I recently met a young (17 year old) Englishman who just might be the next Nigel Mansell. Nigel won 34 Formula Ford races in 1977 but no-one seriously rated him: he came from Birmingham, he had no money behind him and he said things as they were rather than as people wanted to hear them. Enaam Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, which is about as far from the motor racing mainstream as… Birmingham…also lacks the big finance. And, like Nigel in ’77, Enaam has also just blitzed a season. In his case it is the BRDC F3 Championship, a B-division of F3 that many of the “experts” will tell you is not particularly competitive or demanding. I would counter that is is still, withal, a series that is out there to be won.
To help move his season along, Enaam worked on the shop floor at Carlin – just as Nigel in 1979 drove a van for Team Lotus – and when Enaam wasn’t doing that – or winning British F3 races – he was writing letters to sponsors and investors, just as Nigel always used to post his ten-a-day. Ahmed isn’t racing British F3 because he necessarily wants to; he’s racing there because that was as much as his budget would allow. On the back of this success he of course wants to graduate to FIA F3, and to show his talent amongst better-known names – but that isn’t going to happen unless he raises the £900,000-or-so required for a full season in 2018 . Nigel and Rosanne re-mortgaged their house to pay for Nigel’s five F3 races in 1978; Enaam’s parents are looking to do the same.
Anyway, I was impressed by Enaam when I met him. He thinks logically, he comes over well and he is self-critical – which isn’t easy when you’re a 17 year old who has just won 12 F3 races in six months. I don’t know if he’s going to win Grands Prix one day but I can say there are no signs that this isn’t going to happen. He’s won the Junior World and European kart championships and now he’s dominated his British F3 season. He knows how to squeeze the brake pedal and when to rotate a car and he drives with his fingertips, not with his wrists.
So judge for yourself. We shot this interview in the offices of Motorsport.com. I think it gives a reasonable insight into what Mr Enaam Ahmed is all about.