Rising up from racing in Esports to Formula 2 driver, Cem Bölükbasi has had a far from convential path onto the grid.
Though is background is gaming rather than karting, he's had success along the way. We sat down with the Charouz Racing System driver to hear about some of his favourite things, approach to racing and his minor hiccup at the start of the season.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
“I was born, grew up and still live in Istanbul, Turkey.”
OUTSIDE OF MOTORSPORT, WHICH SPORTSPERSON DO YOU ADMIRE?
“Roger Federer or Kobe Bryant. Federer, I think is just great when he’s on the court and is an example as an athlete. He has the perfect personality as well because of what he does off the court. Kobe, he’s just Kobe. I watch his interviews, read books about his training and everything, he’s great.”
HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM THE TRACK?
“Not doing anything and resting is good. I like reading books, playing racing games. I love the official F1 game and it’s ridiculous because I’ve been playing that game for a living for years. Now I’m in it! I don’t get to be home often. I go to gym a lot, workout. Even if I want to relax more and chill, I still go workout because it helps me to take my mind to anything that's going on and takes my mind off racing which is beneficial.”
WHO ARE YOU FRIENDS WITH ON THE F2 GRID?
“I haven't been in the motorsport scene for a very long time. I don't exactly know everyone on the grid because a lot of drivers grew up together in F4 and F3. They've known each other for a while, I didn’t really know anyone when I came up. I think Enzo (Fittipaldi) is definitely my best friend in F2.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHEAT MEAL?
“A good burger, classic cheeseburger.”
WHAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Being a Formula 1 driver and at the very top, being a world champion.”
IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO ANY MOMENT IN HISTORY, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“My first time in the race car, 2019 GT European Series at Paul Ricard or my first win last year in Budapest in Euroformula Open. That was pretty special, getting my first one. Probably the podium ceremony as a winner.”
IF YOU WEREN’T A DRIVER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
“Mechanical engineering because I was studying to be a mechanical engineer. If I wasn't driving race cars, I'd be involved in making them. I was getting involved in Esports, but I was just about to study engineering in Germany. I enjoyed working on cars. I like the engineering side so I'd probably be a mechanical engineer.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MOVIE OR TV SERIES?
“My favourite movie is the Pursuit of Happiness. Favourite TV Series is Dark.”
WHAT WAS THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
“It was Guatemala by Swae Lee.”
YOUR FAVOURITE RACING MEMORY?
“My first win, easy answer. It was tough because it was my first race in the series and I had a one race deal. I was very tied to the sponsors, it was tough trying to find the budget for a second race and then, getting the win was very special. I didn’t get to celebrate too much because I was back into boardroom meetings, luckily they went well.”
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
“My first painted helmet that I designed.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE QUOTE?
“Remember that you prayed for the things you have now.”
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM BIRTHDAY CAKE?
“I love chocolate. I don’t actually love the cake part inside. I’d have just a super creamy and just intense, very rich version. Maybe a cherry/chocolate combination."
WHERE WOULD YOU VISIT IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD?
“Maldives, maybe somewhere crazy if it was just once though.”
YOUR MOST EMBARASSING MOMENT?
“I forgot my helmet at a security check at the airport. I had to run back but it wasn’t the first security check luckily, it was just after passport control. I just had two bags and the helmet bag. I left the helmet bag and went to the gate and sat there for like 45 minutes and was about to get on the plane but realised I’d forgotten it. That was at the beginning of this season.”