x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

At home near the Grand Prix track

The F1 test driver Fairuz Fauzy sees his countryside cottage as a place to relax within earshot of the Brtish Grand Prix's Silverstone Circuit.

Fairuz Fauzy's cottage in Northamptonshire, England, is home to a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggra LP560-4 and a 2010 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500.
Fairuz Fauzy's cottage in Northamptonshire, England, is home to a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggra LP560-4 and a 2010 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500.

For the past decade, all Fairuz Fauzy has ever wanted is to be a Formula One driver.

The current reserve and test driver for Lotus Racing, he can be seen in action on the practice days before every Formula One Grand Prix, although he has yet to make the step up to a full-time race drive.

His passion for motorsport permeates the stone farmhouse cottage in the English countryside that he shares with his wife, Dara, and their three-year-old son, Feroz.

The location alone says it all: it's a mere stone's throw from Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix. He lives close enough to the circuit to amble there and, during the Grand Prix weekend, the fields surrounding his house are filled with thousands of campers, also keen to avoid the notorious traffic.

Although most of his neighbours complain about the noise from the track, Fauzy relishes it. "I could live in London and all I'd hear would be police cars, buses and traffic all the time," he says. "Here I can hear cars racing. It's what I love and what I want to be near."

 

Motoring is unsurprisingly the main feature of the 28-year-old Malaysian's family home, which is tucked away at the end of a country road and surrounded by trees. Locked away in his almost spotless workshop is an array of state-of-the-art cars - among them an orange Lamborghini LP560-4, this year's Ford Shelby Mustang in blue with double white stripes running over the top, a Cadillac Escalade and a Nissan GT-R Nürburgring.

"The Lamborghini's to be sold on," explains Fairuz, who runs his own import-export car business.

Inside the main house, which dates to the early 19th century, the indicators of his racing passion are less ostentatious, apart from five racing helmets in a bookcase in a sitting room that doubles as a playroom for his son, and some silverware in his trophy cabinet.

And for Fairuz, who, because of his global racing demands, is at home for only three months of the year, that's intentional.

"For me, home is not [about] racing but just being relaxed and spending time with the family," he explains from the comfort a leather armchair in his main sitting room. "I spend more time in hotels - admittedly luxury hotels - than I do at home so I try to make the most of it when I'm here."

Fauzy has lived here for two-and-a-half years but has had his eye on the place since 2002, when he first approached the owner about selling.

As well as the two sitting rooms on the ground floor there is a country-style kitchen with wooden cabinets, a terracotta-tiled floor and sturdy wooden table for family meals. In the build-up to lunch it is permeated with the delicious smells of the family's Malaysian cuisine.

The kitchen overlooks a courtyard, on the opposite side of which lies the workshop and an office, from which Fauzy originally ran his business. Beside the driveway is a garage with space to park three of his cars and guest quarters above.

While the house is cosy and welcoming, as it stands Fauzy is unhappy with it as a family home and has ambitious plans to overhaul it.

"What I'm going for is a green country home while keeping a bit of traditional English style," he says.

At the heart of his renovation will be bringing more light into the interior. He plans to knock out the entire front of the house, moving it forward two metres and creating a glass façade. In addition, he hopes to install solar panels and a wind turbine with the aim of taking the house off the national power grid.

He also has ambitions for the interior: "We've not changed much of it yet, simply because of timing. I want to change all the carpets and the sofas, which are the same ones left by the previous owners."

"Next year is when I hope to change everything," he adds. "We've not changed enough. Where the workshop and office is counts as a commercial property and [while] the temptation is to convert it into more rooms, keeping that commercial aspect in an area like this will give it a strong selling point in the future."

Not that Fauzy has plans to uproot his family any time soon. In fact, the only thing that would see them call in the removal vans is if he fails with his F1 ambitions.

"F1 is where I want to be and England is also where I want to be but maybe one day I'll end up racing in America and we'll move there," he says. "I just don't know. I can't see into the future."