You don’t have to spend long in Alex Connor’s company to know he is a young driver brimming with determination.
After a strong first season in the British F4 Championship, the Dubai-based 15-year-old is set for a second year in the competition, aimed at young racing drivers moving up from karting.
Following in the footsteps of McLaren star Lando Norris, Connor has plenty of inspiration to draw from his fellow countryman.
Not only was it Connor’s first year driving in F4 last year, it was the first time he had driven a car of any kind.
A consistent points finisher in 2019, the Arden Motorsport driver clinched a double-pole position and maiden podium finish at Brands Hatch, on the iconic GP circuit and finished the year as Rookie Vice-Champion, sealing five class victories and a further 17 podium visits in the process.
It was a productive first season in single-seaters, and one where he learned plenty of valuable lessons.
“I was happy [with] how I ended up in the season. I got a P3 at the end of the British season. I got third and a win at the Trophy Round support race over the Abu Dhabi F1 weekend last year. The main thing that I struggled with was that I was a lot smaller. I’ve grown a bit in the last year,” said the JESS Arabian Ranches student.
“Strength is the main thing. The cars are hard to drive. They have a little bit of aero on the front wing and rear wing. You are on slick tyres as well so you have no tread. It makes it even harder and you have no power steering either.”
By the end of the first season , Connor’s confidence was there for all to see. He was adapting to the car a lot quicker than usual and given he had never been in a car before, his lap times were very impressive.
Finishing ninth is a fantastic achievement in his first season driving competitively, and it will no doubt spur him on to improve further as the year progresses.
At 15, his body is still growing and developing, therefore time in the gym is limited to body weight exercises. Perfect to keep the muscles conditioned in a long, gruelling season.
“I’m still growing. I mainly do body weight exercises which is good for me. I couldn’t do as much in the gym last year which affected my driving but I’m still growing,” he said.
“When I’m in the UK, I do simulator work and driving mainly. Usually I go earlier, two days before I drive, I’m in a simulator learning the gears, learning the track, where to brake and accelerate. We go through a preview with engineer of the track.”
The F4 championship is an extremely competitive 10-round competition with drivers from all over the world taking part. Each championship event consists of three races, therefore drivers could be doing 30 races per season in a bid to score valuable points.
For Connor, it’s a fantastic learning curve to be testing his mettle against the best young competition around the world.
“It is tough because it’s more like an international championship. You get drivers from all over the world that do the British F4 Championship. You get some great drivers in it. Drivers that won it before include Lando Norris at McLaren now. Max Fewtrell is another driver who won it in 2016 and he’s in F3 now. A lot of drivers who have done F4 are very high up now in different series,” said Connor.
After learning the ropes in 2019, the aim for this year is to convert his ninth place finish into championship glory. It’ll be another long but enjoyable season, splitting his time between Dubai and the UK as he goes in search of realising his dreams.
“My main goal is to win the championship this year. Last year was a learning curve for me so this year is going to be to go for the win. In testing so far, I’ve been top-two all the time. On the official test day, I was quickest in the morning and third fastest in the afternoon. I was only a tenth of a second off first on cold tyres,” he said.
Know more about Sport360 Application