Young F1 Hopeful Sadly Retires at the Age of 16 Succumbing to Mental Health Pressures

Published 06/23/2021, 8:59 AM EDT
201, Ten Brinke, Thomas(GBR),Ricky Flynn Motorsport(FA Kart / Vortex / Vega), Angerville, 21 April 2019. FIA Karting European Championship, © 2019, Alexandros Vernardis / The RaceBox.


Over the past few months, there has been a push towards considering the mental health of sporting athletes. Tennis star Naomi Osaka set the ball rolling at the French Open earlier this month.

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Since then, she has garnered a lot of support in different sporting disciplines. Now, the latest person to call time on his career is Formula Regional European Championship rookie and former F1 aspirant Thomas ten Brinke.

Ordinarily, this was not have been significant, however, there were interesting circumstances. As it turns out, ten Brink is only 16-years old. So he would have had a long and hopefully fruitful career. Sadly, it seems that that will not come to pass in the future.

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Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 17, 2021 General view of the Ferrari F1 racing cars ahead of the French Grand Prix REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

At the time of his sudden retirement, the ART Grand Prix driver was 13th in the FREC standings at the halfway stage. It is also worth mentioning that this was not a snap decision on ten Brinke’s part, The current season was his second in the series, where he finished third in Spanish Formula 4 last year.

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What did the driver say about his motorsport F1 career?

“Dear all. For the past few years, I’ve been extremely dedicated to racing. I’ve been go-karting for five years, became world champion and finally made my move to autosport.

“I loved the first races in F4, the racing, the competition and moved my way up to Formula Regional soon after,” ten Brinke said.

“During the weekends of FRECA, I started feeling a pressure I didn’t know before. How badly I would’ve wanted to compete, I struggled mentally to perform.

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“Together with the coaching of Giedo van der Garde and Ken de Meester, I tried to turn things around, but the past weekend in Zandvoort it became clear to me. There was no joy.”

The youngster admitted that racing cars is the dream of many petrol heads. Naturally, it makes the decision even more difficult, but he is sticking to his guns. This is why he is truly saddened to do this and halt his racing career with immediate effect.

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He is far from the only racer to do so because Moto3 driver Juanfran Guevara retired at the age of 22 in 2017. The Spaniard cited a greater emphasis on his education.

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Dhruv George

11766 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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