After a pretty impressive career in Europe, he is going to conquer the United States of America. Becoming champion in the F3 European Open Championship in 2013 followed by a less fortunate 2014 season, he is now taking the step to the other side of the ocean; to compete in Indy Lights in 2015 and probably the Indycar Series in the near future. RacingInside.com spoke to the talented racing driver Ed Jones in an exclusive interview.
Hello Ed, I think many visitors will be familiar with the name of Ed/Edward Jones. Unfortunately, some of them will not know who you are. Could you give a brief introduction about yourself?
Hello, I am Ed Jones; a British racing driver which is born and brought up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I have raced in Formula Renault, Formula 3 and this year I will be competing in the Indy Lights Championship.
Some race drivers are getting involved in racing through friends or family. How did you get involved in racing? Did your parents support you from the early beginning?
My father took me to the local karting track, where he had raced many years before (in Dubai). Instantly, it was something I loved and everything progressed from there on.
Your name sounds British, but you are born in the United Arab Emirates. Could you give some further information about that?
Yes, a lot of people get confused when they see ‘Jones’ on the car alongside a flag of the United Arab Emirates. I was born and brought up in the United Arab Emirates. However, both my parents are British.
You have started your career in karting? Do you think karting is an essential step in the career of a race driver?
Of course, it is an essential step. If you look at the drivers these days; pretty much every one of them started off with karts. It is the best preparation for moving into racing cars and teaches you race craft and control. Without karting, it would take a lot longer for young drivers to get up to speed in cars.
During your brief career you already have got some major successes in single seaters, like winning the championship in F3 European Open. In what way did your career progress?
I moved into cars initially in the Formula BMW Championship in the United Kingdom. I had a lot less racing experience than the other drivers, so I started off a bit behind but quickly made progress. Every year since then, I have made big steps forward. As you mentioned, the F3 European Open title is a result of that. Unfortunately, last year halted the progress due to breaking my back. Nevertheless, I am now back to form and looking forward to show what I can do in the Indy Lights Championship this year.
For the 2015 season, you have made the switch to the United States of America to race in Indy Lights. What made you decide to continue your career over there?
For me, every year I did single seaters in Europe I became more aware of how extremely political everything was. Even in Formula 3 it was obvious that certain drivers were given advantages above the rest of the field. In addition; the chances of getting Formula 1 these days are so slim, unless you have a massive budget or fit a certain political reason. On the other hand, in the United States of America it seems a bit more straight forward. If you perform, you get rewarded and there is a higher chance of making a long term career in which I aim.
If you take a look ahead, what do you think that the future will bring to you? What do you want to achieve?
My target for the future is to have a career in the Indycar Series. When I get there, depends on how well I do this year. However, I am confident I will be there soon.
Every race driver has his good and bad moments. What is the best moment in your career and what is the worst moment in your career, until now?
Winning the F3 European Open Championship in Barcelona has to be the best moment so far. It was an extremely difficult race, which made the result ever more satisfying.
The worst moment has to be last year, when I broke my back after such a promising early run in the championship.
The life of a race driver is tough physically and mentally. Do you have a special training programme to stay fit and to gain strength?
I train most days during the week in different ways. Sometimes I am at the gym, but I am also running outside or swimming. When I am back home in Dubai, I love to go cycling as well.
If you could change lives for a day with another race driver, who would it be?
I would love to have been a driver in the 80’s or 90’s, either in Indycar or Formula 1. The cars looked like they were amazing back then; difficult to drive with a lot of risk sounds like a pretty great buzz.
From the outside, being a race driver looks like a real dream. But there are also negative points, of course. If you could take people a look at the ‘inside’ of racing, what do you think is the most negative point of being a race driver?
Yes, there are positive and negative points with everything you do. In my opinion, the positives far outweigh the negatives in racing. In my mind, you just have to find a way to turn the negatives in something good.
What would you like to say to everyone that is dreaming of a career in racing?