Paddock magazine catches up with a young Formula Vee racer, Alex T Jones. His talent and attitude may one day take him to the top of motorsport, so look out for this one!
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Name: Alexander Tarran Winskill Jones
Date of birth: February 23, 1993
Place of birth: Watford
Team: Osport with Alex T Jones Racing
What was your very first experience of motor racing?
I can remember watching Formula 1 races from a very, very young age – my dad watched it. The first race I can honestly remember is David Coulthard’s first win at Estoril. And it turned into a progression to keep watching and wanting to have a go. The first karting experience came when I was 8 years old and it was at Teamworks’ Letchworth. From then on, I absolutely caught the karting bug and wanted to race all the time.
How did you finance your early years?
Throughout my childhood years and teens, I didn’t get to have a go at Rotax or minimax. It was always just an “arrive and drive” karting at Letchworth, and it was only once in a couple of months. My parents just couldn’t get the money together. Then in 2012, when I was 19 years old, I got a taste of it with the CSMA North London Karting Region, which was a very competitive championship. There were people from 18 to 60 years of age, which was really fun.
One of the biggest challenges for every driver is to attract sponsorship. What is your recipe for success?
Yes, sponsorship is definitely hard to come by. I am lucky to now be sponsored by my dad with his company and to be on the Power Maxed program. You need to keep networking, meeting new people and talking about your racing or karting. If a driver doesn’t believe in his or her own talent, then no one else is going to help. Most of the times a company will say no, but if you keep going back to them, sometimes a yes can be on the way. In other words, don’t doubt yourself and just keep believing and trying every day. It will happen.
How do you deal with the competition on the track?
I try throughout the week go to the gym and go swimming. I also like to study for the next round to also see where I can gain time. I always listen to music before a race to relax. I try and make sure that absolutely nothing is in my head just before the race. When I go out for the parade lap, I try to relax even more and focus on warming up the tyres. As soon as those lights come on, it’s game time.
What are your most important career highlights?
In 2012, I had a karting event at Rye House. I didn’t think much of the event at first, but I was so concentrated on the day and I managed to win. I didn’t have a good qualifying round at the Formula Vee festival last year, but I got my best finish with a credible 10th place. And on the 14th of June, I got my best qualifying session in Formula Vee at Castle Combe, which was 14th out of 26 cars.