Dad's ramblings



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The brave decision to hang up the helmet

Posted on 26th November, 2023

At the start of 2021, Roy took the brave decision (see this post) to stop karting, because he had other ambitions for his future. Nearly 3 years on, I feel proud of all he has accomplished since, and of his enthusiasm for all his sporting and other projects. Bravo, Roy!

The price of success in Junior karting

Posted on 16th December, 2021

At the start of 2020, we met, practiced and raced with 13 year-old Alex Powell (Mercedes Junior driver) who moved to Italy away from the parental home in Jamaica. Alex was driving 4-6 hours every day, and racing pretty much every weekend.


At the Winter Cup back in February 2020 I was chatting with Emmo (Emerson Fittipaldi), whose youngest son Emmo Jr. Fittipaldi (Sauber Junior driver) practiced and raced as much as Alex Powell, also in Roy’s Junior category. Emmo and Jr. were nomads from their home in Florida, and he quoted to me the maxim: “Hard work beats talent, except when talent works hard,” as coined by Tim Notke, a USA high school basketball coach.


Emmo Jr, and Roy ShawEmerson Fittipaldi, Winter Cup

Left: Emmo Jr. and Roy Shaw                     Right: Emerson Fittipaldi, Winter Cup


Despite having given up their education, their ridiculous schedule and having factory/team support, neither of these youngsters had been producing much noteworthy success, but presumably the money backing them will nonetheless advance them to top drives.


Here is a mini-rant about karting, feel free to skip:


Techniques or tips Roy found out to be amongst the most important include how to drive on the newly laid down rubber especially when it is hot and sticky, and how to cross the rubber line in the wet/or British greasy slime. So to practice those requires a lot of resources, including lorry loads of new tyres at £100+ per set, producing pollution and climate changing gases from the 2-stroke motors of the thousands of hopeful youngsters at a rate of who knows how many times more than professional motorsport…


Although less so for a very few elite so-called teams (“écuries” or stables might be a better label), a huge amount of money and resource goes into trying to bring the team principals, driver coaches, mechanics and the materials (chassis, motors and multiple components) up to the level required to win.


End of rant:

Great stuff thank you Esteban. Now we usually have a fan question, but there's a slight technical issue with the video that one of the young fans here in Baku sent in, so I’m going to read it out because Roxanna came up with a great question and here it is.



She asked if you had university and you had a race at the same time, would you go to university or would you go to the race?


Verstappen: Well it doesn't depend on the race, I wouldn't go at all anyway.


So [Laughter] just imagine you were at university.


I cannot imagine, can you see me at university, university of life. I uh no, I’m, I’m very happy with uh. I’m lucky of course with the path I’ve chosen in my life, but I never saw myself at university, no.


Asked about what about you?


Ocon: Yeah it's a bit similar unfortunately, um yeah I’m very happy with the choice in life that I’ve made, very pleased with how everything's going for me and but yeah, my mom was not too pleased when we had to go to the karting races, missing couple of days of school more than a couple of days sometimes. So yeah, it's going well but it could have been the other way; so kids: go to school stuff.


Thank you, and Roxanna, thanks for your efforts as well.


F1 2021 Azerbaijan GP Thursday Drivers Press Conference Esteban Ocon & Max Verstappen

Great stuff, thank you Nicholas we're going to go to the fan question next; take a listen to this from Moritz.



Hello drivers, what was the hardest thing to sacrifice as a teenager when you decided to try and become a formula one driver? Good  luck for the second Styrian grand prix; see you there!


Latifi: This is a good question,


Hamilton: Love his energy!


Let's start going


Latifi: Yeah um I mean I would think it would be a pretty common one amongst all of us;  I mean for me I would say a normal teenage social life I mean I only started racing in my early teenage years so I started racing at 13 years old but yeah I mean at that age when you kind of go into your early teens  late teens it's you know very uh not gonna say important time but a very unique time for young adolescents uh especially in kind of social life areas so yeah I mean basically me personally kind of that was all put aside not a lot of parties not a lot of time hanging out with friends outside of school you know every free uh free weekend I had I was away driving somewhere so yeah definitely the social life.


Thank you . What about you, Lewis?


Hamilton: I think naturally that's probably something yeah I could share the same thing there; I think for me probably my school, schooling is what I struggled the most um uh because I was missing like two days a week, one to two days a week, so that's generally like a worry I have for. If you look think about all the people that I raced through my whole career many of them there'd be a large percentage of them that didn't get to really finish school and then therefore the job opportunities afterwards when they obviously didn't make it at 21. So I think um I think that's an area that our sport can actually have a really good impact in in the future you know like um I think, I think it might already now already be just weekends, weekend races as opposed to um leaving on a Thursday and practices on a Friday but um really I think the FIA has an opportunity to encourage people to make sure that they're finishing school at the same time as racing, so that worst case scenario you can move off to be an engineer or a mechanic or that there's so many opportunity other jobs in this industry so that's what I’ll be pushing towards.


Thank you guys, and thank you to Moritz for that.


F1 Styrian GP - Press Conference (Lewis Hamilton & Nicholas Latifi)

To kart, or not to kart?

Posted on 16th December, 2021

In January 2021 Roy took an important decision to stop karting.


Around age 13 such commercialised sports require full-time commitment for competitive success.


So should we give up on his schooling and other sports (skiing is forbidden in youngsters’ team contracts) and go to live next to a kart track, maybe Lonato by Lago Garda in Italy?


Roy said: “Frankly, Dad, I love my life here too much for that, and I want to aim at university, not a low percentage chance of succeeding as a professional race driver or ending up as a kart mechanic.”