Webster ready to join F1’s travelling circus

RAINMEISTER: Josh Webster battles through the spray when testing in Estoril, Portugal
RAINMEISTER: Josh Webster battles through the spray when testing in Estoril, Portugal
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As a young racer, Lewis Hamilton had the confidence to tell McLaren chief Ron Dennis he would drive for his championship-winning team one day.

Many would argue it is this self-belief that has taken him through five successful years of Formula One (F1), resulting in 21 victories and the 2008 World Drivers’ Championship.

With the same unwavering confidence, rising star Josh Webster has ambitions of surpassing even what Hamilton has achieved as he prepares to join F1’s travelling circus by racing in the GP3 Series, which supports Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and co on seven separate weekends.

“I would love to be F1 world champion and even have a crack at Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships,” said 19-year-old Webster, of Mickfield, near Stowmarket. “If it’s already been done by someone, there is no reason why I couldn’t go for it.”

Although the GP3 Series does not kick off until May 11, when it links up with F1 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, Webster is furiously testing his new 400bhp car, ironing out several technical issues that have cropped up in the sessions in Estoril and Barcelona.

“Testing has been challenging and unfortunately we’ve had quite a few problems with the car that we’ve only just started to get rectified,” said the former Thomas Mills High School pupil. “Out of all the drivers in the championship, I’ve had the least laps, which isn’t ideal because I haven’t had much experience of them yet.

“I’m still confident we can do a good job in the first round though because I’ve been setting pretty good times in some of the sessions.

“We are not going to be winning straight away because it’s such a tough championship, but you never really know until the green light goes out in the first race where you are going to be.

“I’m going to be focused on a learning year and then hopefully go for the title in 2014.”

Like most racing drivers, Webster began his career in karting, taking the 2009 Formula Rotax Junior Max European series before graduating to Formula Renault BARC cars in 2010 and going on to finish runner-up twice.

While the likes of Williams’ Pastor Maldonaldo reportedly take £29 million to help them into F1, Webster — who is primarily backed by Nine Group — has been forced to do things the hard way and scrap around for funding.

“If I do well this year, it should help me get more and more money to get me through,” said Webster, who is also looking forward to joining up with the F1 circuit. “From a young age you want to be around F1.

“I remember going to meetings and watching all the classes and just thinking ‘wow’.

“To be driving in front of those crowds is going to be different, with more than 10,000, compared to the 100 I would in some rounds of the Formula Renault BARC Championship.”