Building dreams is like developing hobbies. But giving directions to your dreams is rare. The very first demand en route to the fulfillment of a dream are the circumstances which make us or break us. In such conditions, self confidence and passion can lead us to our dreams’ execution.

This is not to say that every dream should be pursued – only those you’re passionate about. Because passion should be the foundation of any long-lasting dream.

Today I am going to narrate my discussion with the very first Pakistani professional licensed racecar driver, Saad Ali. Saad’s passion and self confidence beat his circumstances. His belief in his dream saw him wave the green flag at international circuits.

Quitting from a business management program just after one semester, Saad Ali went on to pursue his dream. He belongs to Islamabad and is the only Pakistani to have become a Formula 3 driver. His courage and enthusiasm will surely lead him for Formula 1 very soon. 

IS: What motivated you to become a motorsports racer? Was it a hobby or passion?

SA: Everyone has a dream growing up. Mine has been driving racecars. It’s a matter of choice whether one lets it be a hobby or takes it up as a profession. I chose to be in it full-time. The drive definitely is my passion.

IS: When did you officially start racing and what was the venue?

SA: I started racing in 2006, right after I completed my Race License course. My first race was at Sakhir Formula 1 circuit, Bahrain.

IS: Such an expensive passion demands a robust financial budget. Who is giving you the financial support?

SA: Racing indeed is a very expensive sport. My parents have been supporting and pushing me to achieve more. I have been racing not just for myself but for Pakistan. I’ve been flying the flag, representing Pakistan in the international motorsports arena. It’s time my country supported me and motorsports as well.

IS: How would you categorize your achievements so far? And what is the reaction of your family on your career choice?

SA: I have participated in various championships, from karting to open-wheel racecars. But the moment I want to highlight is my very first race, where I went in with no expectation, no experience, but finished my first ever race on the podium. It was the boost that was needed to push further into the sport.

My family has always been supportive. They believe a person can do the best in the thing they are the most interested in.

IS: What’s the difference between Formula 1 and other Formula racing categories?

SA: Formula 1 is the pinnacle of open-wheel racing. That is where all the technological innovations are developed and are brought down to road cars, such as safety, engine technology, etc. Formula 1 is the highest step in the ladder of open-wheel racing. It is followed by GP2/F2 then GP3 and so on.

Every driver’s dream is Formula 1, and that’s exactly what has fueled my career. I am living my dream and pushing to get to the topmost step.

IS: Motor racing needs specific tracks. Where did you find such tracks for practice?

SA: There are no racing tracks in Pakistan. I had to go abroad every single time for my races. There is one functional track called 2F2F Karting track, in Islamabad. But that’s all there is. This is the only thing close to true motorsports in Pakistan

IS: What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you during a race?

SA: It was my second race in Bahrain. I was coming down the S to a hairpin. The track was wet. I touched a kerb just a little and it threw me off. The tail came out and I was in a 90 degree slide going sideways. It was quite a moment!

IS: Any funny memories so far from your car racing career?

SA: It was after finishing a practice session at Yas Marina F1 Circuit. I was racing a FG1000 that weekend. Coming into the pit lane, the fire-extinguisher fired. The whole car was soaked in fire retardant foam, including myself of course. It wasn’t funny then, but looking at the videos and pictures always puts a smile on my face.

IS: What do you think should be improved in everyday road driving?

SA: Situational awareness, knowing what’s going on around you, is fundamental for road safety.

IS: Have you ever regretted quitting your business management program?

SA: No, not at all. I had a dream, and only one life to live it. It has to be the best decision I have made thus far. As a promise to the parents, I completed my degree a couple of years after I started racing professionally.

IS: How do you see future of Motorsports in Pakistan?

SA: The future of motorsports in Pakistan needs to be created. There is a major need for a proper racing track. Everybody likes driving, and driving fast. Giving Pakistan a race track will fulfill their need for speed as well as majorly decrease traffic violations.

Pakistan and the organizations need to support racing, and bring this rare sport to new heights in whatever way they can.

IS: After becoming a professional race car driver, you must have become an inspiration for youngsters. What would you say to those who want to emulate you?

SA: The same thing I always tell all my fans: ‘Stop dreaming. Start doing it’. You have one life to live. Pursue your dreams. Fulfill your purpose in life.