To describe someone as having 'a rollercoaster career' is a well-worn sporting cliche, but it doesn't do justice to Dan Ticktum. The highs - double Macau Grand Prix victory, Red Bull Formula 1 star-to-be, McLaren Autosport BRDC Award - take his rollercoaster above the clouds. Yet the lows plunge it off the rails completely and close down the whole amusement park for months of repairs, before those with faith in this enormous talent help send him back towards the next peak.
To compound this, he can be an outspoken chap. Old bores with gammon-tinted spectacles uphold this as a virtue when eulogising the characters of the 1960s and 1970s, but woe betide any 20-year-old post-millennial whippersnapper with ideas above their station. These youngsters have no idea what it is to live with the hardships of free education, full employment and a flourishing health-care system. How dare they have an opinion? And here comes that Ticktum guy, swaggering in to stir things up like a petrol-powered Greta Thunberg.
Thus it was that the social-media jackals revelled in Ticktum's June 2019 loss of his Super Formula seat and his banishment from the Red Bull Junior scheme. Yet now he's entering the 2020 season - whenever it starts, anyway - as the expected lead driver for reigning Formula 2 teams' champion DAMS, and a protege of F1 squad Williams as an Academy and Development Driver.