EB: Just going back to the midfield teams and having the experience of a world-renowned driver to help you along. Do you think that the way Toro Rosso have done it, having two rookies in a team, will become the future of motorsport?
PP: It’s sort of an interesting one with Toro Rosso because they’re almost a feeder team to Red Bull aren’t they? They gave a lot of young drivers a chance early on, like (Max) Verstappen, (Carlos Jr) Sainz and previously Buemi and Alguersuari and loads of other drivers. They give them a chance to get in and show how good they are. If they’re good, they get bumped up to the main team as Kvyat, Vettel previously, and now Ricciardo have done. They’ve also got quite a sticky situation because often they almost have to dump really good drivers just because they’ve come up against an exceptional driver. It’s interesting and a different way of going about it; very cutthroat. I suppose it does let the really exceptional drivers come to the floor and gives them a chance within Red Bull, which involves fighting for world championships. So, that would be quite cool.
EB: How would you respond to this situation, if you were in a team with another rookie?
PP: I think having two rookies in a team, while it’s good because it shows who the best at that level is, it’s also not great because the rookies lose out a bit because they haven’t got an experienced teammate to learn from so much. If I was with another rookie in a team, then I’d just have to concentrate on my performance. That’s what I’ve always done, concentrate on my own performance and not worry about what everyone else is doing, because then you can get the most out of yourself. If you don’t concentrate on yourself, you end up missing out. Every turn, every lap, just making myself better as a driver. I always want to improve. I’d take the data from the other rookie and he can take mine, so we can both learn and become better drivers in general, but I’d concentrate on my own driving more than theirs.
EB: That’s a great point to touch on, especially coming into my final question. So, if you were to get to F1 and win a Grand Prix, how would you celebrate that win?
PP: Firstly, I’d be absolutely ecstatic!
Piers’ Father (Sat listening to the interview): Buy his Dad a Bentley!
PP: (laughs) I’d be ecstatic and celebrate on the podium with the team and everyone. I’d have to thank everyone that’s helped me up until that point. I’ve got so many people that have helped me so far. My parents have been a massive support, financially and in general. Also, everyone at the Henry Surtees Foundation, who have really helped me in the last few years and given me so many opportunities to drive cars I wouldn’t have driven before. Obviously Artifex Media are helping me with everything at the moment, from presentations to filming me and doing everything, which is really good and has given me something to pitch to sponsors and everyone to get me on the grid next year. Also, back when I was younger, my first kart circuit I ever raced at was IndyKart, my local indoor kart circuit in Colchester, which sadly is no longer around. Clinton Bell, back from there, he was the Race Director and Manager back then and he really helped me. He gave me a really good platform to start my career on because even in indoor karting, he taught the right things: driving technique etc. We were doing rolling starts, which is quite a complex thing, when we were 8 or 9 years old. It gave me a massive foot in the door when I started outdoor karting because a lot of people had been doing it longer than I had but hadn’t really got their heads around how to actually maximise rolling starts and lots of other little things like that. I’d have to thank everyone who’s helped me publicly and privately as well. If I got to that stage, it wouldn’t just have been through myself, I’d have had to call on so many other people. Obviously I’d have to drive as well as I can. Terence Dove as well, who’s a driver coach of mine, I’d have to thank him because he’s helped me so much, not only technique wise but with the psychological side of motorsport, especially as a driver, which is so tough because you have to keep mentally focused and optimistic. When you’re driving, you need the right mental approach to everything. I’d thank all those people who’d helped me get to that stage as I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. As I’ve already said though, I’d be ecstatic and probably have to party with everyone who’s there and have a great time and then concentrate on the next race as soon as possible, so that hopefully I can do it again.