Aspiring open-wheel driver Jack Aitken delivers scathing critique of new FIA points system

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If you’re not that well-known in the grand scheme of the motorsports arena, one way you can stand out is by making your mark on social media.

Another way to do so is to offer a scathing critique of something, especially if the take is on point and well-reasoned.

Both of the above points brings us to Jack Aitken, a 19-year-old half English, half South Korean open-wheel prospect, who may have offered the most damning critique of the day on the new points system needed to earn an F1 Superlicense as outlined by the FIA.

Aitken raced this year in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series, where he finished seventh in the 30-driver field and top ranked British driver. He also finished ninth and fourth in a one weekend, two race cameo driving for Team Pelfrey’s Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires team in that series finale at Sonoma in August, on his debut weekend in the series.

So that’s who he is, and here’s what he posted on Twitter on Tuesday:

If you can’t read the small print in full, here’s the full transcript beyond the immediate boom of the FIA/FIFA conspiracy comparison as the tweet intro:

The FIA want us to believe a champion of WSR 3.5 is simply not qualified for F1, whereas the champion of F3, with less than half the power is. Right. As for the Renault 2.0 series, the champion of the Eurocup series is awarded all of 5 of the necessary 40 points, whereas National F4 championships award double that. Not only is the Eurocup widely accepted as an extremely competitive training ground for F1, it is definitely not half as useful preparation for F1 as a championship with cars nearly 7 seconds a lap slower than it. As if this wasn’t enough of a statement of intent, they have reserved the most points for a ‘Future FIA F2’ series, of which there are no real plans whatsoever at the moment. Button, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Schumacher? Wouldn’t qualify. How much further will the FIA go to stamp out rival series to pave the way for their own? They should be focusing on solving the real problems of motorsport, rather than shamelessly promoting themselves.

It’s quite a bold statement to make, considering that as an up-and-coming driver Aitken doesn’t necessarily carry the clout of say, a World Series by Renault or Japanese Super Formula driver who is more established and would have more of a legitimate gripe over the system as outlined, if he or she wasn’t eligible for a Superlicense.

However, consider nearly all the points in this rant are well-reasoned, were picked up throughout the day by drivers and individuals who do carry a certain amount of clout, and you understand that Aitken almost has nothing to lose by saying what he did.

This is an important statement, and it will be interesting to see where Aitken’s career goes on his own and whether he might face any repercussions for his personal taking the FIA to task.

How IndyCar rookie Sting Ray Robb got that name (and some more of his backstory)

IndyCar Sting Ray Robb
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Every NTT IndyCar Series season brings a new round of getting to know the rookies, and it’s fairly obvious where the story starts with Sting Ray Robb.

Just for clarification, “Robb” is the last name. His given name indeed is “String Ray” on the birth certificate.

Why, yes, he does come from performance-car parentage.

And yes, the IndyCar rookie named “Sting Ray” will be driving the No. 51 Dallara-Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware.

How did that go over with a mom and dad who clearly prefer American automotive brands?

“That’s a tricky question,” Robb said with a laugh Tuesday during the IndyCar Preseason Content Days. “Yeah, my parents are big Corvette fans, and I think that they ruled out criticizing me too badly because they know the dream is IndyCar.”

“I’ll be in a Honda car and I’m assuming it’ll go pretty quick, so I’m OK with all of that.”

“They’re not going to rename you ‘NSX’ or something?” asked Motorsport.com’s David Malsher-Lopez (whose bitingly sardonic wit is regularly heard in IndyCar media centers).

“No. I hope not,” Robb said. “My name is my name. I don’t need a rename, thank you.”

Robb, 21, has been making a name for himself lately, finishing second in last year’s Indy NXT standings with 11 top-five finishes, eight podiums and two pole positions.

But the Payette, Idaho, native also has an intriguing backstory beyond his successful four years in the Road to Indy ladder system (that also included the 2020 Indy Pro title).

He hails from the same small town (northwest of Boise on the Oregon border) that produced Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Robb, whose graduating class was less than 100, recently found that Wikipedia listed him and Killebrew as the “notable alumni” from Payette High School.

“It’s nice to be see and appreciate all the things that I’ve learned and been through,” said Robb, who also played some baseball in his day, adding that “I’m more of a consistent singles hitter, slap hitter if you want to call it. No home runs, just doubles or triples here and there.”

Some other facts on the newest memorable name of IndyCar:

–He’s managed by Pieter Rossi (father of Alexander Rossi, the 2016 Indy 500 winner), but he also gets a lot of help from his mother, Kimmie.

“We call her my ‘momager’ because she’s my mom and my manager,” Robb said. “She has been a huge role in my career because she does things that I’m unable to do as a driver.

“She’s able to play hardball with the contracts, etc., and have my best interest in mind when it comes to negotiating, along with Pieter. He may be someone that has a lot of experience in the series with Alexander, but he may not know what’s best for me. It’s good to have them both on my side, and I can learn a lot from them.”

–His family have been lifelong supporters since go-karting. “It was my mom, my dad, my grandparents on the road every weekend,” he said. “My dad has missed one race in my entire life, and it was because he was in the hospital. So we let him have a pass, and he was still on the phone every 30 minutes making sure that tire pressure was right, engine temp was right, we had the right gear on the car, etc.”

–Robb graduated high school a year early to focus on racing after being home-schooled as a child. “I went to someone’s house actually, and she taught me from the time I was in pre-K through sixth grade,” Robb said. “So in seventh grade I started going to public school, and I hate to say it, but I feel like I stopped learning after that point. But it was OK. I got some social skills, lucky for you guys.”

–He also has a wild story about how he landed his current ride during a random encounter in a trip to the gym (which you can read about here).