Josh Hill hopes to keep F1 legacy alive

Chennai, Feb 8 (IANS) Josh Hill has big shoes to fill. After all, he is born into one of Formula 1's most celebrated families.

Josh's father Damon was the 1996 World Champion, who was himself the son of double World Champion Graham. The legacy, though, does not get to Josh as he is aware that only his rich family heritage won't take him places in the money-driven world of motorsports.

Josh has been honing his skills by racing around the globe and hopes his maiden India visit for the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 series here proves to be another stepping stone for bigger things ahead.

"I had heard how competitive this series was and I have not raced for a while. So I decided to come here. The track looks good and it should be a fun racing weekend," Josh told IANS after getting the first taste of the Madras Motor Sports Club track at Sriperumbudur here.

It was none other than championship leader and fellow Briton Jordan King who told Josh about the MRF Challenge which is touted as one of the fastest single-make series in Asia.

Josh has also competed alongside upcoming Indian driver Shahaan Engineer in his emerging career. The two raced for UK-based Fortec Motorsports in the 2012 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup where Hill finished third behind King.

The Surrey driver next plans to do a Euro Series F3 season, hoping the performances there will help him break into F1 and continue the family tradition.

"It is an honour to be born in such a family and the ultimate aim has to be in F1," said the 22-year-old.

On being asked how it is to be a 'Hill', he says: "It sometimes gets quite surreal. I was racing in New Zealand and everyone got so excited after getting to know about my background. The family name has surely helped me but I have to win races to progress."

There is a lot of expertise on offer but Josh likes to be himself on the track.

"My dad has, obviously, been a great help but he mostly handles the off-track issues of the sport; stuff like managing sponsors and dealing with politics."

What's his take on the money-driven business that F1 is today?

"It is pretty disappointing to see that nowadays money matters more than the talent. It is getting tougher and tougher to get into F1, or even GP2 for that matter."

When not racing, Josh turns into a percussionist.

"Racing could be mentally exhausting so whenever I am back home, I listen to a lot of music. I also play drums for a rock band," he signed off.

(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at bharat.s@ians.in)

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