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Formula E

Ticktum exclusive: 'I don't feel like I'm treated the same'

Dan Ticktum is a driver who acknowledges that he's not helped himself in the past but continues to feel like he's treated differently, making him an easy target for many, including one Team Principal.

Ticktum - Diriyah - 2024
Interview
To news overview © Simon Galloway / Formula E

Dan Ticktum is without a doubt one of the fastest drivers in Formula E, but his motorsport career so far has been an eventful and somewhat controversial one, with him accepting that the way he's viewed by many is because of his actions when he was younger. Ticktum is often targeted on social media, arguably more so than others.

A lot of the negativity towards the ERT driver is based around his infamous two-year ban from racing in 2015, after he overtook 10 drivers whilst behind a Safety Car in MSA Formula, before taking out Ricky Collard. Ticktum and Collard had initially collided on the opening lap, which dropped the Formula E driver to the back of the field.

Ticktum immediately apologised for his actions, whilst one year of his ban was suspended. Despite this incident having occurred almost a decade ago when he was just a teenager, Ticktum continues to be singled-out by many.

Since he returned to racing, Ticktum has gone onto be part of both Red Bull and Williams' Junior programmes, highlighting his talent and raw pace. He was dropped by Red Bull mid-2019 but was quickly poached by Williams in 2020, who let him go once an F1 seat wasn't available in 2022.

He ultimately joined ERT in 2022 for Season 8 – known at the time as NIO 333 – and has remained with the Chinese outfit ever since. His personality is certainly unique but that is by no means a negative! Ticktum often says it exactly how it is, something which is very respectable, and is arguably relatable.

This is more often than not why he's particularly vocal over the radio, something which also impacted his reputation during his days in F3 and F2. At the Formula E season-opener in Mexico City last month, Ticktum bizarrely had to navigate a loose Tecpro barrier which was in the middle of the circuit, whilst completing his final lap in the group stage of qualifying.

Understandably, he was forced to bail out of his lap, leaving him at the back of the grid to his frustration. His feelings were heard at some volume over the radio, with his comments to the team having quickly circulated on social media.

'Difficult to shake' his reputation

The comments from fans were mostly negative but he recognises that his reputation results in this, leading him to admit that he needs to stop giving people "ammo".

"I don't think I said anything particularly bad, I was just p****d off about the whole barrier scenario, which, you know, it's the only lap of the weekend where I can prove myself as a driver and I didn't get the opportunity to because of a barrier on the track," Ticktum exclusively told RacingNews365 in Diriyah.

"Tecpro shouldn't come loose like that, so it was very frustrating. You know, look I can talk about the radio and my career in my past frustrations that have led to a sort of more irate version of me, but people will never understand what it's like to be a sportsman or a racing driver, when we're in those situations.

"You see it in football all the time, people swearing and pushing and head-butting each other, it happens a lot in sport. Everyone's under very high tension, high stress. And there's a lot on the table, if I don't perform, like I say, in races –I don't have much opportunity to perform this year because we're very inefficient – I might be out of a job next year.

"So, you know, everything's very, very important, since everything's just heightened a lot. But yeah, people do jump down my neck a bit but I've just got to stop giving them any ammo. It's easier said than done, that's for sure.

"I think a lot of the time, I react quite similarly to other drivers on the grid, but because of the reputation I've created myself, it's quite difficult to shake it. I think people just pick up on whatever I do a bit more than others."

'View me for what I am now'

Racing drivers are under the greatest of pressure 24/7, given that a poor performance can ultimately be the difference between receiving a new contract or being left without a job. Formula E is a brutal championship where driver transfers are common.

Seeing his angry radio messages being posted so often is frustrating for the Briton, who wants people to "let go" of his past and judge him for the person he is today. The way he is currently treated he believes differs from other drivers, although he accepts this is entirely his own fault.

"It's a bit annoying and not very helpful, kind of stuff that Formula E post as well, to be honest, I need to have a conversation with them about that," Ticktum admitted. "That's a separate topic. I don't even have Twitter on my phone or X or whatever it's probably called these days.

"So I don't really care. To be honest, I think I pay attention to people that know, and people that know what they're talking about and understand. So yeah, it doesn't affect me too much.

"Although, you know, I don't feel like I'm treated the same as other drivers because of my past but that is my responsibility.

"So I think people just need to try and let go of my past and, you know, view me for what I am now with a bit of a sort of clearer mind. That would be helpful, but also like I say, sometimes, you know, I didn't need to press the radio button when that barrier came out.

"But you know, as you know, I do want to tell the team and I want people to understand what's going on, I don't want to just be last in my group and people not know, because if I didn't shout on the radio, probably no one would have known about that incident and I would have just been last and everyone would have been like Ticktum did s***.

" Like, what do I do, it's a lose-lose? Anyway, I think I need to just, like I say, sometimes react the same as other drivers, but I've got to just not press the radio button."

Followed everyone 'like a sheep'

It's not just on social media where negative comments have been directed at the 24-year-old, with one Team Principal having also recently made a remark about the driver.

In the fourth episode of the most recent series of Formula E 'Unplugged' – the championship's equivalent to 'Drive to Survive' – Andretti Team Principal Roger Griffiths was captured on camera saying to Michael Andretti that "you would never put him [Ticktum] in front of a sponsor", whilst positively discussing the speed of the ERT driver.

Ticktum isn't happy on what Griffiths said about him and admitted that the duo have "never had a conversation", with the Briton explaining how he's got significant experience in speaking to sponsors.

"It does," insisted Ticktum, when asked if Griffiths' comments annoyed him. "Because the bloke has never had a conversation with me face-to-face in his life. So he wouldn't know what I'm like in front of a sponsor. I mean, I've been very fortunate enough to have good education growing up.

"I've had to speak to people from all walks of life, all sorts of sponsors, you know, Red Bull, private sponsors, everything and I think if he were to see how I perform in front of those people, I can talk very eloquently.

"Like I say, I've been fortunate enough to be brought up well and have a good education. So I think to just go along with the crowd like a sheep and just judge me like everyone else does on Twitter, for someone in a position of power like him I think it's, how do I put this nicely? Silly. Let's just call it that but I don't want to go further than that."

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