Dubai teen Ed Jones hoping to realise Formula One dream

UAE-based Ed Jones dreams of one day competing in Formula One. The 19-year-old Briton has been racing for 14 years and has a host of trophies that showcase his raw talent.

Jones is already a six-time UAE karting champion and has been on the podium in the Formula Renault Eurocup and the British Formula 3 championship. This is all in addition to being the 2013 Formula 3 European Open Champion.

Talking to Sport360°, the young driver explains why his sights are now firmly set on a Formula One seat.

At what age did you start karting and what inspired you to take up the sport? 
I started driving a kart when I was four, which was a present from my father who was the Middle East kart champion in 1981.

Who has been your role model, if any? 
There have been many role models, from a variety of sports but I try and take the best aspects from the people I meet.

Do you indulge in motorsport for leisure or to be competitive?
Originally the racing was just a hobby, but after competing in races on an international level it became clear I had the speed very few people have. I am now a full-time driver with a good chance of making it to the pinnacle of single seater racing.

Are you confident that you can make a career out of motorsport?
Yes, my intention is to continue as a professional driver and work on a strong career, but it does not get any easier as you progress. The level of competition is fierce and you are judged only by wins. I am speaking to various managers/promoters – a requisite to stand any chance of an F1 seat.

Motorsport is expensive to indulge in. How do you go about financing yourself or do you have a sponsor? 
I have been very fortunate that my parents have been able to support me until now. We are now trying to secure sponsorship for moving into GP2 next year, but it is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, we are confident we will find sponsorship soon as there is no one else in the region competing at the same level or with the possibility of making it to Formula One in the next three years.

In your opinion, are there enough facilities available here in the UAE to advance your current skills? 
The facilities in the UAE are fantastic, top-class kart tracks in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain and Yas F1 circuit and Dubai Autodrome. The numbers and quality of drivers is improving, but I think people should realise there are no short cuts to motor racing success; it takes years of racing and extreme commitment. I am happy to be an example that learning to race in the UAE can launch you into the top level of motorsport with hard work.

What do you feel needs to be done to encourage and popularise motorsport in the UAE, both with the Emiratis and the expat population?
I think that as the Emirati population develops we will see a new generation of fathers who will encourage their children to participate in motorsport which is very rewarding and educational; it brings new skills and helps individuals to deal with pressure, teaches them discipline. It has its lows but rewards those who persevere with huge highs.

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