Interview with Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director Racing Engineering

Interview with Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director Racing Engineering

23.07.2014: The seventh round of the 2014 GP2 Series will take place this weekend

The seventh round of the 2014 GP2 Series will take place this weekend just seven days  after the races in Germany.

The recent race weekends have shown that the Racing Engineering pairing of Stefano Coletti and Raffaele Marciello are potential victors at every circuit and both men will be looking to add to their points tally at the Hungaroring.

Below Thomas Couyotopoulo, Sporting Director of Racing Engineering, looks back at recent races and forward to racing in Hungary:

Thomas, the last three rounds were quite positive for Racing Engineering and a lot of points were scored. The team was able to gain positions in the team standings and for both drivers. Can you talk us through these last rounds from your perspective?

It is positive that we scored good points during the last events to stay in the fight for the top 3 in the championships but it is very frustrating to not be able to include the points that Raffaele deserved during the last two events. Austria was a good weekend for both cars, and it is always great to have both two drivers on the podium together.

Silverstone saw Lello taking his first GP2 pole position but his weekend was ruined by a gearbox component failure. Stefano drove two solid races in England and achieved a lot of points. In Hockenheim, tyre strategy was very important for both races and I think we made good choices as both drivers were going for the podium in both races.

 Lello suffered from a powertrain problem (oil pressure parameter due to the heat in race 1 and an electronic issue in race 2) which destroyed both his races, but Stefano grabbed a great and well-deserved win on Sunday, following his fourth position on Saturday.

With Stefano consistently finishing races in the top spots and finally taking his first win in Germany, do you think we will also see him on the podium during the subsequent rounds?

As always the fight for the top spots is very intense and tight and in the qualifying session and the races both our drivers have been able to run with the best during the recent events so we obviously plan to have them fighting for the podium again. Stefano is experienced and applies a mature approach, which guarantees scoring points every event.

Lello on the other hand is showing an extremely good pace and excellent driving skills. What has kept him from stepping on the podium more than twice this season so far?

Lello has shown an impressive pace during the recent events, even in difficult conditions but the power-train of his car suffered several technical issues, which are not really down to the team and this has affected his results a lot. Technical investigations to analyse what happened and prevent any repeat in the future are being done.

The teams travel from Germany straight to Hungary for the next round of GP2. What are the main differences between these two tracks and what are the main characteristics of the Hungaroring?

Hockenheimring and Hungaroring are very different circuits. Hockenheim has long straights and several "stop and go" corners while Hungaroring is overall a slower circuit, where you have to "flow" from corner to corner, with little time for the drivers and tyres to relax in between!

The tyre compounds for both events are the same, Pirelli Medium & Soft, but the compromises in terms of car balance and set-up are different, for example regarding the downforce level, which is much higher in Hungary.

With Stefano finishing all of the last 6 races within the top 4 and Lello having made his first podium finishes and taking pole, what are the expectations for the races in Hungary?

We are happy to see Stefano always in the top positions now. Lello, despite being a rookie in the championship, has now demonstrated he is strong enough to be fighting for the podium and victory.

Hungaroring is a new circuit for him but we still have high expectations for both drivers and we will work hard with them to collect more trophies!

- Ines Koschutnig, photo


23.07.2014 / MaP

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