Webster’s left in lurch by championship axing

OFF THE GRID: Josh Webster is searching for a new race seat after the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship was axed just 10 days before the start of the new season
OFF THE GRID: Josh Webster is searching for a new race seat after the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship was axed just 10 days before the start of the new season
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JOSH Webster has been left with just a matter of days to find a race seat for the 2012 motorsport season after the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship was axed.

Just six drivers – including the Stowmarket teenager – signed up for the once-popular series, which has launched the careers of Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

That left organisers with no option but to pull the plug on this season’s event, just 10 days before Webster was due to line up on the grid alongside rivals such as Josh Hill – son of 1996 F1 champion Damon Hill.

“I was a bit worried because in 2008 and 2009 they had 24 people on the grid and then we found ourselves testing with just six people,” said Webster.

“But it’s always a shock when it does happen and you are left in the lurch a bit.”

The series would have been televised on ITV4 on the undercard of the British Touring Car Championships (BTCC) and be raced in front of tens of thousands of people.

Despite the setback, the Motor Sports Association (MSA) young driver of the year is determined to remain in a positive mindset and continue his racing journey in a bid to reach Formula One.

“We were looking good and on the pace, but if we had been on TV with six cars on the grid it would have looked a bit Mickey Mouse,” added Webster. “In a way I’m relieved it’s definitely not going ahead because now we can focus on something better with a bigger grid.”

But with just a few days left to find a drive for 2012 – most championships begin next month – 18-year-old Webster knows time is against him and there are just two options remaining.

One would be to step back down to the Formula Renault BARC Championship, in which he finished second to Dino Zamparelli last season, but Webster is keen to progress.

“I feel I’ve outgrown it a bit and want to move on,” said Webster, whose other choice appears to be British Formula Three B class, but only if he could raise the extra sponsorship needed to compete.

Northern Europe also hosts a Formula Renault 2.0 championship, but this has been ruled out with Webster’s loyal sponsors being based in Britain.