Mofaz Racing's Chris van der Drift is confident that he has recovered sufficiently from multiple injuries sustained in a terrifying Superleague Formula crash at Brands Hatch last August to be competitive in this year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
On top of breaking his right ankle in two places and badly lacerating his left index finger in the accident, van der Drift suffered two broken fingers, two cracked ribs, a cracked right wrist and a dislocated and cracked right shoulder. His Olympiacos car's last recorded speed was 157mph, before its data-logger was destroyed.
Van der Drift returned to racing in time for last year's Superleague finale at Navarra, and has now committed to a full FR3.5 season with Mofaz.
"I can't run, but I can do most other things now," said van der Drift. "There is some movement in my ankles that is still restricted. I hope to have some pins taken out at the end of the year. You're not born with pins in your body, so my feeling is that they're probably getting in the way.
"One finger, as you can see, is still a little squashed and flat. For my little finger and the one next to it I have a glove where I can put two fingers in rather than one. I did have problems with movement in my little finger but it is really coming back now."
In the aftermath of the accident, van der Drift's problems were compounded by an insurance mix up. The racing community lent its support with a karting fundraiser at Buckmore Park and an auction.
"Thanks to MIS I now have some medical insurance this year!" said van der Drift. "I have done some more karting on the Monday after this year's Malaysian Grand Prix with some young Petronas drivers I coach. [ISR FR3.5 racer and Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver] Daniel Ricciardo came along, too, so it was good fun, but other than that I have only done a handful of laps in an Auto GP car before today. This race should just be getting back into it, and then the season will start properly for me at Spa."
Fairuz Fauzy's Mofaz team has bolstered its technical staff over the winter. Former Carlin engineer and Formula Renault 3.5 team manager Harvey Spencer has moved to the team after a spell at Interwetten's Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup squad.