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Life on-track with F4 Driver Jack Sherwood

Conducted and Written by Leia Pitrora

Image Credits - Jack Sherwood

Jack Sherwood shares his experience of climbing the ranks of the sport and how his passion for the sport stemmed. Answering well thought of questions that we all are guaranteed to think during our time of being motorsport admirers, including discussing his inspirations within the sport, his views on the motorsport lifestyle and his favourite aspects of the sport with first-hand experience as a driver, to list a few.

Have you ever wondered how drivers spend their time before a race, or if driving is their only favourite aspect of the racing industry? Jack Sherwood discusses the above and more on his personal experience as a modern day F4 driver, advancing through the sport.

Leia Pitrora: Hi Jack, Thank you again for agreeing to do this interview with me ,so to start with, becoming a motorsport driver is a very specific field to pursue a career in, so how did your interest for the industry begin, and how did you finalise your decision to become a driver?

Jack Sherwood: Well, my dad, he started when he was 17, so he started in, Formula Ford, and then kind of in his late twenties, he ended up in F3 at quite a high level, so yeah, that was kind of his beginning and then when I was born,

I just kind of grew up around a racing track my whole life and I was always around cars when I was younger, so I was just introduced from it from a very young age, but I was never really pressured into doing it.

My dad was actually quite against me doing it, initially, because, you know, I think he knew what it took to get there.

And obviously, it's not always the nicest for a parent watching but yeah. When I was five, I had my first time going to go-cart and I loved it and then, from then on, I've kind of been pursuing that.

Leia Pitrora: Can I just say, when you were five, you were driving karts, and I was doing something definitely not as skilled as that...

So, you've had an obvious passion for motorsport from an early age, how did you first get involved with physically racing in motorsport?

Jack Sherwood: So, first time I ever went, I don't know if everyone knows, but there's a place called Daytona karting, in Milton Keynes, which was the first place I drove up and I kind of started there just because, you know, actual karting at a high level in the UK is quite expensive, but well, so my dad wanted to make sure that I firstly enjoyed it.

Secondly, you know, he was good enough or had the ability to, as that would mean that he had to spend the extra money so, yeah, I started off karting and I think that it was probably a good thing for me, you know, to do as it got me introduced into the sport, and I learned the basics, for a relatively cheap course. So, that's how I started.

Leia Pitrora: The stress and chaotic schedule of being a driver is well known to fans, but how do you create that work and personal life balance in daily life?

Jack Sherwood: I think, you know, if you enjoy the sport as much as I do and a lot of you know the top drivers do, then the work and all the travelling and all of this busy life doesn't feel so much like work.

It's just kind of, a stepping stone really, towards your goal and, you know, My goal is to become a professional racing driver at the top level. So, yeah, you know, racing is my life effectively, so all the time I'm awake, I'm always thinking of racing, and, you know, doing something to kind of develop myself as a driver. I think saying that is very important.

A lot of people at our age are just so focused on race, you know, you forget life outside of it, and I think, that's what I've I've noticed in recent years that, you know, you kind of need to put a lot of effort into racing.

It's nice to maybe take a week out, you know, away or a summer break, like the summer for me was a really nice break. I just switched off completely from racing, and I came back with a fresh mind, and it worked for me. So, you know, maybe for some people, it doesn't work.

A lot of people like to be on the sim every day and all of this, and I do spend a lot of time on the sim but, you know, I know for me, a break from it all works occasionally, but a racing career is filled with a variety of different experiences.

Image Credits - Jack Sherwood

Leia Pitrora: Leading on from that, what would you say has been a positive highlight of your racing career?

Jack Sherwood: I mean, I would say, you know, whenever I win, that's a big highlight for me. You know, I think as a kid, growing up I always saw single seaters firstly as my goal.

So the first time I drove in a Formula Four car was a very special moment because that's kind of what I've been working up to that point. It was one of my goals on the way to my ultimate goal of becoming a professional. So, you know, that was a cool thing.

I think what I really enjoyed was the first time I drove on the Silverstone Grand Prix track. You know, to drive on a track as prestigious as that. It was very special for me, so yeah, that was pretty cool but yeah, as you said, we get so many really cool experiences, as drivers. And we're very lucky for that.

Leia Pitrora: So, starting from a young age, how do you develop a race routine that works specifically for you? So, involving certain training and pre race routines, et cetera.

Jack Sherwood: Yeah. so kind of in karting for me and I think it was for most people, maybe not so much at the really high levels like in F1 and stuff, but definitely when I was kind of, 12, 13.

I didn't really have a pre race thing. I would come in, you know, maybe tell the mechanic what I needed from the car, or you know how it felt, talk a bit with a driver coach and then, you know, usually you have quite a bit of time in between heats, so I would just go off and play with my friends to be honest, and then, you know, then it was time to go strap, get in the car.

I think that's why you know, you listen to all the F1 drivers and they say Karting was some of the best years of their life, and I can agree with that just because, you know, there's not so much pressure, it's just a lot of fun and you're doing it for fun.

Mainly, maybe in the last few years of Karting I, well, personally, I began to take it a bit more seriously and, you know, I realised you have to work a bit harder. Then moving into cars really, It was just a bit of trial and error with my pre race routine, you know, some people listen to music, not so much me.

