Former F1 driver Jack Aitken has opened up on how he felt like ‘a spare part’ during his time in the sport.
After a rather successful junior career, including three titles in 2015, Aitken joined the Renault driver academy the next year, where he embarked on his first season in GP3, finishing fifth in the standings with one win in the second round in Spa.
The following season, he would finish runner-up to George Russell with again one win and five more podiums, before being promoted to F2 and the Renault test driver in F1.
After two seasons as Renault’s test driver, he moved to Williams in 2020 in the same role and would get his F1 debut at the Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing Russell who took Lewis Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes after testing positive for COVID-19.
Aitken: I was 'a spare part' in F1
Aitken’s 16th place finish would mark the only time he would see the chequered flag in F1. He returned to his reserve driver role until he left the sport entirely in 2022.
Speaking with The Race, the Brit opened up on how he feels it was a ‘mistake’ to solely pursue F1 and how he felt like ‘a spare part’ when he finally got there.
"So I was in the Renault academy for four years - I would say for the first three years of that there was never any thought of taking my career in another direction.
"Possibly a mistake. When I talk to younger drivers now I'm like 'you really should consider that stuff [outside of F1], at least just open doors elsewhere... Because statistically speaking it's more likely, bro'.
"I mean, I think I can speak frankly about it - not because I had a bad time, I really enjoyed my time with Williams and with Renault before that. But it is a boring job," he added.
"You're a spare part. You come to a weekend- okay, yeah, you can sit in on the meetings, maybe you can do some basic jobs here and there, but really there's nothing for you to do except wait for someone to fall down the stairs - and that's a terrible life to live!
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