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Scott Malvern

Too good a talent to sit on the sidelines - Scott Malvern © lsphotos.co.uk

Unless you have been living in a cave, with your eyes closed, and your head encased in a block of concrete – unless you have been doing that, you surely can’t have failed to notice that these are tough economic times that we live in.

Unemployment is high, everyday costs are rising and businesses are keeping a careful eye on cashflow. Unsurprisingly, sponsorship, that vital ingredient in every form of motor racing, is becoming increasingly difficult to come across as reluctant corporate types balk at the thought of backing teams and individuals, regardless of their form.

No more is this evident than in the circumstances that surround last year’s Formula Ford runaway winner, Scott Malvern.

With 26 victories from 33 races, and an all-important Festival win, Malvern rewrote the series’ history books in 2011, which, lest we forget, features previous champions such as Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button.

And yet, despite his success, this young aspiring driver faces his greatest challenge to date as he fights to secure a place on the grid this year – the cost of realising his career ambitions proving extremely high and extremely prohibitive.

It initially looked as though Malvern would make the natural transition to slicks and wings in F2 this year, but with a season costing upwards of £275,000, it’s hardly surprising this was put on the back burner.

A recent article in Autosport suggested he might look at peddling a GT car instead, and there are murmurings that he may even look stateside, with many interested in what he has to offer. And that’s what makes Malvern’s plight all the more frustrating. It’s not his ability that is holding him back, it’s the lack of funding, pure and simple.

While he may not be the only young aspiring driver in the same predicament, he is immensely talented, more so than many others in a similar position (his track record speaks for itself), and so, it would be a crying shame if someone so talented was forced to sit on the sidelines this year.

So, what can you do to help?

Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, and while the Malverns go knocking on doors trying to drum up support for their son, an online donation page (here) has been created with a view to help raise £75,000.

I know that any donations will be greatly appreciated, so give whatever you can, however small, for Scott deserves all the support that we can give him.

Image © lsphotos.co.uk

13 Comments

  1. It’s such a ridiculous situation that the drivers who bring in the most money, in any series, will get a seat ahead of the most talented drivers. I know that the teams need money to carry on racing, but this can’t be the best way to go about business.

  2. Thank you very much Dan for drawing attention to Scott’s plight. It is sad that he is not unique in this position but after all of his hard work and dedication I’m glad that you & several others agree that it would be a tragedy if his career couldn’t continue.

    But Scott shouldn’t be in this position. He has just re-written the record books and yet there is no pot of gold at the end of it. No prize. No next step on the ladder to progress to. Even the very best drivers out there such as Hamillton, Button & Vettel and many before them wouldn’t have progressed to successful professional careers without somebody investing in their talent whilst they climbed the junior motorsport ladder.

    Governing bodies and other influential parties could work together to change this situation if they wanted to. Otherwise only the monied drivers will rise to the top and surely that devalues the talent pool.

    Dominic Malvern (Scott Malvern’s dad)

  3. I’ve had the privilege of watching and knowing Scott Malvern for almost the whole of his motorsport career right back to his cadet karting days. It was obvious from the outset that he was highly talented but always lacked that essential ingredient of money. I was a highly experienced kart racer myself but couldn’t get anywhere near him on track.

    When he ran out of money and began working as a race mechanic at Jamun Racing I thought what a shame that the best driver in the team, and they had very some good ones, was the one wielding the spanners. But he excelled at that task too and formed a great partnership with Australian driver Tim Blanchard.

    When he was finally given his chance to get behind the wheel himself I wasn’t at all surprised that he was winning races and setting lap records in his first weekend of UK National FF1600 racing, Anglesey April 2009. and then took what many considered to be an uncompetitive car run on a very meagre budget so close to the Dunlop MSA British Championship in 2010. His just reward was a place as a finalist in the McLaren Autosport Award that year. Sadly at the same time the Racing Steps Foundation passed on an opportunity to assist him in 2011 because they felt at 21 he was too old.

    He really should have stepped up to Formula Renault or Formula Three in 2011 but without the budget to do so accepted a lifeline from his former employer Jamun Racing to return to Formula Ford and as we know swept all before him as he broke record after record.

    We all hoped it would be 2nd time lucky for him with the 2011 McLaren Award. The prize money would have helped to secure him a seat in FIA F2 in 2012 and with the chance to go for the big prize of a Williams F1 test but it wasn’t to be when the judges decided that the already well -funded, by Racing Steps Foundation, Oliver Rowland had done a better job. Without a doubt Rowland is a prodigious talent but unlike Scott could approach the award competition safe in the knowledge that regardless of his performance his future was secure.

