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Dan Ticktum has a smile on his face again.
It's late April and it's Monaco E-Prix is just two days away. Outside the exclusive Yacht Club de Monaco, where Formula E have just launched their upcoming Gen3 car, there's a roar of an engine. It comes from a grey Ferrari, parked on the road by the entrance. Inside is Ticktum, with a beaming grin across his face.
It was the look of a man in a happy place. Ticktum, still just 22 years old, is a self-confessed petrolhead. He's in Monaco to race electric cars, but there was a sense of satisfaction at owning a car that can growl, rather than screech.
Speaking earlier this year, Ticktum said he would be happy if he had two things in life: a nice car and a nice house. Without being privy to where he is living, we know he is at least halfway there. He hasn't been shy to show off the Ferrari on social media.
"Right now, I have no family, no responsibilities, Ticktum tells the Daily Star with a chuckle, as he realises he was spotted driving around the streets of Monte-Carlo a day earlier.
"I'm not earning massive, but I'm doing well, obviously. So I thought I'm going to get myself a nice car.
"It is a lot of money, but for me it is worth it."
Ticktum's move into Formula E over the winter represented a seismic career change for him. Not least because it has become his first-ever paid gig in motorsport. Ticktum had previously been living off an allowance from his parents, but now he can afford a few more luxuries in life.
To some, it might be a surprise he's even at this point. There's no hiding from the fact that the London-born racer has a chequered past.
In 2015, he was banned from motorsport for a year after overtaking during a safety car and crashing into one of his rivals.
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He was given a reprieve with spells in both the Red Bull and Williams F1 driver academies, but both of them were fairly short-lived, as ill-discipline ultimately cost him his dream of racing in F1.
But in Formula E, Ticktum has a new home. Yes, the cars will never roar like his Ferrari, but the weight of F1 expectancy is off his shoulders – and he believes he can now flourish.
"There is a lot less pressure," he says. "When you're off the F1 ladder, you can sit back and realise that this is a very privileged position to be in; you're paid to race around the world.
"Yes, it's not nice knowing you didn't quite make it to Formula One, but I have to say, being here is a great environment so far.
"Even if I don't get to Formula One and I just progress in this championship, I would be very, very happy, so that's the aim."
But does he have any regrets about his past? It's a tricky one. In his own words, he admits that he is considered a 'villain of motorsport' and he accepts that is all his own doing. But sport needs personalities and personality is something Ticktum has in abundance.
"To be honest, I sealed my fate when I got banned all of them years ago," he says.
"Since then, I have sort of been a villain of motorsport with every little thing I do. Another driver can say something controversial, but because it's me, it's 10 times worse. But I created that reputation for myself and for unfortunately which hasn't been great but it is what it is.
"I know how to keep a lid on it but it is part of who I am. In this category, you can be yourself a bit more. When you're on the F1 ladder you feel like you are constantly being watched and every little thing you do is picked up on.
"Hopefully here I'll be able to make a little more of a character for myself and I think Formula E allows you to.
"There are a lot of drivers on this grid who have personality and the fans want to see that, but the people who put the money in don't want too much of that for obvious reasons.
"Essentially, we all do have to be on our best behaviour all the time and that has got me into trouble in the past because… well, I wouldn't say I'm controversial, I just say the truth. That's all I do, I just want to be black and white."
When Ticktum departed Williams' academy last year, he made it clear that he thought eventually reaching F1 would be unobtainable.
There is yet to be a full-time Formula E driver make the move to F1 – though many would argue that reigning champion Nyck De Vries, among others, is unfortunate not to have made that move.
Ticktum already has a points finish to his name this season, despite racing for the NIO 333 team who came into the season as the grid's back-markers. He was unfortunate to leave Monaco without another points return.
Ticktum says: "There has never been a transition between Formula E and Formula One, but I think there should be. It might be quite a controversial statement – I'm good at those – but I think there should be, because I do feel that across the board, the level of driving in this field is consistently better than Formula One.
"I think you have some top, top drivers in Formula One, the big dogs, whatever you want to call them, who are unbelievable, but consistently here there are some bloody brilliant drivers, right up to the back few.
"I wouldn't even call them the worst, it just depends on how much luck they have in a race. Any driver here on this grid can win a race. It is a very, very tough grid in that respect.
"In terms of going to F1 from here, it hasn't really been done. I am still young, so I have that on my side, if I could have a really good reason in the next couple of years before I'm 25, maybe there's a chance. I didn't burn bridges with Helmut (Marko) at Red Bull, it was all left relatively amicably, so who knows."
- The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship’s most extensive calendar to date continues in Berlin this Saturday 14 May live on Channel 4 from 13:30 BST and on Sunday 15 May from 14:50 BST on Eurosport 2
- Formula E
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