Okay, okay, that headline is slightly facetious, but it’s not a million miles away from the outrageous claims a number of F1 news sources have been guilty of making this week.
Apparently, a number of guys at Williams’ HQ have been impressed with the work Dan Ticktum has been doing in the simulator and have said he’s one of the best they’ve worked with.
Now, we don’t know who these guys are, or how long they’ve been with Williams. We don’t know who or how many drivers they’ve worked with.
It’s certainly fair to say that, given Williams current simulator post-dates the team’s last win in 2012 that these chaps didn’t work with an Ayrton Senna, a Nigel Mansell or an Alain Prost.
Thinking Dan is ‘one of the best’ of a handful of simulator drivers, most of whom lack his experience in a racing car, although positive, needn’t necessarily be *that* earth shattering an opinion.
But when you pass it through a clickbait filter, and add a touch of sensationalism for good measure you get “Ticktum ‘one of best drivers Williams has ever seen’”
What Claire Williams actually said to motorsportweek.com was:
“I think he [Ticktum] has got great talent. I think it needs harnessing. We have experience doing that.”
“And I know when we put him in our simulator, the guys said he was one of the best drivers they’ve ever seen.”
But Ticktum‘s talent has never really been in doubt – it’s his behaviour in and out of the car that’s stood in the way of the British youngster and a glittering career in motorsport. And it’s something Claire acknowledges:
“He knows what’s expected of him and, you know, how he needs to behave. He’s one person in a team of 750 and we’ve always had the attitude at Williams that no one is more important than anyone else, everyone has to roll their sleeves up and do the job in the way that is expected of them.”
So it’s great that the guys in Williams’ simulator think he’s the business. Let’s see Dan prove he’s the business in Formula 2 this year before we go mad with the superlatives, eh?