Men are not longer the only people who are fast. There are some ladies, that know who to compete between all those fast guys. Rahel Frey from Switzerland is one of the fastes ladies and she knows who to handle a car. In 2008 she is an official factory driver of Volkswagen in Formula 3. RacingInside.com spoke to Rahel Frey in an exclusive interview.
Rahel, you are a talented female driver and a lot of our visitors will know who you are. But could you please give a short introduction about yourself to the visitors that do not know you?
My name is Rahel Frey. I am 22 years old and I live in Aedermannsdorf, Switzerland. I began racing competitively in karting in 1998 where I enjoyed much success until 2004. Besides that, I did elementary school until 2004; upper grades in grammar school and certificate for A- levels until 2006. Then I graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Master Series. Since 2008 I am an official Volkswagen driver in F3. In my spare time I like to work on my personal fitness and like almost every other driver, I am dreaming about Formula 1.
How did you get involved in racing? Have you always wanted to become a race driver yourself? Did your parents always support you?
My dad did some races in karting as well, when he was at the age of approximately 20. That is why he supported me always in racing and my mum looked after my school education. At the age of 12, it was my birthday present, I was allowed to drive a rental kart and it was great. Since then, I am involved in racing and it’s my biggest passion.
You have started your career, like many other drivers, in karting. Did you enjoy your period in karting and do you think karting will be an essential step in the career of a race driver?
Karting is the best school for future racing drivers. Although I learned the real understanding about racing in single seaters, I think karting is an essential step into the career. After karting every driver knows how to fight against their rivals. For me, karting was a great time where I learned how to fight against my rivals and I will keep it always in mind.
You have raced in different formula cars throughout the years. You have started with Formula Renault 2.0 and you have also driven the International Formula Masters and A1GP. Now you are racing at the German Formula 3 championship. What are the main differences between those cars? Which car, do you think, is the most exciting to drive?
Every car is exciting to drive, when the time is there. All cars are quite similar, except the Formula Master. The F3 and the A1GP car have a huge mechanical grip and a driver has to be very aggressive with it, especial on braking. The Master car is different, because it has more aerodynamically grip, means that you can let the car roll a bit and try to carry more speed around the corner. The A1GP car was the most impressive car, 550 horsepower, and the F3 the most difficult car which I ever drove. It’s a new challenge for 2008.
In 2008 you will drive the German Formula 3 championship. What are your expectations of the coming season? How does it feel to be a factory driver of Volkswagen and working together with Van Amersfoort Racing?
I just can say, that I expected more from the first two rounds in Hockenheim and Oschersleben then where I ended up. But there is an outstanding quality of drivers in the 2008 season and I still have to learn and to work hard to be on top. From Volkswagen and from Van Amersfoort Racing I do receive a great support and I’m very grateful for giving me this amazing opportunity.
Every race driver has good and bad moments during his career. What is your best moment in racing, until now? What is the moment you would like to forget as soon as possible?
I don’t want to forget any moment of my career, but my best moment till now was my victory in Dijon 2004. I won my second Swiss Formula Renault 2.0 race as the first female driver ever.
If you could change your life with another race driver for just one day, who will be the one you are changing with?
I don’t want to change with another race driver. I really want to cut ones own path. I want to look back and to be proud of what I achieved and I want to look forward to the future.
Is it hard to keep standing as a female driver in a world which is mainly filled by male drivers? What reactions do you get from other drivers, supporters, teams etc.?
As a female driver you always have to double prove your abilities and your speed to be accepted. But imagine: if I am a race driver and a girl is faster, then I will never ever be pleased too.
Although the race driver is the one that really scores the results, there are always a lot of people on the background that also have a big influence on the results and career of a race driver (sponsors, mechanics etc.). Is there a special person in your career that you would like to thank, and why is that person special to you?
If I would like to name them all, the list would be too long for this interview. I just say a big THANK YOU, thanks to everybody who was and is supporting me!!!
Many people think that the life of a race driver is all fun and just a dream. But if you take a look to the ‘inside’ of racing, what is the hardest part of being a race driver?
Except for looking for sponsors and train hard for physical and mental strength, waiting is the hardest part of being a race driver. It is especially hard for such an impatient person like me.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?
If there is enough ability and financial support for you at the beginning of your career, you should try it!