I just do my warm up, and then, I prefer just to be chilled out and I think that's just what works for me. so, yeah, it's just a lot of trial and error.

You've got to figure out what works for you and what doesn't, and you know, you wanna make some mistakes at some point with it I think trial and error and especially in the early years, just have fun.

Leia Pitrora: So we've touched on this a bit already, but who throughout your life inspires or has inspired you to pursue your career?

Jack Sherwood: I think my dad obviously, he was a big one. Kind of growing up, and, you know, sitting in his cars when I was young and I used to play, the 2009 F1 game on the Wii, and he would like, coach me a bit and, you know, tell me what to do so he was definitely a big, integral part of it and he's always there for me.

Even now, you know, he's not involved directly with my racing but he kind of manages me, but actually, when I'm at the track, he doesn't get too involved but I know in the evenings or at lunch you know, even if he's not at the track, I can always go and talk to him and, you know, bounce ideas off him.

He's been through all the experience that I have, even at a higher level so he knows what it takes. He's really good at giving me advice and, you know, he understands.

Sometimes I can be a bit hot headed and stuff, so, you know, he understands how I act and what I need so, he's very good. Then probably I'd say, like Lewis was a big one for me. I think you know, my dad well, he raced with him when he was younger, and then, you know, when he came into form, my dad was supporting him.

So, I think, Yeah, he's probably been there since I was a kid. I used to, like, get all the McLaren merch and stuff, and he's been my biggest kind of idol and I think the fact that he came from pretty much, you know, nothing in racing terms to being a seven time world champion, is, you know, really inspiring for me and what he's doing now outside of the sport with diversity and stuff is is really cool. So, I think him and my dad probably.

Leia Pitrora: What is or has been your personal favourite part of being a Formula four driver?

Jack Sherwood: Driving the car, that's probably my favourite. yeah, I would say it's a really cool experience. You know, to be able to jump in a car like that, it's just surreal for me.

You know, three years ago, I wouldn't actually wouldn't think that I'd be doing F4. So, I always try to enjoy my driving and I think at the weekends, it's really cool to meet the fans and everyone who supports you.

The autograph sessions are really cool, and you meet a lot of really, special people, so I think that's really cool. Yeah, I mean, driving the car is really, really fun. I tried out a GB3 car a couple of days ago, so that was another level up, and I really enjoyed that.

So, I like this part of it. I really enjoy the physical part of it. Obviously, as drivers, we have to be quite fit, so I spend a lot of time in the gym, and I actually quite enjoy that. sometimes, So, yeah, there's many cool aspects to it, but that's a few.

Leia Pitrora: So, being a formula four driver or a driver in general, what sort of negative scenarios do you face and how do you deal with them?

Jack Sherwood: Yeah. I mean, racing is, I think, the thing about racing, you can feel so many different emotions on a weekend from session to session from day to day.

So, yeah, it's kind of like an emotional rollercoaster the whole time, and I think racing is a very mental game when you get to such high levels, you know, like F4.

This year has been so close. Whoever's kind of in the right mindset and feeling good that weekend is usually P1 So, definitely overcoming obstacles is something I've really had to work on this year because, you know, previously, I was kind of, not very good at that.

You know, I would let a bad race affect me for a long time and then this year, yeah, we've had quite a bit of bad luck. We've lost quite a few podiums and good results from, you know, failures and stuff and whilst a lot of people would see that as just, you know, a bad thing and wouldn't take anything from it.

I think I've really learned how to manage myself. after experiences like that. I mean, at Silverstone, we were leading and didn't have long to go, and we had a failure which caused a retirement unfortunately. So, yeah, that taught me a lot about how to carry yourself after an event like that, you know, how to speak to the media after and it's definitely tough.

No matter who you are, it does affect you. After Silverstone, that was probably, like, the lowest point of my year so far and I really did struggle a lot after that, especially that, you know, that evening was quite a low point, but yeah, you've just got to pick yourself up, see what happened, understand what happened and learn from it is all you can do.

I remember last year I had a really bad race and just for like, the next, the next week I was just like Moping about the house, like getting out of bed really late and just generally being lazy and sad and that was good for no one.

So I think, yeah, they really taught me that you can't dwell on the past. You've got to, you know, understand what happened and then just move forward and get on with it because, you know, doing that doesn't help anybody.

Leia Pitrora: That is really inspirational by the way, it's never easy dealing with the post-race emotions from what I've heard.

Finally, as a driver, you're continuously trying to better yourself, so if you could give one piece or several pieces of advice to the younger version of yourself, what would they be?

Jack Sherwood: Have fun mainly, I think sometimes, you know, as a kid, you kind of get lost in it a bit as this is all you want as your life. So make sure you have fun, you know, bringing friends and family to races isn't always, you know, isn't a bad thing.

They can be there to support you and take your mind off things a lot of the time. Work hard, work really hard. That's a big one for me, in and out of the car every day.

Try and do something to better yourself. Always try and put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, because this is how you develop. I think be careful who you trust with stuff, you know who you have close to you and who your friends are in the sport, so know that you can talk to them.

Finally, just keep going. Even when you know you doubt yourself and you feel like it's getting tough and you feel like you wanna quit. If you just keep on one more day, one more day at a time, then, eventually good things will happen on their own.


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