Google+ Jack Leslie F1: Interview: Nick Yelloly

6 March 2013

Interview: Nick Yelloly

The 2013 GP3 season looks to be one to remember, with a grid full of potential Formula 1 race winners and champions. 
(c) GP3 Series
The talent pool in the series really is second to none, and one of those drivers if Brit Nick Yelloly. After success in karting and Formula Renault, despite the late introduction to racing, he moved to GP3 but had a tough year. He then found success in Formula Renault 3.5 and now moves back to GP3 with Carlin, a team he thinks can propel him to the top. I caught up with him ahead of this season, talking about his career, costs of racing in feeder series and who he would pick to drive for him if he owned a Formula 1 team.

Jack Leslie: So how did you get in to motorsport, what was your first taste of it?

Nick Yelloly: My first taste was actually at a go karting party when I was 12 years old, which I won and really enjoy. But I didn't start racing outdoors until I was 15, so a pretty late starter!

JL: Was there anyone who particularly inspired you, or you looked up to when you started racing?

NY: My dad and I had always watched a lot of racing before I started. Growing up it was Schumacher who was really the man of the moment, but for me Alonso was someone I looked up to as I started because he was the new kid on the block showing Schumacher how it was done in 2005 and 2006.

JL: Looking at your career in Formula Renault, in its many variations, what was your highlight or highlights from your three seasons in the series?

(c) Renault Sport

NY: I had some great times in all of the Renault series, starting from after my first learning year, I was second in the Winter Series and then took a pole, win and four podiums in the main series the year after. The highlight for me has to be either winning the first race of the new World Series 3.5 car in Motorland in front of now F1 driver Jules Bianchi or winning the wet dry wet race at the Nurburgring by 27 seconds, again in the World Series. This was because the day before I was unable to finish due to a sickness bug, so to win the day after was pretty special.

JL: Obviously Formula Renault UK and Formula 2 have both folded, do you think the feeder series need to be more affordable and perhaps have less emphasis on the money side? Or is it something that will never really change? 

NY: I think that the feeder series have gotten to be expensive, to be able to race up to 1.7 million Euros to race GP2 or one million to race WSR is now completely mad, as you can see I think some of the grids are getting thinner in depth of talent due to it, and many team are having to sell up and move on due to not being able to afford running in the series. It really needs to change in my view otherwise it will become even more money dependent on whether you get to race at the top or not!

JL: For 2011 you made the move to GP3, what do you make of the series and your first season competing? 

NY: My first season in GP3 was obviously a huge struggle, we had three rookies in a team which simply wasn't going to work as none of us had enough experience to get what we wanted from the car. I scored a podium in the wet at my home race so it wasn't all bad. But obviously a disappointing one for me.
(c) GP3 Series

JL: Formula Renault 3.5 was your next point of call, you had fantastic success in the series last year. How did you feel your season went, and what were the main high and low points for you?

NY: The WSR 3.5 last year was my best racing season so far in my career, without doubt. To have won two races, score four podiums and finish fifth in a championship with such a high standard of driving was great. I think as mentioned before the two wins have to be the highlights, but also finishing fourth from the back of the grid in Silverstone was a pretty awesome race too.

JL: Now it has been recently announced that you will return to GP3, why did you decide to do this? Some would say it is almost a step back.  

NY: Yes I'm sure many people could see it as a potential back step, but they obviously haven't looked into the reasons why the move was made. To have the opportunity to race with such a great team as Carlin was a big reason, along with the fact the new revamped GP3 car has a massive performance upgrade. Also at the moment money is also a huge issue and I would rather go into a championship to do it properly with a top team, and in GP3 I have the chance to do that, learn the Pirelli tyre and race in front of the F1 team bosses once again.

JL: You have driven the old and new GP3 cars now, you have been testing the 2013 one recently, what are the main differences and variations when comparing them?

NY: The engine is the main difference between the two cars, I haven't driven the old GP3 for a long time so its hard to compare. But the new GP3 machine is great, really fun and challenging to drive with a lot of grip in the medium and slow speed corners. A real drivers car, so the GP3 series should be proud of the car they've made, definitely put a smile on my face when I left the pits! 

JL: What are your expectations heading in to your second GP3 season, now with the Carlin team?

(c) GP3 Series
NY: I want to be fighting at the front in every race, which I'm sure we can together. Carlin were great last year and they're success in Junior Formula is really second to none. So I have no other aim but to win.
JL: It is a very tough series, who do you expect to be the toughest competition?

NY: Yes, last season and then this season, the people in the series are all very good drivers and it would be hard to say who would be the toughest competition. There's a few from WSR 3.5 who I know are strong and some from GP3 last year too. Should be good fun.

JL: Obviously the aim is Formula 1, what team would you most like to drive for? 

NY: I would say it would have to be Williams F1, it seems to be like family there and you don't often get that in F1 team nowadays because of the sheer size of them, they are all true racers and the team give young drivers good chances too. Frank Williams has had great success there and I'm glad to see that they seem to be on a upward spiral once again. I'd love to be part of the team in some form one day.

JL: And Finally, looking at the current crop of racers in F1, if you decided to set up your own racing team which two drivers would you hire? 

NY: Hamilton and Alonso for me are the best two drivers out there, Hamilton will always get the best out of the car he has and is a mega exciting racer. Alonso is the best all rounder, never gives up and a real team player. Shame it didn't work at Mclaren with them in the same team!

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