James Pull

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Age: 16
Born: Singapore
Nationality: English

On maturing

As you mature and develop as a driver, you become more aware and more responsible for the set-up of your own kart. You begin to have more of a knowledge of what you can change in order to make yourself quicker on track. Changes such as sprocket set-up; axle changing; caster and camber, I wouldn’t go into too much detail about tyre pressures and such but I’ve learned a lot about carburettors, how they work and how to change them while I’m on the track. What the meaning of the temperature is. When you’re younger, you just drive but you develop to become a more technical driver who understands what to do if you have no grip at the front of the kart.

On travelling

Before I moved to England to focus on competition, it was horrible. We’d fly to the next round, in Italy for example, and would stay there for a couple of months. So I’d be missing a huge chunk of school in Singapore because it was too expensive to fly from Singapore to Europe on a regular basis, and the flight is 13 hours long. It was extremely tough for me as I had to catch up on so much schoolwork and would have to take work with me. I didn’t have a home in Europe so I’d be staying in a lot of hotels. So a lot of money was being spent and my dad just couldn’t afford it anymore. I knew that and I took the decision to tell him that I wanted to progress and succeed in the sport. And to do that I also knew that I’d have to move to Europe.

On committing to racing

My dad liked my commitment and bought a small house in Hertford. I’m also going to school with five other karters now. The school knows how it works and the five of us leave at the same time. It’s still quite difficult for me as I’m not here in the UK with my parents. I have a guardian who stays with me. But I knew that if I wanted to continue in pursuing a potential career in the sport, I had to make those types of sacrifices. When that journey began, I was younger and less mature and I didn’t really care. Now I’ve started to realise how quite sad it is. But my commitment to my target outweighs those feelings. At the moment I’m seeing my parents twice a year: at Christmas and summer holidays because of school calendars, my karting schedule and saving budget if I’m wanting to move up into car racing. My family accept that this is my dream.

On driving with schumacher Jr

Racing with Mick is a good experience. I do treat him like a normal person, just because his dad is a very famous driver and I see him as a friend. Obviously it’s a bit intimidating because of the massive family history but it’s a very fun experience. He’s a really nice guy and just because he has that connection, he doesn’t use it to his advantage.I was racing in Asia between the ages of eight and 11 in Cadets, but I’ve stopped racing there now as sadly it has died. When I moved to the UK, I finished my final year in the class before graduating into KF Junior. But I’m used to being on the road so much now.

On the future

F1 is the main dream for every driver but I’m realistic. There’s only a tiny percentage of drivers who make it there. Any sort of high-quality racing such as GP3 and Formula Three would be my target. My main goal is single-seater racing but I’m hoping to get to the point where I’m not having to pay the team anymore and actually have a proper paid position. I just turned 15 at the start of October so there is the option of moving to car racing either in the UK or Europe. International karting is now more expensive than some forms of car racing. Obviously I want to move into car racing as early as possible so I can begin to learn the physics of the machine because it’s so different to what you’re used to in a car. I’m hopeful of moving to car racing next season, most probably in the UK in Formula 4.