Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum: Super Formula would prepare me for F1

Red Bull Junior Dan Ticktum believes that a year in Japan's Super Formula series in 2019 will leave him better prepared for a career in Formula 1

Ticktum, the Formula 3 European Championship leader, is strongly tipped to compete in Super Formula next season.

Although Red Bull has tried to push him towards F1, even if Ticktum wins the F3 title he will likely not have enough superlicence points.

What's the point of an F1 junior?

Ticktum has already had a taste of Super Formula this season, filling in at Sugo and Fuji for Nirei Fukuzumi, who had clashing Formula 2 commitments.

That was with Team Mugen, the Honda-powered team that ran Ticktum's fellow Red Bull protege Pierre Gasly to the runner-up slot in the 2017 Super Formula standings.

Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko's visit to the recent Motegi round seems to have increased the prospect of Ticktum spending a year in Japan.

Talking about Super Formula, Ticktum told Autosport: "I just get put wherever I get put.

"I feel I would be ready for Formula 1 next year, but obviously Helmut feels otherwise.

"That's fair enough - I have got some lessons to learn, and Super Formula is a good platform for that, and to build the last knowledge and tools that I need."

Ticktum, who sensationally won the 2017 Macau Grand Prix, is embroiled in an F3 title fight with Motopark team-mate Juri Vips and Ferrari protege Marcus Armstrong, while several other drivers are also in contention during a season in which no one has managed to make a break in the points.

"I've just got to keep doing my job here," said Ticktum.

"I believe in me a little bit more than Helmut does at this stage, so I have to focus on success in F3."

Ticktum's F3 title lead was trimmed to just six points at Misano as he failed to finish on the podium, describing his weekend as "damage limitation."

The Motopark driver was the fastest non-Prema Powerteam contender in qualifying for race one, taking fifth on the grid, but struggled to turn on his tyres in the race and finished sixth.

He qualified a penalised 11th and seventh for Sunday's two races, which took place in mixed weather conditions, and raced through to fourth in both of them.

Before Misano, Ticktum led Armstrong by 18 points, and he now heads Vips by 12.

"Qualifying wasn't ideal, but it was damage-limitation," he said.

"I've had two unlucky Q2s in a row - at Silverstone it was Prema guys backing me up, and here it was set-up related.

"It's not ideal, but we've kept our points lead going into two tracks [Nurburgring and Red Bull Ring] that I'm strong at and so are the team.

"We'll review what happened here and then it's maximum attack for the Nurburgring - we've got to keep fighting."

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