] car can be changed and modified specifically for a race and according to the driver's feeling," she said.

As in horse racing, in which the jockey and the horse are completely comfortable with each other, the driver must be very comfortable with his race car, too. The driver constantly gives feedback to the engineers and mechanics to help fine-tune the engine.

These adjustments take "usually two to three hours, but mechanics will take as long as it takes to get it right", Kemper said. "It'll take longer if the car was damaged in the race." Having the fastest car comes down to teamwork.

William Cheng

Like father, like son

Red Bull driver Tom Blomqvist tells Yasmin that sacrifices are part of motor racing

The deafening roar from the race cars greeted us at the Macau Grand Prix - and so did the racers themselves.

I was given the chance to talk to F3 racer Tom Blomqvist, from the Red Bull Junior Team. It seems a racing career was written in the stars for him, as his father, Stieg, won the World Rally Championship in 1984. Tom was 15 when he entered the Formula series and became the youngest-ever to win the Formula Renault UK Championship in 2010 aged 16.

"I was surrounded by [racing] all the time when I was growing up, so it was inevitable," explained Tom, who will be 20 on Saturday. "I also just love it. The thrill, the adrenaline, and so many emotions going through your body."

The thrill may not be the only fuel that drives this young man.

"I broke my back in a racing crash in 2011," Tom recalls. "That didn't throw me off. I just moved on; these things happen in racing."

Tom's passion and focus seem to be a must for racers, who travel around the world for most of the year. "You have to make sacrifices," admits Tom. "I'm away from my family a lot. It's hard to keep up with friends, but I'm not complaining. I'd rather lead my life than a normal life."

The life of a racer is certainly far from ordinary, but it does have its challenges. Earlier that day, Tom's car stalled in the qualifying race, meaning he had to start at the back in the final race. However, he did not let that dampen his positive attitude.

Yasmin Subba

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