Race 1 Grid Position: 14 Result: - Race 2 Grid Position: 22 Result: 18 Philipp is back into his race rhythm. Two weeks ago, Hockenheim was the venue for his return to Formula BMW Europe; in Hungary, he continued his re-acclimatisation on an...
Grid Position: 14
Grid Position: 22
Philipp is back into his race rhythm. Two weeks ago, Hockenheim was the venue for his return to Formula BMW Europe; in Hungary, he continued his re-acclimatisation on an unfamiliar circuit. Unfortunately, he had to contend with obstacles of a varied nature, ranging from technical problems to other vehicles.
What went right and what went wrong?
A retirement and a P18 don't exactly resemble a victory parade, yet Philipp is confident that the trend from Hockenheim is still upwards. He feels a lot more comfortable now in his old/new 'tool for the job' and had high hopes for the first race.
The problems began as early as Friday. Instead of putting in the maximum number of laps in free practice to familiarise himself with the vagaries of the difficult Hungaroring circuit, he managed to complete only nine. The engine kept cutting out amidst other technical problems. Prospects for qualifying were looking fairly dim.
"P5 on the first set of tyres was OK in the circumstances," says Philipp. "Unfortunately, I was only able to drive one flying lap on the second set of tyres." That turned out to be too little, because the tyres only give top performance on the second fast lap. So the best that could be managed was 14th on the grid in the first race and 22nd in the second.
What caused the retirement?
Mathijs Harkema created quite a stir right at the start when he shunted several other drivers out of the race, including Philipp. "It was only when I hit the brakes for the next corner that I noticed my rear wing was hanging off." Having been forced to drop out after only one lap, he was having some difficulty keeping his emotions in check: "The only direction I was going in was forwards. I saw in the GP2 race how you can launch an attack from the outside on the first corner. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try it."
In the second race, starting from 22nd made matters even worse, particularly on the Hungaroring where it is notoriously difficult to mount any sort of passing manoeuvre. "I kept pushing and even went off track once going through the chicane, but for lap after lap, I couldn't make any progress." Because he was stuck in traffic, Philipp wasn't able to clock any fast lap times either. "I was losing too much downforce on the fast corners." He nonetheless managed to move four places up the field to finish 18th -- no mean feat considering the special nature of the Budapest circuit.