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The Boy From Barbados: Zane Maloney's Journey to F1

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FanAmp Partners, Mania Onboard, sat down with Formula 2 driver, Zane Maloney during the Monaco E-Prix!

Find out everything about Zane from what his driver duties entail to his dreams of Formula 1 with Manon and Maia.

Before we dive in to Maia's written edition of Mania Onboard's interview with Zane Maloney, check out all of their socials and join Manon and Maia on FanAmp!

Check out the FULL video interview here:

Who is Zane Maloney?

Zane Maloney, the current leader of the Formula 2 championship, is in Monaco for his reserve driver duties with Andretti Formula E. Despite the gloomy weather, his genuine personality shines through. The Andretti PR manager informs us Zane is taking his time greeting everyone in the garage.

Maloney's primary focus is Formula 2 with Rodin Motorsport. We discussed the recent Barcelona test.

“There's always stuff to improve on. So from the team's side, it's still a new car for everyone, so we're still improving in every aspect. It's always like you want ten days of testing, but we only get six for the whole year, so there's a lot to do.” 

Formula 2 cars have standardized components, making setup crucial for success. Data from testing and simulators is vital. This is the second test of the season, following major car revisions. Mid-season testing is just as important as pre-season:

“It's just where you struggled the first three rounds. Let's see what we can improve on.”

Monaco: A Favorite Challenge

Monaco's iconic circuit holds a special place in Zane's heart.

"It's my favorite track," he beams. “It is my favourite track. You grow up and Monaco is the most prestigious race, so you already have such an amazing weekend, let's say, in your mind, coming to Monaco.”  

It's a technical street circuit with a variety of corners.

“Not much high speed corners, but around the streets, it does feel like high speed just because you're so close to the walls, and it's the tightest track on the calendar. And I like the circuits where it's all quali based.”

Proudly nicknamed "The Boy From Barbados," Zane cherishes his roots. He grew up racing at Bushy Park, and could drive the track with his eyes closed...

"I do think I’ve done probably 100,000 laps around there. Of course, the track that you grew up racing at, there never is a track that's better than that… When you grow up on a track, you just love it.”

Formula 1 Dreams

After a decent rookie season in F2, Zane has taken the 2024 championship by storm, starting with a double victory in Bahrain. He attributes this jump to a mental shift:

I think being with the team for two years helped, it's quite annoying because last year I under-performed so much, It looks like I've made a big step. Last year when I was on it, I was on the podium, I'm just doing a good job more often now. And I think, of course, doing it in your second season, it’s not as impressive as your first season. So I need to almost make up for it.”

Zane's ultimate goal is clear:

“To be an F1 driver. That's the dream.”

He's actively preparing with a reserve driver role at Stake Formula 1 Team and drove the Andretti Formula E car in Misano.

It's a bit different, of course, because firstly, I'm a reserve driver in Formula E and so I'm not actually preparing myself for a race weekend. But it was important to have a good test for the team, a good FP0, and Jake [Dennis] got two P2’s that weekend.”

With his busy schedule, Zane might need to adapt to unfamiliar cars quickly. However, his quiet confidence is reassuring:

“I believe [I could jump into an FE or F1 car], I have confidence in myself. Of course I keep improving as a driver each day I drive a car, but I do have confidence that any car I get into, I can do a good job.”

Despite Rodin's strong start, gearbox issues in Round 2 forced Zane to fight from behind, gaining impressive positions in both races. Australia was chaotic, but he secured a P3 finish. Pit stop issues hampered him in Imola's feature race, but he still podiumed in the sprint, maintaining his championship lead. He explains F2's chaotic nature:

“[The simulators] are completely different… In F1 and FE they're spending a lot more money on the simulators, so of course they're going to be at a very high level. So generally it feels very similar to the real car. In F2 it's more just getting references for the circuit. And then we don't do much setup on the simulators because it doesn't correlate to real life… So you have one practice session.”

Rising Star, Grounded Mentality

Zane's remarkable season has put him in the spotlight. He's a natural racer, adept at finding overtaking opportunities. He remains unfazed by F1 seat speculation:

“I laugh at it, I laugh at a lot of things I see on the internet. Obviously it's very nice to see that you're being respected a bit more. And more people are talking about you. But in the end, it doesn't drive the car for me. I said before the season that whoever has the most or the least hype already does nothing until you get to the season.” 

Zane's success stems from consistent driving and a grounded personality. He maintains his principles:

“I try to be a good human being as much as I can. A good driver. So, Yeah, I'm just trying to be myself.”

He avoids swearing on the radio, takes responsibility for mistakes, and acknowledges the team effort behind his wins. He's a refreshing talent with exceptional skills and a lack of ego.

Zane's upbringing in Barbados, known for its friendly people, undoubtedly shapes his personality. He also draws inspiration from Lewis Hamilton, known for his team play and positive relationships with engineers.

“I supported Lewis from the beginning. I remember in 2014, when he won the championship in Abu Dhabi, my entire family were there watching. And yeah, it made my year. So of course now I hope to be racing with him, which I never dreamed of. But if I get there quick enough then I will.

Us: You have to win that championship.

Zane: "That's the plan.”

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