Clarke: "I'm full of confidence and my aim is to win"
Britain's Jack Clarke has today (18/01) been unveiled as the first driver to be announced for the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship, and the 22-year-old has already set his sights on winning the title.
2010 proved to be a very promising year for Clarke, as he recorded three podium finishes - including second place in the opening race at Brands Hatch and the final race of the year at Valencia - and four further top ten results.
The Effingham-born racer carried his momentum into F2's winter tests at Portimгo and Barcelona, finishing as the fastest driver in six separate sessions and never finishing outside the top three despite the presence of a highly talented field which included Formula 3 Euro Series race winner Antonio Felix Da Costa - who impressed for the Force India F1 team at official Rookie testing in 2010 - Italian Formula 3 Champion Cesar Ramos and 2009 European F3 Open Champion Bruno Mendez.
Clarke admits such form has left him full of optimism ahead of the 2011 campaign, and insists regular victories will be his main focus.
"It's nice to go in full of confidence," Clarke explained, "but I don't just want to carry on where I left off in 2010 - I want to win, and win consistently.
"This is my third year in the championship, but I don't think that will be important if I go out there and win it; that would be the best possible answer I could give. Motor racing is a confidence game - confidence breeds results and results breed confidence, and in F2 I'm very relaxed and in a good state of mind ahead of the season's start."
After occasional bad luck deprived him of chances to record points finishes in 2010, Jack admitted he had considered other series for 2011 but felt none compared to the value and opportunity provided by F2 - a decision his sponsors also echoed.
"We looked quite seriously at other series for this year, but F2 proved to be a no-brainer for us really," he said. "To know there is a chance to test in Formula One at the end of the season is an incredible motivator, but you also have the GP2 test prizes which are very significant.
"Overall we felt Formula Two was a better package, and I have to say thank you to my sponsors who felt that F2 was the place they wanted to be. It's going to be very exciting going to some of the historic circuits on the 2011 calendar - places where my heroes have raced in the past - so I can't wait for the season to start. It might not be a walk in the park, but I've been working hard throughout the winter and I'm confident I can hit the ground running at Silverstone!"
F2 Series Director Jonathan Palmer said: "Jack Clarke was increasingly impressive during the 2010 season, and his podiums at the Algarve, Brands Hatch and Valencia proved his obvious speed and talent. He was also sensational during our winter testing programme, and I expect him to be a multiple race winner with a very realistic chance of winning the title this year. I'm delighted to unveil Jack as our first confirmed driver for 2011, and I look forward to further announcements over the coming weeks as the line-up for our third season of competition continues to take shape."