    I feel gutted for Scott. Few realise just how hard he has worked. While others call themselves professional drivers and spend their time with personal trainers, nutritionists, managers etc, Scott works full time; sometimes seven days a week and fits in everything else such as his fitness regime and chasing all important sponsorship in between. He even designed and maintains his own website.

    If there were any justice in motor racing Scott would be inundated with offers for both drives and support now. But teams require drivers to bring money and lots of it and that’s the one thing that Scott doesn’t have. It will be catastrophe and sad day for motor racing if his driving talent is lost to the sport.

    A dedicated friend & supporter

  4. Only in Britain would something like this be allowed to happen. How can someone who works this hard with this ability be allowed to go to waste. This is lunacy.

  5. I’ve been a motor racing enthusiast for over 30 years and have seen many drivers progress up the ranks including many future world champions such as Damon Hill and Jenson Button and in my opinion Scott is much better than they were at the same stage in their careers. He really deserves to reach the top and not just because he is a great talent but because he is a really nice personable intelligent and hardworking young man.

    I’ve spoken to many drivers over the years and some of them who have achieved far less than Scott are really for want of a better phrase up their own backsides. While some others seem to be not over populated in the brain cell department and while they may be quick occasionally they do not understand what makes them quick. I love speaking to Scott because firstly he is always willing to talk to anyone, he will give you straight honest and intelligent answers and understands the concept that as a sportsman he has a duty to entertain and give time to the paying public; a salutary lesson that many others would do well to heed.

    Something else that he doesn’t brag about is the amount of time and work he puts in for a charity that he supports which is referred to be quite discreetly on his website. I have had the pleasure of participating in some of the karting events that he organises on their behalf and they have been excellent events.

    I really hope that he can find the backing and the opportunity that he richly deserves. If I had the money I’d back him in a heartbeat.

  6. I can’t really add to anything said about Scott above. Suffice to say I have seen rather a lot of talented young drivers fall into this trap of money vs talent but Scott must be the most extreme example ever.

    The problem needs to be tackled at FIA/MSA level. If F3 teams can take sixteen year olds with no previous single seater experience, let alone a winning record, but a bag of Daddy’s cash then of course they will. It’s a lot less hassle than trying to help find sponsors for a poorer but more talented driver.

    Similarly we all talk about the single seater “ladder” leading to F1. The truth is there is no ladder. Most of the rich kids wouldn’t dare race in Club Formula Ford or Formula Vee to get experience, not just because they don’t need to but because many of them would be thrashed. The fact that if you are rich enough you can race in GP3, just two tiers below F1, without having won a single motor race in your entire career is simply wrong.

    If there was a licensing system for drivers that insisted on a certain level of success before moving up teams would be forced to look at talent, not just money. And maybe help the driver FIND the money in a proactive way instead of just going for the simple option of banking Daddy’s cash.

    Jean Todt has recognised there’s a problem, but what we need is a bit of leadership from the MSA and the BRDC. Action, not just more sympathetic words at the Autosport show, would be most welcome.

  7. As a wrinkly ex FFracer from the early eighties I can understand the frustration of money vs ability. For me the dream remained just out of reach but I was priveledged to have had the opportunity to compete and win against the well funded rivals of that time.

    Last year I was invited, with my son, to attend a number of meetings that Scott was racing at. It was a pleasure to find an individual that was down to earth, open and enthusiastic to share his opinions and knowledge. And what knowledge.

    When you add to that the dominant display of driving on track there is a clear impression that this guy has something rather special as far as skill and natural talent is concerned.

    Previous comments are ones I fully agree with and the frustration is not being in a position to help.

    Flavio’s observations regarding licensing are so true but any change to ‘qualifications’ is likely to be a slow evolution and of no help to Scott.

    Money, for now, will always prevail pure talent but if there is any justice in this world then Scott and his prodigious talent will prove this theory wrong.

    Tin tops may be a solution but that will be single seaters loss.

    Scott Malvern is a guy that can and should go all the way. Please let there be a way of making it happen.

    Good luck Scott and Dominic.

  8. There are many young drivers out there struggling to scrape the money together to race in 2012, having demonstrated their talent and potential. But regardless of Scott’s talent and potential (and of course there clearly is some!), what is such a crime is that he deserves some kind of reward simply for his acheivements last year.

