The next few weeks promise to be crucial in Adam Carroll’s future.
Much of the hype surrounding his victory for Team Ireland in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport has receded and his name has dropped out of the headlines.
Behind the scenes, however, moves are being made which may see the 26-year-old from Portadown graduate to Formula One next season.
Back in Belfast to unveil the new Ferrari California at the Charles Hurst dealership on Boucher Road, Carroll confessed he was more optimistic than ever before that his F1 dream may finally be realised.
Fuelling his optimism is the raft of changes being planned for F1, notably the ‘budget cap’ which has encouraged up to seven new teams to submit entries for next season ahead of the May 28 deadline.
“No one knows how serious or genuine these new teams are — and we won’t know until the FIA meeting on June 12 — but there is every reason to believe that there will be three new teams on the grid next season,” he said.
“And I would like to think I would be in contention for a place in at least one of them.”
In fact, he knows he is on the list of possible drivers for several of the new teams and with his management team, has already had preliminary discussions.
“Nothing can be done until it is decided which teams will get places next season,” said Carroll.
“It means I’m in limbo for the next few weeks until things are sorted out. We do have a plan, but lots of things have to happen before it can come into play.
“In the meantime we just have to wait and see how things pan out,but I have to say I’m more optimistic than I’ve been for a long time. I really do believe I’ll be in F1 next season.”
Carroll, of course, has been here before. He had his toe in the F1 door when he was called up to be part of the BAR-Honda young driver development plan in 2006, but it didn’t work out and despite, proving over and over again, that he is the equal of any of the fresh faces who have graduated to F1 — Hamilton, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Glock, etc — lack of funding has stood in his way.
Given the chance to race in A1GP by fellow Ulsterman Mark Gallagher’s Team Ireland, he emerged as the star name of the series and won the World Cup of Motorsport with emphatic victories in the final two races at Brands Hatch last month.
Suddenly Carroll was hot again and with plans in place to expand F1 from a 20-car grid to 26, doors have been opening for him.
He’s being linked, naturally, with Lola which is owned by Irishman Martin Birrane, but it was David Richards, who fronts the proposed Prodrive entry, who originally recruited Carroll to the Honda young driver programme.
“But,” he said, “until the June 12 meeting reveals which teams will be accepted for next season, I just have to be patient.”