Whilst many drivers are currently preparing for racing to commence within coming months, we caught up with Switzerland’s Ralph Boschung as he looks to put together financial backing in order to continue his racing dreams.
In this candid interview, Boschung discusses how he has gone from humble beginnings to racing in higher racing categories whilst battling to continue funding his racing dreams every season.
- Who or what inspired you to become a racing driver?
Boschung; “I actually started racing maybe not in the most conventional way because I used to go to a rental karting track at a local place in Switzerland just for fun. I then switched to motorcycle for a while as I had more fun there.
“Eventually I tried a more powerful go-kart and knew this is something I could enjoy a lot in the future. My grandfather who was very good friend with Jo Siffert [ex F1 1960s driver] was also doing some local GT racing in the old times but I wasn’t yet born in those years so I believe that I might have some racing blood from him.
“But it was all just for fun in the beginning and always my choice because I never got pushed by anyone to do it.”
- What was it like graduating from karting to single seater racing as a driver whilst also having the challenge of earning sponsorship, in order to continue your progress up the motorsport ladder despite experiencing further sponsorship issues in GP3 and F2?
Boschung; “I remember very well the end of 2011 where I applied for the 2012 Formula BMW Talent Cup season. I got the chance to make my first single seater at the age of 14 in 2012 which was an amazing step for me personally.
“Back then already at the age of 14, I was basically managing myself as crazy as it sounds but I always went to the races on my own, travelling by plane and train on my own, minding my own business which is something I always loved to do and still do.
“Obviously the higher the categories the more challenging it was to find sponsors that would cover the financial side so I could race. I think I made some big steps in my career so far in terms of category but was able to adapt quite well to the cars and surroundings quickly.
“Over the years, I’ve learned so much about getting the investments and find the right people and sponsors to be able to continue my dream. Of course as we all saw, I had my difficulties in GP3 and especially in F2 but we shouldn’t forget that we talk about millions to compete in F2.
“I am still astonished at the money that I’ve been able to raise in the last few years and still somehow make it trough when difficult times come. I thank those times and want them to still be around, maybe not in that extent because they make me grow in every possible way.”
- 2015 saw you make the step up to GP3 where you improved across two seasons despite missing six races in 2016 and taking a Sprint win in Austria. Compared to Formula BMW and ADAC Formel Masters, how much of a learning curve did you find racing in GP3?
Boschung; “Those were very interesting times in my career. I remember when I received a call from Andreas Jenzer (owner of Jenzer Motorsport) when I finished my Formula ADAC season relatively successfully.
“He asked if I would like to join for a day of testing in Abu Dhabi and also meet a potential investor there who could be interested in investing in me for my season. That’s where I managed to meet his investor and he was convinced about me in Abu Dhabi and he is still onboard as we speak today.
“He was a huge help and influence in my step to the feeder series. The step at first felt very big but I have to say I felt quite confident quickly with the car and the tyres. The first year wasn’t easy at all but I feel like I improved quite a lot in the second year fighting with the ART drivers until I struggled with funding to continue the 2016 season.”
- Recent seasons saw you race in F2 with three different teams in which you encountered unreliability and unlucky results, whilst having several changes of teammate. From your perspective, what was the biggest challenge about adapting to new teammates throughout your time in F2 whilst also missing some races yourself for financial reasons?
Boschung; “F2 has been a huge challenge for me in the last few years and I obviously hadn’t been able to complete a full season, with many many challenges along the way.
“It was very difficult for me to adapt to all those situations to be honest. I always pulled out last minute deals and wasn’t really able to prepare any of the season well.”
- Finally, what are your ambitions for the future as we continue to adjust to a new normal, especially with potential financial impact on young drivers who don’t have support of F1 teams or long-term sponsors?
Boschung; “I am currently working very hard and I am using this period now to fully prepare a upcoming season with the full financial backup behind me, as well as long-term deals which I’ve sealed already.
“I am also working on a long-term deal to have stability for the next couple of years but I am not able to communicate this for the moment. Time will tell if this will be successfully done, but I remain confident and as always, Never Give Up!”