One on one with Michal Grzyb

Columns: Interview

Our friend Adam Malecki, journalist in “Trojka” Polish National Radio, shared this exclusive interview with Polish karting rising star Michal Grzyb, winner of the Rok Talent Award and fresh from starting his spree in the major international championships in 2013.
Photos L.Iwaniak

Adam Malecki: Does it feel like your dream is coming true?
Michal Grzyb: Yes. It’s another season that I’ve been driving a kart. But my goal is to drive an F1. I realise that it’s a far-fetched dream, that the road is narrow and I’m going to need a financial support. Motor sports are not cheap, as you know. But I hope to make it with the help of the Wierczuk Race Promotion Foundation.

I see you’re making progress. You were given the prestigious Rok Talent Award. What are your plans for the coming season?
The priority is to do my best in the Europe and World Championships. I hope to reach high scores in the races. What’s more, with the WT- Racing team we’re taking part in the Italian WSK Masters in which we’ll compete with the best drivers in the world. I hope it will go according to my expectations and I’ll be able to fight for the best results.

When you look at your agenda for this year I bet it is full.
It is. I’ll be travelling a lot this year, as we’re participating in all the races of the WSK series, the Europe and world championships, a few prestigious cup races in Italy. Apart from that, I wish to take part in the Poland Championships. I hope to find the time to study for my exams. I’m taking my final secondary school exams in the spring.

How do you manage to cope with all that? Online?
Well, to be honest, it’s hard to find a moment to study when I’m away on tournament. We get up at 6.00 and go straight to the circuit. We come back really tired in the evening. When I’m back at school, teachers go easy on me for a few days, but it’s not enough. They don’t quite get what it means to race, they imagine it in a completely different way. Still, I hope I’ll cope with all that.

Maybe you should take one of your teachers to the circuit or let her in the kart?
It could be a good idea to show all my teachers what it looks like at the circuit, but I don’t think they’d agree to it.

What gives you most fun and thrill about races?
First of all it’s the adrenaline, the competition with another driver, especially when we go wheel by wheel really close. The speed at the training or race too.

Tell me, what could be the best path for you to reach the F1? What  would you like to be your next step?
It’s hard for me to compare each series, as their ranks are changing all the time.

You mentioned World Series by Renault.
Yes. In 2000 Euro Series Formula is also at a very high level. The next could be F3 World Series by Renault, then GP2, which is the stepping stone to the F1. A couple of years ago the stepping stone to F1 was Formula 3000, now it’s GP2. It’s changing all the time, so I think my next step after karts would be Renault Euro Series Formula.

When you look at F1, who are your role-models? You mentioned more times in the interviews  Fernando Alonso, what about Robert Kubica?
By the time I started he was driving a kart. I would sometimes meet him at the indoor circuit. He drove in a helmet with some weight attached to it, because at that time he was about to switch the series. I guess it was helpful for him. He would sometimes give me advice, we would race for him, watch him compete. As for Fernando Alonso, I enjoy his style of driving. Even though his car wasn’t so good last season, he can make a very fast circle. If it hadn’t been for the bed luck this season’s Grand Prix, he could have won the world championship.

What’s your every day routine? Even though you’re having a break until the beginning of February, I guess you’re trying to stay in shape.
Yes, I am. Every day I exercise to improve my fitness.

For example?
If only I have the time I go to the gym 3 times a week. I drive at the amateur go-kart indoor circuit trying to go as long as possible, at a good average.  After 200 laps at the average speed  I’m starting to feel the kart. It’s a good exercise, because in wintertime it’s not possible to drive at an outdoor circuit, in weather like this an amateur go-kart indoor circuit is good enough.

Can you say that Polish Karting is doing better? You and Karol Basz are great examples, and there are others.
Karol’s been one of the best factory-backed drivers. He’s recently changed the team and I’ll be taking his place in the Birel motor sport. I’m sure that thanks to what the Wierczuk Race Promotion Foundation is doing, Polish karting will be seen from another perspective in the world. I haven’t heard about any other foundation to support a racer from the karting stage up to F1. We’ll see what it brings. I hope that karting will become more popular. It’s already changing, there are a few new circuits and people get more interested in karting, even though they not always know what pro-karting is.

What can we wish you for the coming season?
Best of luck.

Created by: - 05/02/13

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