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GP Week : Issue 187
5 MINUTES GPWeeK: After a prospective GP3 series drive didn’t happen, your season appeared to be in limbo for a while. Now you are [at Norisring] with euroInternational for the 6th round of the FIA european Formula 3 Championship - how did this deal come together? NICK CASSIDY: I was doing some simulator stuff with T-Sport (European F3 team) and through that, there was a test at the Red Bull Ring. I was hoping to do a couple of races with T-Sport, but ultimately it would only have been a couple. At the same time, I was talking to Antonio Ferraris [EuroInternational Team Principal] and he saw a two-car operation as more beneficial than a one-car operation, so he wanted to expand which suited me. There were a few races and odd tests in Europe in the last year-and-a -half – some were successful, others not so. This is now my first proper season in Europe where I'm doing more than one race. It seems like a really good atmosphere here as well. I get on really well with Tom [Blomqvist, teammate] and this half a year is going to be important for me to learn. Against him, I can learn a lot because there will be a reference point – he’s a good driver and I'm willing to improve. I raced with Tom and Mitch Evans in low-level single-seaters in New Zealand for two years and then raced in the Toyota Racing Series. You are a twice Toyota Racing series champion and New Zealand Grand Prix winner. Has that experience in those cars and on the older style circuits prepared you for this move to europe? For something like Formula Renault, definitely, but when you start getting toward Formula 3 and GP3, probably no. You can't really beat European experience and this is my first proper experience of a high downforce car, so I am still learning a lot to be honest. Like many drivers in recent years, you have had issues with funding. How has that affected your approach to the business of motorsport? All the way through there has been a struggle for funding, but all that changes is how I get into the car and once in the car, I am the same as everybody else. Sometimes, it can make it difficult to race, but when you are racing, it’s fine. New Zealand, perhaps unfairly, isn’t often considered a large motorsport hub – how did you initially get interested in racing? My grandfather and dad used to race in New Zealand, and when I was young I always watched Speedway [midget racing on dirt] in Auckland on ovals, so got really interested in that and Formula One at the same time. Through karting I got into Speedway, but the big interest for me was always Formula One, so it was always a push to go to Europe instead of Australia. In saying that, New Zealand has had a reputation of exporting top drivers – Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme in the past for example, while scott Dixon is doing well in IndyCar currently. There was Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Chris van der Drift and that was the age group above, and recently it was Mitch Evans, Richie Stanaway and myself. The worrying thing is after us, there isn't really much coming at the moment – yet the ratio of drivers in karting that make to low level single-seaters, compared to the population, is quite high. There are two guys coming through in go karting at the moment – one is 12 years old and the other is 14. speaking of your younger days, was there any particular driver who captured your imagination? Back in the day, everybody was following Michael Schumacher, but for instance I liked watching the championships between Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve and then Hakkinen. [Peter Cassidy, Nick’s father: He used to watch Formula One when he was three. In New Zealand, it was on at one o’clock in the morning, so we would put him in his little chair and I used to get up in the morning and say “who won?” . Even at three, he could name right from first to last.] Despite only running for the latter half of this european F3 season, have you set out any specific aims? Everyone wants to go out and win, but it's mostly about learning – we all have those goals, but I have to be realistic. There is stuff that I have to learn and to develop, so until I really know where I am, it's hard to make goals, but after this weekend we will know the performance level. Anything else we should know? I put my right glove on first! 5 MINUTES WITH NICK CASSIDY When Nick Cassidy missed out on a GP3 drive earlier this year, some believed the season had come to a premature end for the Kiwi. Not so for the 18-year-old, as LEIGH O’GORMAN discovered at Norisring 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: