It's a pretty good start to a racing career to manage sixth place in the Formula BMW USA standings and win the rookie championship at only 16 years old. Heading into the 2007 USA season Daniel Morad is tipped to be a favourite to take the overall...
It's a pretty good start to a racing career to manage sixth place in the Formula BMW USA standings and win the rookie championship at only 16 years old. Heading into the 2007 USA season Daniel Morad is tipped to be a favourite to take the overall title this year but he's keeping a level head about his achievements so far.
"Being rookie champion in 2006 was not really a big surprise; it was more of a relief," the recently-turned 17-year old told Motorsport.com. "I was very confident going into the 2006 season with very high hopes and the race for the rookie cup got closer at the end of the season because of bad luck, but in the end I won the rookie championship and I was very happy."
The USA season starts on May 17th at Miller Motorsports Park and Morad has been preparing on the test track. He last raced at the World Final in Spain in November and achieved a very respectable fourth place against competitors from all of the Formula BMW series. But now it's a new season, new rivals and back to the hard work.
"Testing has been going very well so far," he said. "I haven't done any private testing this winter and have not been in the car since the Formula BMW World Final in Valencia. My first test back in the car was in Road Atlanta I have been at the top of the time sheets consistently. We are very pleased with the way the pre season official testing has gone so far."
And how has Morad been preparing for the season off-track? "Actually, I have just returned from the Pitfit Training camp with the Formula BMW Education and Coaching Program and I have learned a lot about training and what is good and bad to do in preparing for the upcoming season," he explained. "I am training every day now and have a set nutrition plan for the rest of the year."
Formula BMW is a tough training ground but the rewards can be significant. Robert Wickens, overall USA champ last year, was picked up by Red Bull while World Final winner Christian Vietoris gained a test with the BMW Sauber Formula One team for his efforts. As 2006 rookie champ Morad earned a scholarship as a BMW Junior for this season but he knows it won't be easy.
"Well, you can't count anyone out, but of the drivers so far that I have observed I believe that Sebastian Saavedra will be among the quick drivers, as well as Race Johnson if he competes this year in the Formula BMW USA series," he said of his rivals. "Also Jeffrey Petriello and Alexander Rossi will be quick from time to time but it's all about experience and knowing the tracks, so on the tracks where we are able to test prior to the event I think they will be able to contend for a podium spot."
Maybe at 17 years-old it might be easy to get a bit carried away with the attention and expectations Morad is facing but so far he's keeping calm. "It's quite amazing that this year I am being picked as a favourite to win everything," he sounds surprised about the idea. "I'm trying not letting any of this excitement get into my head. I'm just going to be very focused this year and try to perform to the best of my ability and the rest will follow."
There are 14 rounds this season, including support races to F1 at the Canadian and US Grands Prix, so there's a long way to go before we find out if Morad's ability will take him all the way to the title. There's a good chance of it and even if doesn't happen the Canadian is surely going to get himself noticed. For the moment, though, he's taking it one step at a time.
"I'm not quite sure exactly what I'm going to be racing after Formula BMW," he remarked in regard to his future. "It's not really up to me to decide, it's all about where I have to be and where the finances will take me. If it was up to me to decide I would love to race in Europe, but it would not be bad to race in the Champ Car Atlantic series."