Almaty-born Kazakh racer Lyubov Andreyeva, who recently turned 18, is hopeful about next year after the Nov. 26 season finale in Sochi, Russia.
In her debut year, Andreyeva managed to finish seventh overall with a record top speed of 230 kilometres per hour in Sochi, a result that surprised even her own coaches.
The young rising formula star joined the Astana Motor Sports team in September and since then the team has been putting their efforts into growing a future Formula 1 racer out of Andreyeva.
The Astana Times recently interviewed the young racer to find out her future plans and what racing means to her.
How did you discover racing? Why this sport and who influenced your decision?
I have started my career from karting when I was nine years old. My dad offered me to drive a kart and then I really liked it. However, we have been preparing for the first championship of Kazakhstan in my life. And with the good results in my first race, where I got the second place, we’ve decided to begin growing up in racing. Also, the main reason why I’ve chosen this sport is because of my passion for it.
What do you feel when you sit down in your cockpit?
I feel calm. When you [start getting nervous] it does not work well for you on the track. You can’t focus on driving.
What is speed for you? How does it make you feel?
It’s pretty exciting. I cannot describe it. One should feel it to understand. I’m personally addicted to speed. I can’t imagine my life without it.
What are your plans for the next three to five years?
In the next three-five years, I want to join Formula 1. And I’m going to do everything to achieve it. There is a long ladder of different series to go.
How much time does racing take up in your life?
It takes a lot of time when we have got a race, and also physical training is important too.
There is risk involved, how often do you think about it, if at all?
If you want to be fast, you mustn’t think about the risk. Racers understand the risk, which they undertake when they climb inside a cockpit.
Can you tell us about the toughest race you ever had?
The first race in Formula Russia was the toughest. I had only come from karting and this race was so hard for me.
Can you tell us about the most memorable race?
That was the last race in this season, which was in Sochi. It’s very special for different reasons. First, it was on a Formula-1 track and it made you feel proud and also it was the final of my debut season. And I had my 18th birthday.
Do you feel different or special that mostly in this sport there are more men [than women]?
It’s pretty cool to be the only girl. I’ve attracted a lot of attention to myself.
What is your ultimate dream in racing?
My ultimate goal is to win the World Championship in Formula 1.
You also represent Kazakhstan as the only pilot. How does that make you feel? Do you feel pressure? And how do you cope with it?
I feel proud to represent Kazakhstan in Formula racing. I feel support from my team and the fans. It’s very special.
What would you say to your fans or those who are interested in this sport?
At first, be careful on the roads. As is every racing-driver, I’m for safety on the roads. And thanks to everyone who supports me.
How do you think Kazakhstan can popularise the sport in the country?
We could start by supporting young sportsmen.
What challenges do you or your team face? Financial? Moral support, etc?
There were financial problems and they are with us still. And there are some issues getting used to a new car.
Who is your favorite racer? And why?
My favourite racer is Michael Schumacher. I’ve seen a lot of his races and like how he feels and drives the car. He is a legend and there is nothing to add.
To conclude, I would like to thank my fans and other people who support me. Special thanks to Presidential Professional Club Astana, Astana Motor Sports team, and Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund for believing in me and their further support in 2015. Thanks to my team, director of the Formula Russia series Alexander Ananyev, my mechanic Kostya Krasnov and my engineers Slava Shaposhnikov and Grigoriy Berezin. Many thanks also to my sponsors: Air Astana, the Lift Complex company, Almaty City Administration and FAMS. And personally [I would like to thank] Ergash Ibragimov and Arthur Ardavichus. And my information sponsors are Kolesa, Avtosport.kz and Auto Mir. See you in 2015!