Graduating to Formula 2 with MP Motorsport last season, Clément Novalak has been building on those maiden outings so far in 2022.
We spoke to the French driver about the critical moments in his life that have made a lasting impact on his career.
Moving to the UK
“It was a bit daunting. Obviously, I’d been to a British school before and knew how to speak English but I moved by myself at first before my family joined me. So I was at boarding school for a bit.
"It was mostly just to do with racing and having a team around me that was more professional to enter International-level karting. It was a tough experience that I now remember very fondly. I’m still in contact with a lot of the friends from boarding school, so it’s a cool experience and it’s one of the moments that made me progress in my career.”
“The first go-kart I bought and the first experience I had around racing was something I shared with my dad watching Grands Prix with him. One day I walked up to him and said ‘I kinda want to try this out.’ We did some rental karts at first before buying my first go-kart. From there onwards, it was about driving, racing and occasionally a bit of school. I think I was about eight years old when I got my first kart. I didn’t really start racing until around 10.
“The first track I took my kart to was in Lyon. It was probably the only real international karting track around. It was really cool.”
Passing his driving test
“I really gained independence when I passed my driving test. It comes with the fact that I can travel, I can rent cars as well outside of the UK now I’m finally 21, so it allows me to be independent. The flipside is I’m not just a hazard on track, I’m a hazard on the road now too! It took me three tries to pass on the practical. The first one, I kept forgetting to check my blind spot, the second one was a classic racing driver error - speeding, and the third try I really concentrated, and I finally got it right.
"It was tough because they’re pretty strict in the UK, but it was a good experience. The speeding was a stupid error but I guess that’s normal for a racing driver. I really want to go to the States for a road trip, the west coast because I’ve already been to the east coast quite a bit. I’m trying to get a few of the guys together, like Caio (Collet) and Felipe (Drugovich) to go to Brazil this coming winter too.”