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Behind the scenes with an F4 Driver: An interview with William Macintyre

Conducted and Written by Leia Pitrora

Image Credits - William Macintyre

William Macintyre discusses his racing career, and mentions different aspects of his career, from the beginning right till today. Talking about the challenges of racing and advancing from different levels of skill over his journey, discussing his first year in single seaters, and his participation in the British Formula Four championship. From the challenges of continuing a racing career during the hard times of lockdown, during Covid, and how it affected racing from his perspective to the typical schedule and struggles before and after a race emotionally, as a current Formula Four driver, William Macintyre shares the events of racing, such as his success of winning a Ginetta Rookie Championship from his perspective, and how to battle the post-race emotions as a young, current driver. William Macintyre, from the perspective of a young driver himself, shares his personal advice which he would offer to younger aspiring drivers and his very own career journey into the career of Motorsport.

Leia Pitrora: So, William, your talent and skill in racing has given you some incredible opportunities and choices throughout your career. But what would you say has been that focal point of your career for you?

William Macintyre: I think so far, probably this year, British F4, it's been sort of my favourite point. Like it's been a really interesting year and pretty challenging, obviously, my first year in single seaters and, you know, being on the British F4 car championship, well, with the British F4 cars, it's been a very high, promoted series. So, you know, I've done pretty well, I feel like I'm obviously in the championship and, obviously, I think the two race wins this year have been absolutely mega so far.

Leia Pitrora: Are you feeling optimistic for that secure P2 position this year in the championship?

William Macintyre: Yeah, mathematically, I think I've already secured P2 in the championship. So, I think obviously one point in it to go to P1, so it's obviously really, really tight. So, we're just gonna go for it in the last round. Send it.

Leia Pitrora: Well, I'll be rooting for you. Who was your biggest inspiration for joining any form of motorsport? So, maybe when you were younger, currently and it could be someone well known or a family member.

William Macintyre: I don't really have an inspiration for joining motorsport. I sort of just watched Formula one on TV. I think, when I was watching it, I think Vettel or Alonso was my favourite driver, as I think, Alonso was in Ferrari and obviously, you know, as a young guy, everyone likes Ferrari. So, you know, I was always a fan of the Ferrari cars and, and also, Vettel he was, really, really good, and dominant back in those days. I think it was 2011, 2012 when he won all those championships. So, yeah, that's sort of when I was old enough to start watching and as early as my memory goes back, I've been interested.

Leia Pitrora: So, you've said you decided to start a career in racing when you were younger. Was that an easy decision for you or did it take you a while to get your head around the idea?

William Macintyre : I don't think it was sort of like a decision. It's just, been one of those sort of stepping stones where it's sort of happened and then I think in the past couple of years it's sort of going, 'oh, you know, a career might actually be a genuine opportunity' because obviously I started Karting initially just for fun and, you know, I'm still doing racing just for fun, and, luckily for me, if I can make a career out of it, out of a hobby, that's the best thing for me, you know? I sort of went up the ranks and, you know, kept enjoying myself and, I think going to F4 now is sort of looking ahead. It is trying to actually make a career out of it. I think it's just been sort of recently where I’m still doing school but, starting to fully focus on racing now. Obviously, I did my GCSEs, and I'm still doing a couple for next year as well. So, it wasn't really a tough decision, I'd have to say, I think because, you know, it's something I wanna do.

Leia Pitrora: So, branching off of that, when it comes to life in general, how do you manage that stress of racing, Training, education, and your personal life on a regular basis?

William Macintyre: Yeah. So, it's a difficult one because, you know, sometimes the year you're at home and then sometimes, you're never at home. So, you know, I feel, it's been pretty hectic on and off since, the last couple of rounds, you know, I haven't been home a few days, so we've had to start homeschooling, and that's something I've been doing since I was 11,I've been homeschooled since the and I’m currently doing my GCSES, I got a couple done in May and one done last year, a year early and now I'm gonna do two more again this year. I'll hopefully finish them by May. So no, just very patient with the schooling side of things. We've had to be, with the home school and tutoring and just letting everything sort of plan out itself, I guess you could say. Obviously whenever I'm at home, I try to do as much as possible on that side and try to manage school, while also trying to obviously train for the next race on a simulator or in a gym. So, it's a bit we've had to be patient with, letting all the windows of opportunity go for schooling and the gym.

Leia Pitrora: To summarise your early career decisions, what has your karting and racing pathway been like, from the very start?

William Macintyre: So I think, from what I know, I don't really wanna sound like, cocky or anything, you know, I just wanna say, from what I've heard like, I started karting when I was eight and then, I think, my first year, when I was nine, I competed in the British Championships, and obviously got top 10 in the British Championships.

I finished P8 and then my second year I finished P2 in the British Championships against drivers that I still race against to this day and went up the same ladder with from when I was, I think 10 and 11. So from 2019, I went to Italy to start racing cars. and in Europe with factory teams, started with Tony Kart and Kart Republic in 2019. Then in 2020, obviously, the lockdown took place here where nothing really happened for the majority.

That year nothing really happened. I did a couple of races in Italy here and there, but at the end of the year we tried to, sort of, move back to the UK, especially with COVID. Then 2021 was just another weird one because, I think, COVID was still sort of floating around and it was difficult to manage what to do because we still had a lockdown at the beginning of the year. We didn't quite know what to do, but the majority of it was just Karting in Italy. I think at the end of the year I decided, I didn't wanna do Karting anymore, I wanted to step away from it all and do Ginetta Junior.

