WILL BRATT RACING -- 2010 SEASON REVIEW
International racing driver Will Bratt continued to prove his credentials as a top line performer in the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2010 and the 22-year-old now has his sights set on moving further up the ladder towards his ultimate goal of Formula One.
Driving the bigger, more powerful Euroseries 3000 (now Auto GP) car in 2009 on his way to a double title triumph -- including the Italian Formula 3000 crown -- the Banbury racer stepped into F2 this year thanks to backing from Michelangelo Search, Whirlpool, Tangerois and Marrakech Grand Prix.
Adapting well to the Williams JPH1B car, he secured four podiums through the season with a best result of second place during the penultimate round in Valencia, Spain. Frustrated not to have been able to take a race victory in F2, Will nonetheless enjoyed the racing and the competition.
"There were plenty of opportunities for us to snatch a win or two this year but things just didn't quite go our way when we needed them to", he said, "The racing was close though all year and given our budget constraints, Formula 2 was the best option we could have gone for."
Will headed into the season aiming for nothing short of a title challenge but as the year progressed a number of difficulties prevented that from taking place -- mainly in qualifying but he was also shunted out of several races. Even so, he was a consistent threat at the front and with more in the way of good fortune a top three championship finish would most certainly have been achieved.
Starting the campaign at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit with sixth place in round one and fifth in round two, the guitar-playing racer took his maiden F2 podium in Marrakech, Morocco, with an excellent third place finish in the weekend's second encounter.
From there, the championship moved to Monza in Italy where Will added to his podium tally and also took a sensational fourth place in the first race of the weekend from 10th on the grid. However, an enforced retirement at Zolder, Belgium, and a driveshaft failure at the Aut0x00f3dromo Internacional do Algarve in southern Portugal damaged his progress.
The second UK round of the season, at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit, delivered two consistently strong races from Will with fourth place in the opener and his third podium of the campaign in race two. Disappointingly, the next two events in the Czech Republic and Germany weren't as successful but Will still maintained his top three championship challenge.
Going into the final event in Valencia, Will was determined to get back on the podium and he did just that with a season-best drive to second place -- tantalisingly just a second shy of the race win and a full 16 seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Such a fantastic result couldn't have come at a better time as it placed Will within five points of the coveted championship top three ahead of the final round. Unfortunately though, his hopes were hit when a difficult qualifying run was compounded by contact on the opening lap and so he had to settle for fifth in the driver standings.
Will added: "Overall the year was obviously a disappointment as I failed to achieve my own personal goals I had set out. However, I know there were times when I was unlucky and more than anything it has made me hungrier for success again in 2011."
Striving to continue his ascension up the international single-seater racing ladder, Will has identified the football-themed Superleague Formula as an attractive proposition for next year. Featuring 750bhp, V12-engined single-seater cars carrying the colours of some of the world's biggest football clubs, the championship is an intriguing and popular fusion of two of the globe's greatest sports.
One of the most desirable aspects of Superleague Formula for Will is the fact the cars are big and powerful, not dissimilar to the Euroseries 3000 racer he steered to championship success in 2009 and also fairly close to Formula One-style performance. As ever for the Oxon driver though, budget is key and he will be working hard in the coming weeks and months to secure the required funding.