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Formula One seat might not be enough to tear Paffett away from beloved DTM

18:15 02 June 2012

Gary Paffett at Brands Hatch this year. Picture by Nick Dungan.

Gary Paffett at Brands Hatch this year. Picture by Nick Dungan.

NICK DUNGAN - SPORTSTOCK.CO.UK

DTM racing star Gary Paffett would face a tough call if Formula One opportunity came his way.

Bromley race ace Gary Paffett, like most sportsmen, is ambitious; you only have to glance at his record to find that out.

But he admits that even the dangling golden carrot of a seat in a Formula One car might not be enough to tear him away from the DTM series where he is blazing a trail this season.

The 31-year-old is currently leading the standings in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, and is looking to win his first title since 2005, having also twice been runner-up in the last three years.

He has come close in the past to sealing a deal to drive alongside the stars in motorsport’s elite, some of whom now ply their trade staring at his brake lights, and since his 2005 triumph he has worked as a reserve driver for the Mclaren F1 team, and so knows what the job entails.

"“The two F1 stars, David and Ralf have been around a long time, but they are struggling for results in DTM.”"

Gary Paffett

“Obviously I would like to race in F1, but it wouldn’t be a disaster if I didn’t,” he said.

“If the right opportunity came up, certainly I would look at it, the biggest problem I have got is I have got a very good career in DTM. I have got a lot to give up to take a punt.

“Everybody wants to be racing in F1. There are so few seats available, it’s about getting the opportunity.”

It would be a massive change making the jump into F1 from DTM where he has the relative freedom to travel home between races.

“In F1 you have 20 races a year, you’re in a race track, or in an airport, it’s the same people,” he said.

“You are in a different world to everybody else for ten months. You pop home to get some clean clothes and you’re off again.”

For now though he is fully focused on delivering a championship-winning drive in his Mercedes as part of the HWA team on the continent.

He said: “It’s been amazing, we had a terrific season last year and a lot of change this year.

“We have had new cars and it was all a bit unknown as to how competitive we would be this season.”

And a quick scan of the names he is up against shows no signs of incompetence, with F1 mainstays David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher, and former World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx on the list, which is why his start of two wins and a second place has even surprised himself.

“You don’t expect that with the level of drivers, it’s so close, that string of results doesn’t normally happen,” he said. “The two F1 stars, David and Ralf have been around a long time, but they are struggling for results in DTM. The level of drivers is as high as it has ever been.”

Despite all his years in Germany he is yet to grasp the language, probably not helped by the fact the majority of drivers speak English as their second language.

“It’s not great for someone who has spent 11 years in Germany, I couldn’t do interviews or speak to the media in German,” he said. “Everybody speaks English pretty well, we are quite lucky being English.”

Away from the 100mph track action he keeps things a little more low-key compared to some of his colleagues who have driveways full of petrol-guzzling supercars or motorbikes.

“I’m probably not as big a motorsport fan as some other people,” he said. “I’m not a big petrol head.

“I don’t have a garage full of fast cars, I keep my racing to the track. When I’m at home I take the kids to school and I don’t need a fast car to do that.”

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