2020 Formula 2 debutant Dan Ticktum has joined the Williams Formula 1 Team as development driver for the forthcoming season.
The two-time Macau Grand Prix winner was dropped from Red Bull’s driver programme earlier in 2019 following a string of sub-par results in Japan’s Super Formula where he was competing with Team Mugen.
Ticktum’s duties will include working on Williams’ simulator back at Grove with a focus on ongoing car development.
His Formula 2 responsibilities with DAMS will mean he’s in attendance at a number of Grand Prix in Europe throughout the season, where he will perform a number of media duties for Williams.
He will feature Williams logos on his F2 car and apparel.
“It is a privilege to be joining the Williams Racing Driver Academy, especially given Williams’ incredible heritage in our sport” said Ticktum following the announcement.
“The time in the simulator and experience working with the team will prove invaluable for my development. Being fully integrated into the operations will be a fantastic opportunity and I look forward to assisting wherever I can.”
Claire Williams, Williams Deputy Team Principal added “I am delighted that Dan, another exciting young British talent, has joined the Williams Racing Driver Academy.”
“Dan’s technical expertise will prove invaluable to the team and we are looking forward to helping him grow and develop in 2020.”
“His ability behind the wheel has been demonstrated with back-to-back successes at the prestigious Macau Grand Prix in 2017 and 2018.”
20 year old Ticktum brings with him a sizeable amount of baggage for a driver of his age.
In 2015 whilst competing in Formula MSA with Fortec, he purposely overtook ten cars under the safety car to deliberately crash into a rival with whom he felt aggrieved, for which he received a two year ban from all motorsport.
Many people believed it should be significantly longer.
Following his ban he returned to competition to win the McLaren Autosport BRDC award, earning £100k and an F1 test and was added by Red Bull to their stable of young drivers – one of motor-racing’s biggest leg-ups.
After victory at Macau, beating the likes of current F1 star Lando Norris, it looked like young Dan was again on course for F1.
But another PR disaster was to follow when he accused European F3 rival Mick Schumacher’s PREMA team of cheating and the sport of being ‘corrupt’ having conceded a substantial lead to his German rival and eventual champion in the second half of the season, prompting Red Bull’s Christian Horner to accuse Ticktum of ‘sometimes engaging mouth before brain’.
With another, this time convincing, win around the streets of Macau, Ticktum repaired some of the damage he’d done with his previous outbursts, and edged yet closer to Formula 1, but without the super license points he needed to even be considered for the Toro Rosso role he felt he deserved.
Lacking the financial support for a full F2 campaign in 2019, he headed to Asian Formula 3, and assuming the title was a forgone conclusion, Ticktum claimed he was there for superlicense points and superlicence points only.
But a frustrating season again brought out the worst of Ticktum’s petulance and when languishing in 15th in that season’s Super Formula series, with a championship winning squad and full Red Bull backing, Helmut Marko et al had seen enough and they pulled the plug on their support.
Ticktum was left without a drive and more crucially, without a backer.
He can consider himself lucky to have been given yet another chance.