So it would seem that Dan Ticktum has been given another – arguably his best – opportunity in motorsport, this time with the Williams Formula 1 Team.
This is despite a five-year-long mission of self-sabotage that has seen him banned from motor racing, being dumped from the Red Bull junior driver programme: arguably the fastest of fast tracks to F1 at a time where they are desperately short of junior drivers, and comfortably short of the superlicense points he needs to be considered for Formula 1 (and that a five year racing career ought to have yielded for someone of his obvious abilities).
In a career of peaky peaks and massively troughy troughs, Dan Ticktum has not only demonstrated that he is super talented with back-to-back Macau GP wins, he’s also shown himself to be a complete liability so many times that you’d expect no reputation-conscious, image-aware, PR-focused Formula 1 team to want to have any more contact with him than to gently nudge him away with a barge pole from a comfortable distance.
So I’m absolutely incredulous to think that Dan Ticktum is now part of the Williams family, and that the team could strip away all of the controversy to appoint him solely on the talent.
Williams appointing Ticktum as one of their stable of drivers makes the gamble they took with Robert Kubica – with a season of pitiful results on-track and vicious acrimony off it – look like a tenner on Lewis Hamilton finishing second in SPOTY in comparison in terms of the reputational damage it could do to the team if it goes wrong.
I can only hope that Williams keep Ticktum on a tight leash and are prepared to take a zero tolerance approach to any future misdemeanours on or off track.
You never know, this could be the making of a Formula 1 star of the future. His many transgressions might be behind him, knowing he’s unlikely to get another shot if he screws up this time.
He may have learnt some humility, and it’s possible he’s come to the realisation that all the talent in the world counts for nought if your attitude is terrible.
He might turn out to be a real asset to the Williams team in their quest to gain real ground on the rest of Formula 1, and they might have seen something that’s worth the risk.
I seriously hope so, because from where I’m standing it looks like complete and utter madness.