Sky Sports F1 catches up with Seb Morris, one of the rising stars of British motorsport
Welshman the latest to feature in our series profiling rising drivers
By William Esler. Last Updated: 19/02/13 2:03pm
Seb Morris is one of the rising stars of British motorsport and Sky Sports F1 Online caught up with him ahead of his graduation to the Formula Renault North European Cup in 2013.
The 17-year-old made the step up from karting, where he boasts a very successful record, to the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2010, becoming the youngest ever winner of the Winter Championship.
The Welshman contested the full UK Championship in 2011, where 11 victories in the first 15 rounds set up a dominant march to the title - a season that was featured on Sky Sports F1 HD as part of the Britain's Next F1 Star series.
2012 saw a switch from 'tin-tops' to single seaters in Formula Renault BARC, where Morris finished as top rookie and third in the overall standings, before going on to win the Winter Series.
Seb Morris: Formula Renault BARC Winter Champion in 2012
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Wrexham-born racer says he found the switch an easy transition.
"Contrary to what a lot of people think - they think it would be difficult to go from tin-tops to single-seaters - I found it a bit easier as the tin-top was heavy and had a lot of weight and roll and was really quite a hard car to master.
"However, the Formula Renault car was very much suited to my driving style and once I got into single-seaters I felt quite at home.
"All the characteristics of the car stay the same if you have a rear-wheel drive car. Racing in the Ginetta taught me a lot about changes you can make in the car as well - with the brake bias and things like that - and a lot of that was just ramped up in the Formula Renault. So it was good experience to have."
The demise of Formula Renault UK in recent years and the slashing of British F3 to just four rounds has led to questions being raised about the long-term viability of certain other series. For drivers as well, the number of competing championships on the ladder to F1 can be confusing, but Morris does not feel it is as big a problem as some are making out.
Seb Morris: In action at Donington Park with Fortec Motorsport
"I don't think it is a major problem, there are just too many of them and it is very hard to get a team around you to choose what is the best option for you," the Welshman said.
"A lot of people will tell you different things because they want money off you or because they are to do with that championship that they want you to race in.
"That's why it is important to have a team around you that can guide you and help you chose the right step each time to move up the ladder.
"I am going to be racing in Europe this year in the Formula Renault NEC and this is the career path I am going to take.
"After the North Euro Cup, I'd ideally look at going into the full Euro Series, or some form of Formula 3. But it changes every year - there are always changes to the championships and to the drivers and the budgets are also a big thing nowadays.
"So we will take that step depending on how well we do this year and assess what is the right option to take."
Morris was recognised by the BRDC as one of their 'Rising Stars' in 2012, something he admits was a huge honour.
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"It was a very big honour as the BRDC is probably the most prestigious motor racing club in the world," he said. "To be recognised by them and to be invited - I didn't put my name forward - is a huge thing.
"It is the name more than anything, people instantly recognise you when you are a BRDC Rising Star and it gives you a status of being a good driver being and an all-rounded person - so it has been a huge step for my career."
Reaching the pinnacle of motorsport requires dedication away from the track to ensure the driver is in top physical shape, and Morris says it is a delicate balancing act between normal teenage responsibilities, such as school, and training hard.
"It is definitely a balancing act with school and fitness because you go to school at 8:30am and you are not back to 5pm and then you have two or three hours of homework as well so it is hard to balance it out," he said.
Seb Morris: 2011 Ginetta Junior Champion
"Thankfully my new school, Abbey Gate College, have been very good and accommodating in helping me with my fitness and have let me leave school early so I can go straight to my local gym and that has really helped me a lot. Then at the weekends, when I am not racing, I devote the whole weekend to a fitness camp with my trainer.
"It is hard to do, but I really do enjoy my fitness and it is pretty vital at this stage as the cars are just going to get quicker and quicker right up to Formula 1. You need to be as fit if not fitter than your competitors and have the mental capacity to do things inside the car rather than just focussing on driving the car."