HE finished second at the Formula 3 Remus Championship in Europe, but sadly, Malaysian F3 driver Akash Nandy’s road to achieving his Formula 1 dream might come to an end if he can’t get the support he needs.
It would be really unfortunate as Akash, 18, has accomplished a lot throughout his seven-year racing career, which is fully funded by his parents.
But the struggle is real. Even after a successful season this year winning 10 out of 12 races, he is currently facing one of the biggest challenges of his career – finding financial support.
Akash, who started go-karting at the age of 12, began racing at a single-seater JK Racing Series when he was 14. He advanced to International Formula Master at 16 and Formula Renault a year later.
Today, he is competing in the F3 series, a racing scene seen as a stepping stone to F1, and that costs up to RM3mil a year. Of course, that amount will increase when he goes into F1.
“With personal finances, you can only go so far because there will be a point where you realise you don’t have enough to keep going,” said Akash.
“My parents ensure there’s sufficient funds for me to go on next year, but not after that. So we have to be careful and analyse the best way to spend our money.”
His financial situation is unusual as most F3 drivers would have sponsors.
“Most F3 drivers are either supported by a driver academy such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus. For European drivers, they would have the backing from their countries in some way,” said Akash.
“Racing in Europe without the help of my own country does put me down but at the same time, I use it as motivation to be better.”
Akash hopes to increase awareness about the Malaysian racing scene by making it to F1. That way, more people will know about Malaysian racers, hence increasing the chances of getting sponsors.
“We need Malaysians to see that there are talented athletes out there, not just in racing but in other sports as well, and who have the potential to excel,” said Akash.
“And instead of athletes trying their best to look for support in order to represent the country, talent scouts should play their part too.”
Next year, he hopes to take on Japan Formula 3 as he is trying to secure some points for a super license to get into F1.
This weekend, Akash will be going back to his roots as he is competing at the Asian Karting Overall Championship. He is excited to see how he will fare at the competition.
“Racing will always be a passion of mine so no matter how hard it gets, I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to keep fighting for it,” he said.
“And even if I were to stop racing full time, I’m sure I’m going to do some sort of racing even if it’s just once or twice a year.”