British F4’s Dion Gowda: ‘Rookie champion would be a really good goal to hit’

The move to single-seaters can be a daunting one for many drivers looking to make their first impressions in the car racing world, but when this is mixed with a move halfway across the world, it can be even more challenging. Feeder Series spoke to India’s Dion Gowda, who has experienced this very challenge, about his aims for the 2023 British F4 season. 

By Tom Evans

Early beginnings, and a bold move

As with most aspiring drivers, Gowda started his career at a rental karting track in 2017. “I loved to watch Formula One from a young age, and I got hooked on the sport when I asked my dad to go rental karting. It just went from there, it got bigger and bigger until our move to Europe, where I’ve continued to race here. Originally, it was all just for fun because I enjoyed doing it, but as it continued it became more of a profession.”

It was a family decision for me to take the step, so we all decided as a group that it would be the best choice

Dion Gowda on his decision to move to the UK

A move from Indonesia all the way to Europe is certainly a big commitment, but one that many drivers including Dion have to make in order to compete in the world’s most competitive junior single-seater series. “My dad’s business is based here [in the UK], and my sister also went to university here as well, so those connections definitely helped my move over. It was a family decision for me to take the step, so we all decided as a group that it would be the best choice.”

Single-seater decisions

“We considered Italian Formula 4, but ultimately we decided that British was the right move,” Gowda says about why he chose the UK. “It was mostly because of our relationship with Carlin and because I live here as well, it all just kind of clicked. British F4 was super competitive last season, so it seemed like great choice.”

Dion Gowda is also competing in F4 UAE this winter | Credit: Dutch Photo Agency

Racing with the right team is critical for any junior driver, so we questioned why Dion had his sights set on the famous British outfit. “It was always going to be Carlin for us. Obviously Hitech performed well last season, but Carlin took home the teams’ championship and all three of their drivers were super fast. Even when testing with CDR [Chris Dittmann Racing] we always had our eyes set on them.”

Testing, preparation, and goals for 2023

The jump from karts to cars is one with a very steep learning curve, so quickly adapting to a new environment and style of racing is critical in any driver’s first season of cars. Having a successful testing program is the key to hitting the ground running on the first race weekend of the year. “There’s lots to learn whilst testing,” Gowda explains. “It’s gone really well to be honest. Carlin have really helped us off track as well as on. There have been some tough moments like any new challenge, but overall there have been positive steps.”

Preparation off track is as important as on track, so Dion walks Feeder Series through how he’s been preparing for his single-seater debut: “WHsports are my management, so I do things such as sim work with them, and I work with PAP [pioneered athlete performance] on the physical side of things. That’s extremely important to me, because as you progress through the motorsport scene it gets tougher physically, so that is crucial.”

Rookie champion would be a really good goal to hit, but it’s equally important to progress myself as much as possible

Dion Gowda on his goals for the 2023 season

When asked about his aims for 2023, Dion replied: “Obviously, I’d love to win the championship next year, that’s a no-brainer for me. But it’s also a year to learn, progress and ultimately take that first step into the car racing world. Rookie champion would be a really good goal to hit, but it’s equally important to progress myself as much as possible.”

A roadmap for future plans

With so many different series that young drivers can race in on the road to Formula One, it can be an intimidating view for drivers new into the car racing world. Some driver opt for an extensive testing program, whilst others including Gowda chose to run a dual campaign, competing in F4 UAE at the beginning of the year.

Positive momentum is everything in motorsports, so his time in the UAE will be vital. So far, Gowda has had a strong start to his time in Formula 4, qualifying as the third highest rookie at the first F4 UAE meeting, and a strong performance in race two of the weekend earnt him the first point of his car racing career. 

“We are just going to take it year by year,” replies Dion on whether he has plans for where he wants to be in 2024 and beyond. “There are so many different options in the current racing climate, you could stay on the British scene and go to GB3, or you could go over to Europe for Euroformula Open or FRECA. It’ll all depend on how we perform next year, so taking it step by step is our plan.”

Header image credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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