Get to know ART Grand Prix’s Russian racer Alex Smolyar a little better with an inside look at the 18-year-old’s biggest achievements, his racing heroes, and his favourite tracks.
NAME: Alex Smolyar DATE OF BIRTH: 19/07/2001 NATIONALITY: Russian 2021 TEAM: ART Grand Prix
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
“I was born on an island called Sakhalin. I grew up in a little town on that island called Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. It’s based in north Russia, really, really far away from the capital of Moscow.”
FIRST RACING MEMORY
“It was a go-karting race, nothing professional. I was maybe five years old, and it was basically in this big parking lot. It was a wet race and I remember finishing second. I don’t really remember any other races from then until I started karting professionally.”
“That depends on the race itself, what I need to do and what I need to achieve. I don't like doing anything unnecessary, I always think twice before doing something.
“When you are racing and there is a driver who is braking 10, 20 metres later than everyone and overtaking on the outside, you think that it’s good when it comes off, but quite often it doesn’t work and there ends up being a collision.”
“Not a hero as such, but I would say Lewis Hamilton because I think that he’s the perfect driver both on track and off track.
“Randomly, I met him last at Austria in a supermarket. I went there one evening and saw a guy wearing designer clothes and a hat, it looked like he was trying to hide his appearance. I realised who it was, he was there with Angela (Cullen). We had a quick chat, it was really nice."
BIGGEST RACING ACHIEVEMENT
“In 2019, I won in Monaco while racing in Formula Renault. Monaco is so good and to win there is pretty special. It was a really difficult weekend and there was a lot of pressure. I managed to pull off a really good Qualifying result, and it went from there.
“I would say that is the best performance of my career so far, it’s very cool to be able to say that I won at Monaco.”
FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE F3 CALENDAR
“Spa, it’s an awesome track. It’s one of the tracks where you have to sacrifice your pace to look after your tyres, which is really interesting and means that you really have to think. Eau Rouge is such a nice corner.
“I wasn’t actually very quick there a few years ago, so it hasn’t always been my favourite, but then last year in Formula 3 I was fighting for the podium and that was great.”