Victory for Patrizi at Shanghai Grand Prix Michael Patrizi has won the final round of the Formula BMW Asia Championship today in Shanghai in spectacular style, capping a fantastically successful season for the young Australian driver. The win...
Victory for Patrizi at Shanghai Grand Prix
Michael Patrizi has won the final round of the Formula BMW Asia Championship today in Shanghai in spectacular style, capping a fantastically successful season for the young Australian driver.
The win gives Patrizi the honour of Rookie of the Year for Formula BMW Asia and also gives Patrizi second overall in the 2005 FBMW Asia Championship, the highest any Australian has ever finished in a Formula BMW Championship.
"To stand on the top step of the podium and hear the Australian anthem played in front of a massive Sunday Grand Prix crowd like was at Shanghai today is about the biggest moment a racing driver can possibly have," said Patrizi.
"To cap it off, some Australian fans in the front grandstand were holding a big Australian flag and singing along. I will never forget that for the rest of my life!"
Patrizi took his second race win of the season in Round 14 of the Formula BMW Asia Championship on Sunday, where Formula BMW Asia was supporting the Chinese F1 Grand Prix. Starting from second, the BMW Junior driver held second during the opening stages, before gaining the lead on the second lap.
Then, Patrizi and Hamed Al Fardan made contact on one of the Shanghai International Circuit's long straights, smashing Patrizi's front wing and robbing his car of vital downforce.
"After the damage, my car had absolutely no front downforce, so I just sat in second waiting to make my move late in the race," said Patrizi. "As we began the final lap I was preparing to make my move when Hamed ran wide at Turn 1 with a deflating tyre, allowing me to slip past. The win was a great way to end the season."
Patrizi was elated with the many congratulations he received from F1 paddock personalities for his remarkable efforts, attracting much attention by effectively driving most of the race with no front downforce. When his car reached parc ferme, it was found that what was left of Patrizi's front wing was hanging on by a single bolt.
The first race of the weekend on Saturday saw Patrizi place fourth in what was Round 13, after starting from third and playing a part in a race long slipstreaming battle for places second to fifth. Patrizi was as high as second, but eventually fell just short of a podium. Patrizi did, however, manage to defeat series leader Salman Al Khalifa, keeping the title alive up until the final round held the next day.
"Race 1 was a tough race and we struggled with the set-up that we used," said Patrizi. "To make it worse I was hit at the first corner and the car then developed a vibration and a huge amount of understeer, so considering the car I had, fourth was a good result."
Despite Patrizi's Round 14 win, 25-year-old Bahraini Salman Al Khalifa won the Formula BMW Asia title at Shanghai.
"It was always going to be tough to win this championship heading to the final round," said Patrizi. "Salman only had to finish in the top eight to wrap up the title in the end, but I did everything I could to try and stop him by winning the race. In the end, my bad luck early in the season didn't help, but I am happy with the way we have ended the season and second as well as top Rookie is a good reward."
"In the second half of the season we have been the car to beat and I'm happy to end the year this way at this great event."
Now that Patrizi has become the first Australian to win a Formula BMW Rookie title, the West Australian is evaluating whether he will race at the Formula BMW World Final at the Bahrain International Circuit in December. Patrizi is currently looking for funding to compete at the event, billed as the Formula BMW World Championship, where if he were to compete, he would be Australia's best chance at victory.