What to make of Dan Ticktum? A rapid and clearly talented driver, his habit of letting his hot head overrule his rational mind, has already cost him his place in the Red Bull Driver Academy. Could it spell the end of his F1 ambitions altogether?
Dan Ticktum: The early years
After an illustrious and championship studded karting career, Ticktum started single-seater racing in 2015. His first category was MSA Motorsport, and he was leading the championship. That was until he purposefully collided with a fellow driver under safety car conditions to earn himself a two-year ban from competition.
As the second year was suspended, he would be out of racing until late 2016. After the suspension, in September 2016, Ticktum competed in the final round of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship and made his first visit to the legendary Macau Grand Prix.
Red Bull Driver Academy
Red Bull announced that they had signed Ticktum for the 2017 season. He would be competing in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. With only the one win at the Hungaroring, it was a disappointing 7th overall for Dan at the end of that year.
It was a busy end of the year for Ticktum competing in two rounds of the 2017 GP3 series and returning to Macau for a second, and race-winning appearance.
Dan Ticktum joins FIA European F3
Ticktum returned to European F3 in 2018 with Team Motopark where he would be fighting Mick Schumacher for the title. Ticktum led the way for much of the year holding a 26 point lead at one point. Schumacher, who was in his second season, was able to turn that deficit into a 49 point lead with one meeting to go.
Controversy again reared it’s ugly head as Ticktum insinuated that the German and his Prema team were cheating. Ticktum had to clarify his comments claiming the performance was merely “interesting”. Dan lost the title after the final round at Hockenheim finishing runner up.
A second victory at Macau, an F2 round and two appearances in Super Formula completed 2018 for Ticktum.
Super Formula and Formula 2
Super Formula was supposed to be Ticktum’s final step to a Superlicense. It also opened the door to a possible 2020 Toro Rosso race seat. Team Mugen ran the Red Bull junior, but after three poor meetings, he was released from the Driver Academy and lost his seat.
DAMS signed Ticktum to partner Sean Gelael for 2020. Williams also announced that they had signed Ticktum as a development driver in January. A breakthrough win on home soil in the Sprint Race has been his only win this year. Ticktum was disqualified from a dominant Monza Sprint win after he ran out of fuel returning to Parc Ferme.
Dan Ticktum GP Grandstand Prediction:
It is so difficult to get a read on Ticktum. The talent on display in karting, Macau and F3 is self-evident. And you don’t get signed by two different F1 Driver Academies without having something. Compromising photos of Helmut Marko and Claire Williams perhaps?
But his lacklustre performances in Super Formula and his erratic season in F2 are not the performances of the next F1 superstar. A second season in F2 could be the definitive answer. Whether he makes it or not, few will forget Dan Ticktum in a hurry.