Erickson DOWN, BUT NOT OUT, AFTER AMSF decision Daniel Erickson isn't throwing in the towel, despite the Australian Motor Sport Foundation failing to re-appoint him as an International Rising Star for 2010. Erickson, 22, received the shock...
Erickson DOWN, BUT NOT OUT, AFTER AMSF decision
Daniel Erickson isn't throwing in the towel, despite the Australian Motor Sport Foundation failing to re-appoint him as an International Rising Star for 2010.
Erickson, 22, received the shock news on Friday, less than a week after he arrived back in Australia following a highly successful debut overseas racing season in British Formula Ford.
He returned home via the USA for what turned out to be a sensational test with Star Mazda team Mundill at MSR Houston Raceway on December 2-3.
In his first drive of a 'slicks and wings' openwheeler, on an unfamiliar racetrack in unfavourable weather, he lapped within a tenth of a second of Mundill's best Star Mazda time.
But without the AMSF contribution to his 2010 racing budget he faces an uphill battle to contest the high-profile Star Mazda Championship -- or any similar 'junior development' openwheeler series.
"The AMSF decision took me by surprise, because I achieved everything that could reasonably have been expected of me this year," Erickson said.
"I finished fifth overall in the British Formula Ford Championship, and was the highest ranked driver with no previous experience on British racetracks."
Erickson said that the late confirmation of his AMSF funding prevented him from doing as much pre-season testing as his rivals.
"I was only told that I would be the AMSF's circuit racing International Rising Star in February, by which time the leading British Formula Ford teams were already well into their pre-season testing programs.
"Also, my budget didn't allow me to do as much testing during the championship as the frontunners did.
"I was usually on their pace in qualifying, but because I could only afford a limited amount of race set-up preparation my lap times in the races tended to 'drop off' more than theirs," he said.
Despite these handicaps, Erickson scored one race win, six podiums and three pole positions -- a lot better than this year's British Formula Ford Champion, James Cole, managed in his debut season in the fiercely competitive series (see comparison, below).
Erickson added that he had applied for financial assistance to compete in the 2010 Star Mazda Championship instead of a second British Formula Ford campaign, as the AMSF had suggested, because it would delay his graduation to motorsport's senior categories.
"Three years in Formula Ford is long enough, and my Star Mazda test proved that I'm ready to move up to the next level," he said.
Erickson said that he was grateful to the AMSF for contributing to his racing budget this year, and to CAMS for supporting him during 2008 and 2009, but he wasn't dwelling on their latest decision.
"I've come back from adversity many times on the racetrack, and this off-track setback is no different -- it means I just have to try even harder to secure the entire budget for the next step in my journey to Formula 1.
"I might be down, but I'm definitely not out!"