Mexico City: Vernay - Team France interview

A1 Team: France Driver Name: Jean-Karl Vernay Date of Birth: 31 October 1987 Place of Birth: Lyon -- Villeurbanne, France Family: Has a 17-year-old brother and a 10-year-old sister. His brother is in the Motocross championship and his sister...

A1 Team: France

Driver Name: Jean-Karl Vernay
Date of Birth: 31 October 1987
Place of Birth: Lyon -- Villeurbanne, France

Family: Has a 17-year-old brother and a 10-year-old sister. His brother is in the Motocross championship and his sister hasn't yet decided what she'll do.

Interests: Sports in general, keeping fit and films

Interview:

When did you start racing?

Since I was five years old on a track near to Lyon. I've been driving competitively since I was ten years old and in single-seaters since 2005.

My parents are passionate motorsport fans in general and my father was a kart driver when he was young.

What attracted you to A1GP?

Well a few weeks ago Jean-Paul Driot offered me a drive as the team's rookie. It's a challenging series and will be a good opportunity for me to learn more circuits. Morgan Caron from the FFSA has talked to me a lot about A1GP and is a big fan.

How has your introduction to A1GP been?

I haven't yet tried the car so it's difficult to say but I've got a good idea from watching them what it will be like to drive and how the car will react.

How do you spend the off-season?

In 2005 I drove in Formula Campus in France and I won the 14-race championship. In 2006 I drove in Formula Renault and finished second in the championship with two wins, three poles and seven podiums.

Do you have any superstitions before a race?

I always imagine how a race is going to turn out but I am relaxed and don't get stressed. I concentrate on the race ahead and know exactly what my approach will be. I always go through everything with my engineers before a race.

How do you prepare for each race, mentally and physically?

I work hard during FFSA training sessions and I'm part of the Red Bull Junior Team so we do a lot of training at its facility in Salzburg. Dr Pansold looks after my fitness programme and we work out hard.

What is your best racing memory?

My pole position at Pau in 2006. It was a great moment; I took pole and the lap record on the famous circuit. It was a great result a rookie and I was so happy.

What is your worst memory?

That has to be from karting which was a long time ago but I haven't had many bad memories since. I was second in a European championship and had to retire with a mechanical failure.

What do you think of the Mexico circuit?

I don't know it at all because at the moment I do almost all my racing in France. However I've watched a lot of Champ Car races at the circuit on TV and have some sense of what it will be like to drive. It looks very fast and quite bumpy which will make it challenging.

What are your first impressions of the A1GP car?

I don't know anything about it really as I haven't had a chance to try it.

However it looks like it will be quite physically demanding to drive.

What circuit have you found the most demanding?

I adapt well to all kinds of circuit and there aren't any that I don't really like. If I had to say, I'm not a big fan of Nogaro. I know it very well but the barriers are very close to the track and its very easy to crash.

How quickly do you adapt to a new track?

I'm quite quick to learn new circuits and I find it quite fun.

What kind of impact do you think that A1GP has made on motor sport fans around the world?

There are quite a lot of fans already which is a good sign -- which is great. A number of the races have sold out all available seats which is a mark of how popular it is becoming. I've been told about the atmosphere at races like Zandvoort and Durban and it sounds phenomenal.

What do you think of A1 Team France's Loic Duval?

I know Loic and Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Premat well. They've all given me plenty of advice and tips on how to handle the new car.

What do you expect for Mexico?

I'm determined to progress very quickly and be competitive as soon as possible. I'm completely focused on bringing home a good result for the team.

Where do you go after this race?

On 22 April I'll go to Hockenheim for the F3 Euroseries race which is very competitive. I'm racing in the same series as A1 Germany's Nico Huelkenberg, but before then we'll be testing at Nogaro and Estoril.

-credit: team france

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Nicolas Lapierre , Alexandre Prémat , Loic Duval , Jean-Karl Vernay