Tung stays on track for F1 dream
Updated: 2011-04-14 07:58
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
BEIJING - Working as a test driver for Lotus Renault Formula One team again this season means that Dutch-born Chinese Tung Ho-pin can still pursue his F1 dream.
With three years' experience on the circuit, competing in F1, the world's top car racing series, is a genuine goal for Tung, not just a dream.
"I'm much more mature as a racing driver now because I have a lot more knowledge than three years ago," said the 28-year-old Tung on Tuesday, days before the Shanghai Grand Prix this weekend.
"F1 back then was a dream. Maybe now it's more of a goal, since I'm so close to an actual racing seat now. It changes your attitude as well as you realize you're not trying to get into F1; you're actually preparing for it," he said.
Last season, Tung, who took up racing in the Netherlands at the age of 14, became a reserve driver for Renault. It was the first time an ethnic Chinese had joined an F1 team. Before that, he had been a test driver for two years.
Tung achieved a lot while working with team Renault.
"Compared with years ago, there are differences in terms of me as a driver and also in terms of my understanding about how F1 works," Tung said.
"F1 is very different from any other racing series. It's much more complicated. There are lots of technical differences between F1 and other racing series.
"As reserve driver, basically, I'm doing the same as the other racing drivers in the team, apart from the actual driving during the race weekend. So it gives me the opportunity to understand all the systems, all the procedures, since it's such a highly professional and large organization."
For his second year with Renault, Tung is looking forward to making further progress.
"Whenever you experience a milestone in your career, I think you always take it step by step. I think every time you reach a new level, you set yourself a new goal.
"That's difficult not only for racing drivers, but also for sports people in general. They are probably never satisfied with the things they've achieved, but are always looking forward to the next goal.
"This is my second year as a test driver for the Lotus Renault GP team and it's a big honor for me. It's important to me as a driver as it will also give me another opportunity to keep developing.
"I hope in the very near future, I will be able to represent the Chinese audience in F1."
As the only ethnic Chinese driver in the sport, Tung always draws attention from Chinese motor racing fans.
To better satisfy his Chinese fans, Tung started his official Chinese website on Tuesday on one of the country's leading portals, sohu.com.
"I know I have a lot of supporters in China and I hope one day I can return their support and make them proud of me," he said.
(China Daily 04/14/2011 page23)
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