Interview: Nikita Bedrin

from CIK-FIA

Nikita Bedrin is one of a promising generation of Russian drivers who have invaded the paddocks of major international karting events.

The outstanding progression of Daniil Kvyat and Sergey Sirotkin to F1, as well as the organisation of the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, have produced many followers. Currently, Nikita Bedrin represents one of the best hopes of his country. This 13-year-old has a superb track record in the 60 Mini races in Italy and continues to grow in strength since his arrival in Junior in early 2018.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST SIT IN A KART?

At 5! Once, rather than buying a toy, my father told me, “I’m giving you a go-kart session!” I really enjoyed it. After several sessions in a rental kart, I started competing in my country in Micro and I won my first race at seven years old in my very first race. After this result, my family and I made the decision to get more involved. I then went on to Mini, I participated in my first races in Italy in 2016 and I have been in Junior since 2018.

YOU RAN WITH THE BABY RACE TEAM AND TODAY YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE OFFICIAL TONY KART TEAM. TELL US ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERE IN THE AWNING?

The team is very professional, very serious. Nothing is left to chance. The team manager asks us to get involved at the technical level, to spend time on data analysis. We must be able to describe our feelings at the wheel. It’s not easy, but interesting. This way of working makes us move forward.

LET’S GO BACK TO RUSSIA. AT THE BEGINNING, WAS IT HARD TO PROGRESS IN KARTING, IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE CLIMATE IS NOT ALWAYS FAVOURABLE TO THE SPORT?

In Russia, I live in Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine. Because of the weather conditions, the season can barely last more than six months, from April to September. It was not ideal for karting, that’s why we went to Italy in 2016, even though I was only 10 years old. Today, I live in Italy, I am close to the circuit of Lonato and I continue my education in Brescia. It’s not always easy to manage school, homework and the circuit trips, but I try to do the best I can at all levels.

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THIS GROWING INVOLVEMENT OF DRIVERS FROM RUSSIA IN THE FIA KARTING CHAMPIONSHIPS? IN JUNIOR, YOU ARE THE THIRD BEST REPRESENTED NATION THIS YEAR!

Motorsport has become more popular in our country.  Several drivers have great careers and we organise a Formula 1 Grand Prix every year. As the standard is higher in Western Europe, we tend to race in Italy and especially in the FIA Karting Championships.  If you want to pursue a car career, it’s almost mandatory. To move abroad like this requires a strong character. It is also proof of our motivation and determination to succeed. However, I must say that there is a Russian Championship with six meetings, where the level is higher each year. Some tracks are very interesting.

HOW IS THE COLLABORATION GOING WITH FELICE TIENE?

He has been coaching me since 2017. He has a lot of international experience and has won many great races as a driver. He helped me progress a lot, we work very well together on several levels: physical condition, strategy, technique, mental, aggression in the pack, etc. This year I have already won an international race at Sarno and I was very close to the podium at the FIA Karting European Championship – Junior at Genk and Kristianstad. I am also much better in the rain than in the past.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CIRCUITS?

Sarno, Lonato and Genk.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?

I think I will go OK in 2020 and maybe single-seater in 2021. My ultimate goal would be to become a Formula One driver.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE F1 DRIVER?

Yes, Max Verstappen. He proved he could win despite his youth.

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