Dubai-based Mario Sharbel Sarit Dias has a dream – he wants to be a Formula One driver. He tells how he’s trying to crowdfund his way on to the podium
I’m Indian but was born and raised in Dubai. In 2007, I started training to be a race car driver at Dubai Autodrome. One of the instructors there wanted to see what I could do. He told me anyone can drive a car in a straight line, but he said he saw potential in me.
I wanted to go racing, but I needed more training. I started researching and discovered the Bertil Roos School in America. They offer intensive courses and I got to drive in New Jersey at a track called Lightning Raceway. It was absolutely the real deal, a serious business. The instructors thought I had potential and wanted me to compete but I didn’t have the Dhs150,000 I needed to race. I trained for a while in the UK with a guy called Rob Wilson; he’s a renowned instructor who taught F1’s Kimi Räikkönen. While I was there I took part in an event called the Grand Prix Shoot Out. We drove touring cars, like Fiat 500s. I just felt so comfortable behind the wheel. I went on to win the Class 3 Category at the UAE Touring Car Championships in the 2010/2011 season. Since then, I’ve been trying to get into single-seater races, driving Formula cars – and I’ve been trying to get into Formula Gulf as well. The problem is money. It costs Dhs278,000 just to take part a the tournament. It’s really tough to stay motivated. People will tell you’re not good enough or talented but I’m not doing this for a hobby. I want to win.