EXCLUSIVE: Views from the Driver – Luiz Razia, F1’s nearly man

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PRE SEASON BUILD UP – DAY 9

Editor Katie Grimmett and Motorsports Presenter, Gemma Scott, have Luiz Razia’s thoughts following his first public appearance since his contract termination.

Luiz Razia entered the racing pinnacle, with Marussia F1; following Timo Glock’s sudden and rather unpopular exit earlier this year.

Gemma Scott spoke to Razia at the Bedford Autodrome, where he was taking part in a track day to raise money for the NSPCC. This is her report for ‘stoodonthepodium’.

It’s not often that we see a Formula One driver signed, testing and then dropped just two weeks prior to the start of the season but in the case of Luiz Razia it’s been a rollercoaster ride he can no longer hold onto.  The 23-year-old from South America has suffered at the mercy of the financial strains of Formula One and, having failed to secure the required budget, Razia was last week forced to forfeit his seat to French rival, Jules Bianchi.

And although the story of financial strain is oh so common in motorsport, especially for the younger drivers hungry for success, for Luiz the acceptance and almost immediate rejection from his dream must have been particularly difficult to come to terms with.

“It’s part of life, in 2012 I had an amazing season in GP2 and we signed with Marussia which was a big deal (for me) achieving a dream and after that we had some problems with sponsorship and then I was dropped. Its hard, but life goes on and we need to push to the place where I want to be which is still Formula 1, I was there 3 weeks ago and could be there next year or even this year. Right now it’s step by step and I’m laying the bricks, maybe we’ll soon have a wall”.

And after lying low for the past week its nice to see Luiz back with a smile on his face enjoying a day out with fellow sports stars Rob Huff, Paul O’Neill, Tiff Needell, Tommy Erdos and Joe Calzaghe who were showing off on track whilst playing host to various guests on the day help to raise an incredible £100,000 for the NSPCC. Luiz added:

“It’s a very good cause for the children, they need help. It’s a great atmosphere and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m around cars – it’s like my office”.

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Ultimately, we must applaud Luiz Razia. He has admitted his shock and surprise but moved on. This psychological strength should help him return, with or without funding. His only hope may be that one of this year’s five rookies does not perform to a sufficient standard. Then he may be offered a reprieve.

In my last pre season build up post, I defended pay drivers arguing that their presence is not a recent phenomenon. Juan Manuel Fangio himself won five world championships with the help of his native government.

It is ironic to see to a driver, himself dubbed a pay driver, vacate his seat due to financial woes. Such is the racing circus I suppose. Could he return? Quite possibly. With connections to both Caterham and Marussia (however loose these ties may now be) and with a GP2 victory under his belt, whether he is Formula 1 bound or not, it is likely that a prominent position in motor racing is possible.

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Whilst the focus will be on Jules Bianchi, and his ability to cope with the pressure of a last minute signing to an unfamiliar car, 2013 may offer Razia the opportunity to re-emerge stronger and faster than ever.

Luiz assured both Gemma and I that there would be news soon but whatever news that may be whether F1, sports cars or endurance racing we’ll simply have to watch this space. What we do hope is that the F1 merry-go-round is one that we see Luiz riding again in the not too distant future.

The fundraising day was not all about Luiz. The event benefited the charity, NSPCC. This event was further documented in a clip: http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2013-03-07/celebrities-race-for-childrens-charity/

Special thanks to Gemma Scott for providing this report. This was an exclusive from the NSPCC event.

This blog post is the ninth in this year’s pre season build up. For the next five days, ‘stoodonthepodium’ will be bringing you exclusive interviews, stories, analysis and more from the world of Motorsport.

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