Nicknamed the “Bulgarian Lion”, Nikola Tsolov has been a fierce competitor since his karting days. Now 16 years old and in his second year with the Alpine Academy, Nikola has made the step up to FIA Formula 3 this season, racing for ART Grand Prix. Although playful and relaxed when the helmet is off, he is laser focused once on track.
We caught up with Nikola during his last visit to the BWT Alpine F1 Team base in Enstone.. Here are nine things you didn’t know about no. 9:
1. One recommendation to anyone visiting Spain? If you go to Spain, you have to go to both the north and the south to get the full picture. If you go to the south, it is hotter and the beaches are better, and in the north, it is colder and reminds me a bit of Belgium. They’re both amazing but I prefer the south because the weather!
2. Something on your bucket list? Jumping from an airplane and going around the world with friends and exploring. I’d also love to go on an off-grid trip in a caravan through Europe.
3. What do you miss most about home when you’re not there? My friends for sure and hanging out with them in Bulgaria, getting to live a more normal life. My social life is completely different now, I love it but it’s very different and I miss just hanging around sometimes.
4. You can invite three people to dinner, alive or dead - who are you inviting? Ayrton Senna, Connor McGregor, and Cillian Murphy. It would be so interesting to see them interact with each other.
5. If you could spend the day with anyone in the world, who would it be and where would you spend it? I would go to Hawaii with my best mates. I’d love to stay in a bungalow, do some surfing. Just switch off, go off the grid for a while and enjoy it.
6. Favourite cheat meal? McDonald’s! I get a Big Mac with fries; my drink depends on the time - I usually get a Coca-Cola during the day and Fanta at night because it has no caffeine in it.
7. What new city do you want to race in? I would love to race in the streets of my home city in Sofia, Bulgaria, it would be such a special race!
8. Can you cook, and if so what’s your signature dish? I can cook pasta and eggs, and a Bulgarian dish called Burkani Chushki that is basically mixed peppers and eggs.
9. How many languages can you speak? I can speak Bulgarian, English, and Spanish. I can understand Italian fully and can speak maybe a little bit and I can understand a little bit of Portuguese but not much.
Look out for Nikola’s no. 9 car in Round 4 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.