Always burning with fighting spirit, Roman Stanek is hungry to put the Czech Republic on the racing map in his rookie Formula 2 season.
Crediting his family’s sacrifices to getting him to where he is today, the Trident driver gives us his take on those who've impacted his story so far and how watching a UFC Champion in action has helped him develop the mindset needed to conquer any challenges that come his way.
“The person who I’ve always been looking to is my father because he basically started from zero and he made it, so he was able to support our family. Also, my mother, we were always growing up together. My mother didn’t work because she was taking care of me and my brother.
“My grandfather was actually the one who got me into motorsport, but the first sport that I loved and did was motocross because there as a motocross track near my house, like a two-minute walk away. I started to ride motorbikes there when I was six or seven years old, and I was doing anything that had the smell of the fuel. I really loved it, and then my parents said no it was too dangerous. From ages eight to 10, I was playing football and tennis, all the things that a normal guy does. Then when I was 10, I started go-karting. It was my father’s idea that we went go-karting with two of my brothers, so we all started at the same time, and we all had the same chance.
“When I was young, my mother was the one travelling everywhere with me because my father was supporting me financially in order for me to be able to do what I wanted. We were also living in Italy when I was young, so without my mum and father it wouldn’t have been possible. It’s impossible because this sport requires a lot of money and when I was 11 and 12, I was not able to travel by myself. My mother took care of me and I’m very, very proud of her and very happy that she spent her time doing that.
“The best piece of advice they’ve given me is to never give up on everything that you want. In this sport, you just have to keep trying because the worst thing is when you don’t try, then you regret it. Even if you don’t achieve what you want in the end, it’s always worth a try.”
“Valašské Meziříčí is where I’m from. I have a lot of friends there and they support me a lot. Also, the people in the village itself are supporting me, I love it there and I’m very happy that that I can represent them in Formula 2. I always love to go back there because I have the feeling of support and the feeling of freedom as it’s my home and I can do whatever I want.
“I try to keep in contact with my friends now we’ve grown up. They’ve started to work, so it’s a little bit hard, but whenever I go home, we meet up. We have a grill party; we play football together and have fun. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been home to Czechia. I miss them and I can’t wait to see them because they support me, and I really appreciate it.
“It feels great to represent my home and I’m very happy that I can do it – it just feels amazing. Now it’s in my hands, I have to work hard, and I really want to prove that as a guy from a small town, everything is possible. I want to place the Czech Republic as the most viewed country on the planet!”
“I started to look up to Conor McGregor’s style. I don’t agree with everything that he says, sometimes it’s a little bit too much, but his mindset is very strong. He’s very professional in whatever he does – training in the cage, outside the cage and his mentality is just unbelievable. I learnt quite a lot of tricks from him to be able to improve my mindset, so he helped me quite a bit.
“I learnt that he works very hard, he destroyed every opponent that he’s had in the cage – of course, I don’t do that in the same way, but he’s really a pro. The mind is very important, and he visualises, and he knows what he’s going to do. I’m sure every day before the fight, he visualises every moment, every movement and it’s very similar for us. For example, in Jeddah I didn’t know the track, I only had the onboards and the simulator, but the thing that I can do is visualise every feeling that I have in the car, all the corners, the walls and the reference points.
“For me, he’s one of the key points to success because the mind doesn’t automatically know what I’m like. My mind is not set to be a racing driver, no one’s mind is. For example, if I go running, it’s set to escape from something because that’s how humans are built, and your mind doesn’t know the difference between visualisation and real-time experience.
“So, it’s very important to get into a very strong meditation and visualisation. It’s not always perfect, but many times where I didn’t know a track, I visualised it and used the simulator. Once I did the work with my mind, sat in the car and started to drive it, it was like it was normal for me. I was familiar with the track from Lap 1, so this is one of the key points.”