Rapid at Silverstone
Back again so soon! I know! What a pleasant surprise. Back to back race weekends meant it has been a very busy two weeks. After our Sunday race at Circuit de-Spa Francorchamps in Belgium I drove home and got to experience the Eurotunnel. Eight hours after leaving I arrived back home, well my temporary English home in Towcester Northamptonshire. Although I was tired I didn’t have much time to recover as it was already time to prepare for our next round at Silverstone. By Tuesday I was back at the Hitech GP headquarters to practice on the team’s simulator with my engineer.
Meticulous, is the name of the game as the simulator gives us a good understanding of our strengths and weaknesses. Although the simulator may not quite be real life it is important to drive it with the correct techniques. A prime example of this was shown by my approach into the high speed Maggots and Becketts section of Silverstone. Initially on the simulator my approach was quite aggressive. I naturally liked attacking the sector and being quite aggressive on throttle release but as I practiced I realized being smooth was crucial. This held true in real life. Although being aggressive can be good, in this case smooth throttle release was more important as it allowed the car to settle better at high speeds. This is just one example of the simulator teaching me a lesson and I must say it was well worth the eight hours I spent on it that day.
Unlike Spa we were back to our normal schedule, Thursday and Friday being test days, and qualifying/racing kicking off Saturday. Despite it being a different weekend we picked up where we left off at Spa, we were rapid. Most of the two test days featured us comfortably within the top five, a very promising sight but bad luck would strike us once again. In qualifying our three car team was relegated to the back of the grid due to a technical infraction. A tiny metal rectangular guard was not fitted to the front of our cars’ floors which didn’t gain us any advantage but was protested by another team. It was massively frustrating for all of us, we had the pace but a tiny, $5.00, part prevented us from showing it in qualifying.
The reason for not having the part was explained well by racing magazine Formula Scout:
“Hitech experienced issues in obtaining the required Tatuus-manufactured part earlier in the year, the team had run without a skid block until now… GB3 switched to an updated Tatuus MSV-022 chassis this year and, with a record number entries, combined with Formula 4 series across Europe ordering a new car from Tatuus during a time of global supply chain issues meant demands on the Italian manufacturer have never been higher. That has caused problems in some instances for teams in getting parts.”
As our cars are heavily impacted by aerodynamic effects it meant it was going to be hard to make up places in the races. With this said, we did make up quite a lot of places and were one of the biggest movers of the weekend. In fact in race one, although we were in traffic, we demonstrated some great pace and actually were just as quick as the top three. In race two we got very unlucky; we got hit by a large piece of debris damaging our front wing, necessitating a pit stop. As I would find out two laps later, we had also picked up a punctured tire from the debris which subsequently exploded while I had the throttle pinned to the floor meaning we unfortunately couldn’t finish the race. In race three we made up some good positions and recovered all that was possible.
Although our luck has been extremely frustrating I am happy with our pace. As I said last week and I’ll say again, we have the car, we have the pace, we just need the luck. It will come to us even though it has been brutal. I like to think I’m just saving some luck for our final two rounds this September and October. It will come to us. I know it. We have the true pace and that is what matters. Until next time.