Leia Pitrora: So, you've had a winning background in karting and racing. So, how would you say your first year has been with Hitech coming from that winning background into F4?

William Macintyre: Yeah, I think, it's definitely been a shock for me to actually be challenging for the title. Obviously, Hitech super, super, super good team and, you know, they won the championship last year really, really comfortably. So, you know, I think, obviously they were expecting us to be at the top. I mean, they bought four first year drivers into the team, so it was gonna be interesting for them. I think, since just after the summer break, I've been swapping around with Louis for the championship lead nearly every single round. So, to be at the front, I mean, if you told me at the start of the year, I'd be challenging for the title. I would have taken it.

Leia Pitrora: It is amazing, the jump you've done, going into Formula four is an amazing achievement. Can you give us a summary of a typical race in Formula four, from your perspective as a driver?

William Macintyre: So, I think if you're wanting a normal race in F4, I mean, from about 40 minutes to an hour before the race, obviously, you're making sure you're got all your nutrition in and you're fed well and say it's a race after lunch time, you've eaten an hour or so before the race, so it's all gone down about half an hour, 40 minutes before the race starts.

With the British F4 car, you've got to be down in your car ready to go out about 20 to 10 minutes before you're out on track. So, you sort of base your warm up procedure around that. So about 20 minutes before, you start stretching and making sure you're keeping yourself hydrated before a race, then, obviously, you go out onto the track, and you have your procession lap.

You're obviously chatting to your engineer while you're on the grid and after about five minutes, you finally go out on track. So, it does feel like a really, really long process, I'd say, from the 40 minutes to when you actually go out. It's a really long, weird period. Then as soon as the lights go out for the formation lap, everything just sort of happens. You know, if you're not in the lead, then it sort of takes a while to get into a grip because, obviously, you've got cars around you, but if you're in the lead you do everything sort of simultaneously and it just kind of happens.

Leia Pitrora: Well, it's interesting to hear from that perspective about a race, you don't see that side broadcasted as much. So, before a race, how would you motivate yourself, especially during those times when you're really not prepared or in the mindset for a race, or you're battling the nerves?

William Macintyre: I think I had this situation at Donington, well, where I hadn't had a great weekend at all and I was really just not in the mood ,so I just sort of had to deal. I just sort of said to myself, you know, look what are you here to do? You're here to enjoy yourself. So, I just try to enjoy myself as much as possible and say to myself, 'hey, look, just focus on what you can do' damage limitation or whatever. So, you've just got to remember what you're here to do, like you're here to race the Formula Four car.

Leia Pitrora: Yeah, so we've mentioned before a race, how you motivate yourself. We all have those times where we might not do as well as we might have predicted and feel disappointed afterwards. So, has that been the case for you during your race? And how would you bounce back from that emotionally afterwards?

William Macintyre: Well, if so, I just sort of analyse what I'd done wrong, what could have been done better and, you know, if it's out of my control, I sort of just smile, move on from it and, you know, go into the next one and just forget about what happened, but say it was a mistake on my part, obviously look into it as much as possible but don't overthink any of it and just, you know, make sure it doesn't happen again. So just maximise learning from whatever's happened and move on to the next one with a good mindset and a confident attitude.

Leia Pitrora: What are your future aims now, and hopeful plans for the next few years following your journey with Formula four and Hitech?

William Macintyre: I think, well, after this year being very, very successful and obviously coming either first or second in the championship, there's not really much point in doing F4 again because I’ve obviously done pretty well already this season, so I think next season we'll be looking to sort of hopefully step up the racing ladder and, you know, just keep up the process, making sure I keep improving as a driver every single year. So, obviously, the main goal is to get to Formula One, but for me now, I've just got to focus on what's happening at the minute and next year, focusing on whatever, hopefully British F3 car.

Leia Pitrora: So, going back to your past win's, describe that emotion to me of how you felt being on that podium when you won the Ginetta Junior Rookie Championship in 2022?

William Macintyre: Yeah, So, with Ginetta, I think it was one of them where we were planning to do two years, like this year we were planning to do two years of F4, but obviously it turns out we've done pretty good in the first year. So, I think to win the rookie championship, that's all I aimed to do last year in June, to win out the rookies, but I think during the second round of the championship where we were like, 'ok, maybe we can actually win the whole thing' it was sort of looking at winning the whole thing. I obviously was really, really happy to win the rookie championship and, you know, I had the great honour of doing such a thing, but I'm always trying to improve on what's happened.

Leia Pitrora: What would you say is your biggest worry, maybe jumping from Formula Four to Formula Three or are you relatively worry free on that sort of aspect?

William Macintyre: I think, just more or less, if I can adapt enough for the car, I think for F4, I was pretty worried about just adapting because obviously it's a single seater and, you know, it's a long process of when you first jump into the car and then finally getting up to pace, it can take a while to actually be able to do that so, you know, I think for me it was just worrying about adapting and hoping I can actually be at the front and continue to be, winning races.

Leia Pitrora: Now for our final question, what advice would you want to give to younger drivers or anyone who's uncertain about working in motorsport as a driver in the future?

William Macintyre: Just don't give up, pretty much. Keep pushing for your goals and, you know, keep working hard. It sometimes can seem like it's a really, really tough situation but, you know, you can keep grinding and you will get out of it and one day, if you work hard enough, you'll rise to the top.


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