Robbie Wickens, from Guelph and Toronto, lost some ground again during last weekend’s Formula 2 meeting at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in Germany when he finished eighth in the weekend’s first race and fourth in the second.
The Canadian started the F2 season – designated by the FIA as the official feeder series for Formula 1 – with two victories. Since then, he’s steadily lost ground to leader Andy Soucek of Spain and, in fact, is now third in the standings. And the winner of last weekend’s second race, Russian Mikhail Aleshin (second in the standings), is – like Wickens – a Red Bull-backed driver so the pressure is really on.
Racing in Europe is cutthroat to the extreme, as is the business of racing. You win – or else. And a podium finish is the minimum expected.
Every time I’ve talked to Wickens, going back three years, he’s always been upbeat and optimistic. Not exactly happy-go-lucky, but satisfied with his performance and confident of his future.
I had a chat with him a week ago Sunday at Mosport during the American Le Mans Series weekend – he was making a guest appearance in the Formula Atlantic Series race, in which he finished fourth – and he was far from being a happy camper.
“Things are going okay,” he said, “but they could be better. I’m not leading the championship by a considerable margin and, in fact, I’m not leading the championship at all any more.
“Having said that, I can’t control mechanical failures (of which there’s been a bunch). I’m driving better than I have in my whole life (he’s 20) and it’s just frustrating when you don’t have a reliable car under you.
“But – that’s motorsport. Hopefully, my string of bad luck is over and done with and I can carry on with the championship. It’s not over yet.”
But it soon will be. There are only four races remaining and time’s running out.
I still think Wickens is Canada’s best hope to next carry our colours into Formula One. Let’s cross our fingers that things improve.