David Ostella completed his maiden season of open-wheel racing recently as he was among those in Mexico City to compete in the Formula BMW World Finals. Following a seven round, fifteen-race BMW Americas schedule, Ostella was optimistic heading to the final event yet found himself firmly entrenched in another learning experience.
"Practice was good as I was just getting to know the track and especially the chicane section as it led onto the big straight," he said in reviewing the initial stages of the World Final. "I was having some engine problems though, and wasn't too quick down the straight. We found it hard to chase the problem as the four sessions were so close to each other with only a ten-minute break. Still, having so much track time was very good."
It led to P17 in qualifying and a deep starting position for the first two of three heat races where the teenager from Maple, Ontario, was intent on correcting the situation. "I had a good start in the first heat and was already up a few positions early when I was taken out at the first corner," he said of his heat one effort. "I just got t-boned by someone. Nothing I could do at all." Racing for the second time on the same day, heat two became a run to the checker, but not in the fashion the team was looking for. "I was doing well in heat two but still had an engine problem going through the chicane and we weren't sure why," he said of the middle heat. "Still, I made up a few positions and ended up P14."
For the third and final heat the Formula BMW drivers started in the position where they finished the first heat - an unwelcome fact for Ostella after his heat one retirement. "I had to start at the back so I had work to do," the young Canadian recalled. "I ended up getting a few positions but was still having a problem in the chicane that was quite frustrating." Despite the continued letdown, Ostella crossed in a three-car pack, and just eleven seconds off the race leader. For the World Final he was once again deep in the field for a standing start, and after taking the green quickly realized little was going to change over 30 laps. "I was doing well off the start and through most of the track until I got to the chicane each time," he said. "I couldn't stay with the pack coming out of it, so I started to fall off." In the end he finished exactly where he began two days earlier from qualifying, P17. Yet despite the high and low points of a rookie season, Ostella maintained a very level head in looking back.
"In the end Formula BMW was a great experience for my career," he said of his first season in car racing. "I travelled to some great tracks and raced with other great championships, which was incredible - especially Formula 1. There were ups and downs, but nothing I can't handle. The season didn't go the way I hoped it would, but it was my first year in a car so I'm just going to absorb all the things I went through and apply what I have learned this year to the next."
Asked for final thoughts on 2008, Ostella had little hesitation in noting how it all became possible. "I have to thank Global Precast and Global Precast Motorsports for their continued support over the years," he said. "From karting to cars, my racing simply wouldn't be possible without them. My additional sponsors as well, who provide great products and services: Alpinestars for their support and great equipment, it's the best out there; RAW Integrated Ltd. for a great website and promotion; And of course my family and friends for the support they have shown me since I began a path into racing; Finally Mike Roth for his awesome coaching and guidance. He's been with me since I started in karts, and I can't thank him enough for all he has done."
The Formula BMW World Finals completed the season for David Ostella and Global Precast Motorsports. 2009 remains in the planning stage while Ostella resumes focus on his studies at St. Thomas of Villanova College.