Tech 1 Racing leads both championships The 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Championship got off to an ideal start on the Motorland Aragon circuit for Tech 1 Racing, as the Toulouse-based squad left Spain leading the teams' championship, ...
Tech 1 Racing leads both championships
The 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Championship got off to an ideal start on the Motorland Aragon circuit for Tech 1 Racing, as the Toulouse-based squad left Spain leading the teams' championship, while Daniel Ricciardo is in first place in the drivers' ratings.
Tech 1 Racing has tackled the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 season with a clear aim in mind - reconqueur the teams' and drivers' titles. To achieve this, the outfit from Toulouse is counting on two drivers from the Red Bull Junior Team, Brendon Hartley and Daniel Ricciardo. In addition to their Formula Renault 3.5 Series programme, they also fill the role of Red Bull Racing F1 reserve drivers on an alternating basis.
Tech 1 Racing did a lot of development work on its two cars during the winter. "We spent this winter hard at work, even though Daniel's training was disrupted by his hand injury," said Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. "Brendon also missed part of the Jerez test session as he was on duty at the first grand prix of the season. To sum up, we lacked running time in relation to our rivals. For example, we didn't do any race simulations or starts with Daniel!"
On Friday, the two-and-a-half hour collective test session went off without a hitch for Tech 1 Racing as Ricciardo set the fastest time and Hartley the twelfth. "This collective session gave everybody's confidence a boost beginning with Daniel, which is reassuring. His job was just to run in a relaxed frame of mind to get back his feel again, while we worked on the race with Brendon."
On Saturday morning it was raining. So the team had to start from scratch and prepare the two cars for the wet conditions. All the drivers in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series improved their times on a regular basis, and the last lap decided the grid line-up. Ricciardo set pole just before the red flag was hung out after another car crashed. But this interruption cost Hartley dear as the New Zealander had just begun his flying lap, and he had to lift off. He finally qualified tenth.
The first race began in wet conditions which caught out Ricciardo who was passed by the experienced Mikhail Aleshin. The Australian tried to overtake the Russian in very tricky grip conditions, and made a small mistake that dropped him back to third where he finished. So the season began with a podium for the driver from Perth. "The conditions were really difficult for the first race of the season," analysed Simon Abadie. "Not only did the rain make the track very slippery, but also the drivers couldn't see anything. Daniel was very steady; he finished the race scoring good points, which will be very useful later on in the season."
Hartley who started from tenth place fought his way up to sixth. "Brendon drove a great race. He made an impact and overtook quite a few drivers, and he also scored points that are important for him and for the team."
The second qualifying session on Sunday morning was a very tricky one. The track was drying out so everybody knew that the final lap would be decisive. Daniel judged the conditions perfectly, and thanks to his final flyer he bagged his second consecutive pole position of the weekend. Brendon was less fortunate as he got caught up in traffic and could do no better than thirteenth.
Ricciardo was again taken by surprise by his rivals at the start of the race, and the Australian was lying third at the end of lap 1. In the second race a pit stop is obligatory to change two tyres. After stringing together a series of quick laps, Daniel and Brendon came in around half distance. "Our two drivers' race pace was very good. Daniel finished second after Jan Charouz was disqualified and Brendon sixth. They scored points in both races, showed a good turn of speed, drove intelligently and proved that our cars are well set up. Our only regret is that we didn't win this weekend, especially as we were the quickest! I'd like to take advantage of this to congratulate the whole team for the speed with which they adapted the set-ups to the changing weather conditions. Thus, despite the sudden weather changes, we were quick all weekend.
"Daniel's leading the drivers' championship, Brendon is fifth and we're first in the teams' classification. It's Tech 1 Racing's best-ever start to the season, and this really motivates everybody! There are still a few more adjustments to be made between now and the next round on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, but we've got everything it takes to do a good job," summed up Abadie.
Rendezvous at Spa in a few days' time on a circuit that really sorts the men from the boys, which will play an important role in the championship. In Belgium, Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley are determined to score their first victories of the season for Tech 1 Racing.
-source: tech 1 racing