The Bahrain Feature Race does not go as planned for Racing Engineering

The Bahrain Feature Race does not go as planned for Racing Engineering

15.04.2017: It was very hot again today at the Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain for the Feature Race at the opening round of the 2017 FIA F2 Championship

It was very hot again today at the Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain for the Feature Race at the opening round of the 2017 FIA F2 Championship with air and track temperatures of 32° and 44° degrees respectively for the thirty-two lap race.



Following yesterday’s disappointing Qualifying the two Racing Engineering drivers, Louis Delétraz and Gustav Malja, had finished in 14th and 15th positions but a post-session penalty dropped Gustav to 17th and both men would have to work hard to get into the point scoring places.



Louis was starting the race on the Pirelli P Zero White medium compound tyre while Gustav was using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound.



Gustav made a good start from 17th place gaining two positions to finish the opening lap in 15th and the young Swede was 1.5 seconds behind Boschung and 2.6 seconds ahead of Jeffri.


The gaps remained constant for the next few laps but by lap eight the Racing Engineering car had lost two places to Coletti and Canamasas as his soft tyres began to suffer in the heat and on lap ten he took his mandatory pitstop to switch to the White medium compound Pirellis resuming in 19th.



By lap fourteen Gustav had moved up to 17th and he was setting personal fastest laps as he battled to close the gap to Canamasas. Four laps later and Gustav had moved up to 12th as the cars ahead took their pitstops and he was still chasing the Trident car of Canamasas and both men were very closely matched as the two cars ran side-by-side.



On lap twenty-two the Racing Engineering car began to drop back again to 15th place but he ! was now involved in a tense battle with Coletti until the Campos car took its pitstop and he was now having to watch his mirrors as Cecotto was lapping faster and on lap twenty-six he fell behind the Rapax car to lie 16th and with three laps to go Gelael demoted Gustav to 17th.



Coletti, who had fresh tyres after a second pitstop, was now closing in on the Spanish car and with just one lap left the Racing Engineering car dropped to 18th



As the lights went off at the start Louis unfortunately stalled and although the Racing Engineering team were able to restart the car the young Swiss driver had lost a lot of time and he was in 20th position, with a big gap to the next car.



On lap sixteen, the halfway point in the race, Louis was up to 19th and his next target was Gelael but on lap nineteen he was passed by Jeffri and, as he took his pitstop, he dropped back to 20th.



Despite his best efforts, setting some very competitive lap times during the whole race, Louis was unable to gain any positions because of his opening lap problem and he finished in 20th.



This was not the start to the new season that the Racing Engineering team were looking for and with Gustav and Louis starting at the back of the field for tomorrow’s Sprint Race it will be very hard for either man to score any points.



  
Sebastien Viger, Technical Director:



"We have had a kind of nightmare weekend so far. We decided to send our drivers into the race on two different strategies as we were quite far back on the grid. Unfortunately, Louis stalled at the start, so his race was pretty much over from this moment on.



It’s a shame as he showed a really good pace and was constantly matching the lap times of the front runners. This pace should and normally would have allowed him to finish in the points.



As for Gustav, the race was a bit bumpier as his strategy turned out to not be the quickest. At the beginning of the race he stayed behind Boschung for too long, which damaged his tyres. This meant that we had to pit earlier than expected and from there on we simply had to try to hang on to it, stay on track ! and finish the race.



 We didn’t have any further tyres to do another pit stop as one set was damaged in yesterday’s crash. Overall it has been a very disappointing weekend so far. We are not used to be so far down on the timing sheets and we have to bounce back as soon as possible.”
 


Louis Delétraz:



"After yesterday we knew we needed to do something, apply a strategy the others didn’t. We took the gamble to start on options, which felt OK for a long time, but I could not really get past people the way I wanted.



The problem was that we never got free air and without that our strategy could not work. The game plan was to do a good stint without having to fight and we, unfortunately, could not do that.



It’s a real shame and resulted in a really bad race for us and there is nothing more to say about it. But we will not give up and we will work hard to get back to where we belong.”
 



Gustav Malja:


"After yesterday we knew we needed to do something, apply a strategy the others didn’t. We took the gamble to start on options, which felt OK for a long time, but I could not really get past people the way I wanted.



The problem was that we never got free air and without that our strategy could not work. The game plan was to do a good stint without having to fight and we, unfortunately, could not do that.



It’s a real shame and resulted in a really bad race for us and there is nothing more to say about it. But we will not give up and work hard to get back to where we belong.”

 


- Ines Koschutnig,  photos FIA F2 Championship

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15.04.2017 / MaP

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