Macau Grand Prix

Daniel Ticktum racing at Macau Grand Prix after serving 12-month ban for dangerous driving

British teenager is back having learned his lesson and hoping to move on after a racing incident at Silverstone at the 2015 MSA Formula series left astonished officials to described it as a “disturbing and dangerous episode”

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 10:31pm

Redemption is the last thing on most people’s minds when they first come to Macau given the nature of this city that seldom sleeps, but it forms part of Daniel Ticktum’s mission as the teenager makes his debut in the Formula Three Grand Prix this weekend.

At just 17, the British driver has already experienced the highs and the lows of motorsport: he emerged as one of the brightest young talents in Europe and then fell into some disgrace – and a 12-month ban – when the red mist descended in a race.

Ticktum overtook 10 cars and then crashed into championship rival Ricky Collard after the safety car was called out during the second-last round of 2015 MSA Formula series at Silverstone. Astonished members of the Motor Sports Association described it as “a disturbing and dangerous episode”.

Ticktum was slapped with a two-year-ban – 12 months suspended – and it was home to Sussex for a long think about things.

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With the ban over since last month, and with some serious lap time secured at the end of the European F3 series in Hockenheim leading into his trip to Macau, Ticktum says it is very much a case of lesson learned.

“There’s no saying anything else than what I did was very, very stupid,” said Ticktum before hitting the Guia Circuit for first practice on Thursday.

“But it might be good to learn these lessons very young and steepen the learning curve as much as I can before I start getting into the big categories of racing, where lots of money is at stake.

“I’m lucky in a way it was in F4 and not GP2 but no matter what class it was in the penalty would still be the same and it doesn’t make what I did right in any way. Now it’s up to me to show people I deserve to be out there and that I belong out there.”

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In 2011, Tiktum swept four British karting titles, an achievement that proved beyond the likes of future F1 stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the same stage of their careers.

Now the teenager hopes to prove himself in the Double R Racing Mercedes at a circuit that has a rich tradition of announcing young talent to the world.

Last year’s edition was a case in point. Canadian Lance Stroll came here aged 17 and finished eighth behind Felix Rosenqvist. Stroll ran away with this year’s F3 title and stands poised on brink of Formula One with Williams. Monaco’s Charles Leclerc was another to grab the imagination of race fans last year as he finished second behind Rosenqvist, and at 19 he is seen as the youngster most likely to be next in a F1 seat.

Ticktum knows his racing history, and the opportunities that may come from a decent performance this weekend. The flashes of speed he showed in first practice suggest he’s warming to the task quickly.

“It’s a race I’ve wanted to do since I started car racing,” he said. “I heard about it about almost as soon as I started racing. Everybody says once you’ve done Macau nothing is ever as good as that. Now I’m here to see if anyone was lying or not but it seems like it’s going to be amazing. I just can’t wait to get out there and race.”

“Not being able to race was difficult .You know I am still pretty young – just 17. So I’ve got enough time ahead of me but the first few months to be honest were very hard. But it all went quite quickly so now I want to get back to work.”

Attention now turns to Sunday’s big race – and to the future.

“The grid is super strong this year,” said Ticktum. “You have drivers coming back here from all over. It’s exciting and I am just happy to be here.”