A reluctant prosthetic leg and heavy visitors make Billy Monger a couple of minutes late for our interview. It’s a miracle he’s right here in any respect.
Ten months after a crash in a Components four race price him each decrease legs, the 18-year-old is on the Carlin racing group manufacturing facility in Guildford for a day of testing forward of his F3 debut on the finish of March.
There isn’t any stopping the boy generally known as Billy Whizz.
Ten months after a crash that price him his legs, Billy Monger is getting ready for his F3 debut
Sportsmail’s Joe Downes not too long ago spoke to Monger about his emotional sporting journey
The English teenager is ‘able to rock ‘n’ roll’ forward of his F3 debut on the finish of March
‘It has been my dream to race in F1 since I used to be eight,’ says Monger. ‘I do not see why that ought to change simply because I’ve modified. It is a huge problem however I prefer to push myself. The accident has toughened me up and made me realise what’s necessary. It is spurred me on to get to F1.
‘I do not really feel like my profession path has modified. Earlier than the crash we have been taking a look at F3 as the best step up for this season. However I’ve to pinch myself once I assume I’ve managed to get again to the place I needed to be after one thing so critical.’
Monger’s cost by means of the sphere within the rain at Donington Park final April got here to a horrific halt when he hit Finnish driver Patrik Pasma’s stationary automobile at 120mph.
‘It is nonetheless clear in my thoughts,’ says the Surrey-based teenager. ‘After we might stopped shifting I might hear Patrik screaming. The adrenaline was working so I felt fantastic and instructed the medics to go to him first. It wasn’t till 5 minutes afterwards, once I settled down, that I realised I used to be in bother.’
Monger was extracted from the automobile after 90 minutes earlier than being airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, the place he spent three days in a coma whereas his legs have been amputated.
Maybe unsurprisingly for a boy who began karting on the age of six, Billy’s consideration returned to motorsport earlier than he had even woken up.
Monger had his legs amputated after a crash within the rain at Donington Park final April
The teenager’s race got here to horrific halt when he hit Patrik Pasma’s stationary automobile at 120mph
‘I wrote, “Who received the race?” on a little bit of paper,’ says Monger, who lives within the Surrey village of Charlwood.
‘I do not keep in mind doing it as a result of I used to be out and in of consciousness however my mum confirmed me the scribble. I am unable to imagine I used to be asking such foolish stuff, however that is what got here into my head.
‘They saved my life however the accident was unavoidable so there was no level feeling sorry for myself. I simply needed to race once more.
‘I had messages from all these superb drivers they usually have been like a lightbulb happening in my head. I assumed, “When you work onerous, you are able to do this”.’
Lewis Hamilton was among the many well-wishers, with the four-time F1 world champion becoming a member of the swathes who raised greater than £800,000 for Monger’s ongoing therapy and rehabilitation.
The pair are in common contact after Hamilton invited Monger to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone final July.
The 18-year-old driver insists he does not know why his dream to race in F1 ought to change
Monger was invited to the British Grand Prix final yr by ‘good buddy’ Lewis Hamilton
‘He is been a superb buddy,’ says Monger. ‘I do know he desires me to do properly and is there to assist me if I want him. I used to be star-struck once I first met him as a result of he is my hero. I grew up watching him win world titles and I wish to obtain comparable issues.’
That quest resumed simply 11 weeks after Monger’s accident when he competed in an exhibition at Manufacturers Hatch.
However a return to single-seaters was out of the query till Monger pressured the game’s governing physique, the FIA, to overturn a rule which prevented disabled drivers from competing in worldwide sequence.
Now free to race, Monger returned to the monitor in Carlin’s specifically modified F3 automobile final week.
Monger has been nominated for ‘Finest Sporting Second of the Yr’ at Laureus Awards
‘I’ve performed some superior issues this yr however that was the perfect,’ he says. ‘Feeling the pace once more and understanding that each one the onerous work we put in was paying off. There have been no nerves. I used to be going at 140mph but it surely’s probably the most peaceable I’ve felt since my accident.
‘I am happiest once I’m within the automobile. I haven’t got to fret about my A-Ranges or my prosthetics or something. I can simply go on the market and be me, doing what I’ve all the time needed to do.’
A visit to F1’s jewel within the crown, Monaco, for the Laureus Awards later this month — he’s nominated for ‘Finest Sporting Second of the Yr’ for his comeback — will present good motivation forward of F3’s curtain-raiser at Oulton Park over Easter. Not that Monger is missing urge for food.
‘I do not wish to be a sideshow or simply one other driver on the grid,’ he says. ‘I wish to battle for wins and present folks I can do it correctly.’
Billy Whizz is in a decided temper forward of his return to racing: ‘I wish to battle for wins’