    I was chatting with Dominic on Twitter and suggested that perhaps Jonathan Palmer should run a scholarship scheme with one or two paid drives each year for the most talented drivers from a shootout or something. It surely wouldn’t dent Palmer’s wallet as much as his son Jolyon’s GP2 campaign will this year! It would also bring some more driving talent into F2 – and let’s face it – it could do with it.

    But then it dawned on me that there is somebody else that should pay for Scott’s 2012 campaign. Ford.

    I think it’s fair to say that Formula Ford isn’t what it used to be. Formula Renault is certainly the drivers’ choice in recent times – justified by the number of drivers who have gone onto acheive greater things. Yet I wouldn’t recognise the majority of recent Formula Ford champions if I bumped into them in the street.

    So, if what’s stopping it from attracting talented drivers is the lack of progression, then there’s an easy way to solve that. Offer a funded F2 drive for the champion. That might sound ambititous, but it wouldn’t be much of an investment for Ford of Great Britain, would it?

    They’ve gone to the effort of developing a new car for the series, but who’s going to want to come and race it if their champions don’t get anywhere? In a recent YouTube clip on Ford’s official channel, they talk about wanting to take it back to the glory days and producing Formula 1 champions – but that simply ain’t going to happen with things as they are. But if young racers see FFord graduates like Scott racing and succeeding in higher categories, they might actually consider Formula Ford over Renaults.

    At the moment, the investment Ford have put into their championship will be completely wasted. Giving champions a paid drive at the next level would solve that. (Sorry for the essay!)

    • No need to apologise for the length of your comment Peter, for it (along with the other terrific comments above) provides much food for thought.

      I think we are all agreed that something needs to be done to secure the future for the likes of Scott, and those that will follow after him, because for such talent to go to waste is frankly criminal.

      Your suggestions are sound ones and it is truly baffling that neither businesses nor individuals, like those mentioned, are jumping at the chance to associate themselves with someone like Scott.

  9. What does Scott Malvern have to do to prove that he is good enough to be given a chance? He has struggled for funding through the whole of his career right back to his early karting days and yet he has always come out on top against far more well-heeled rivals.

    I remember watching him at Buckmore Park kart circuit as a young teenager when my own son was racing and he was just in a different class. Kart heats used to be decided by way of a draw and I’ve witnessed him go from last to first in a 30 kart grid in an 8 lap race. I was delighted when he finally got his chance to move into single seater car racing and wasn’t surprised when he made an immediate impact. Just look at his amazing record. I’ve watched many come through the ranks from karting to cars including Hamilton, Button and Di Resta and Scott is right up with them.

    If there were any justice he would have won the McLaren Autosport award last year. I have nothing against Oliver Rowland, another talented young man, but he is already well supported by the Racing Steps Foundation so why choose to award him a prize he clearly doesn’t need? For Scott the prize could literally be the difference between having a career and not having one and surely that is what the award was designed to achieve?

    I also cannot understand Racing Steps Foundation not assisting Scott and would really like to know their reasons for this? If they really wanted to help underfunded drivers that prove that they have the talent and the dedication to go all the way then who better a deserving case than Scott Malvern?

    Where would Hamilton, Di Resta and Button be if they hadn’t had the backing? With the right level of support Scott could be joining them on the grid and even if he didn’t make it to F1 would have a great chance elsewhere such as in Indy cars or even Lee Mans Sports cars. It is beyond me why he still has to struggle so much and why he is now in danger of having to give up. Someone needs to invest in this young man. There must be someone out there willing to do this and I’m sure that we would be repaid on their investment many times over!

  10. I have just read Scott’s latest on line blog and then discovered this page after an on line search.

    I have to say I find his situation unbelievable. He has clearly demonstrated that he has considerable talent and deserves support. I’m sure if he were an olympic athlete he would be given that support. Why should motorsport be treated differently?

    I am old enough to remember the Racing For Britain scheme of the 1980′s which helped many young under funded drivers and it seems to me a revival of that scheme is needed now more than ever to help Scott & others in his position. In fact what would be nice and most appropriate is if some of the beneficiaries of that scheme that went on to enjoy successful professional careers were to lead on the re-launch of it now! I don’t want to name & shame but there are drivers out there who were helped and it now it is their turn to give something back & help others!

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