While DAMS team knew the circuit from Formula Renault 3.5, it was a new challenge in GP2.
The team from Le Mans' purple patch has come to an end. On the Austrian track in the foothills of the Styrian mountains DAMS failed to score a podium finish over the two days - a first in 2014! Nonetheless, Jolyon Palmer bagged a total of 14 points (10 and 4), and still has a big lead in the drivers' championship, and DAMS is also in front in the teams' ratings.
While the team knew the circuit from Formula Renault 3.5, it was a new challenge in GP2. Everybody was in the same boat, but for once DAMS wasn't as quick as its rivals to react, in particular in relation to less tyre degradation than expected: a glitch which appeared in free practice with Palmer tenth and Stéphane Richelmi twelfth. In qualifying Palmer set a stunning second-quickest time, but the Monegasque's tenth place on the grid boded ill for the race.
This was confirmed and the situation wasn't helped by Palmer fluffing his starts. On both occasions he fought back and his pugnacity helped him to score precious points. Richelmi, who was already handicapped by his average qualifying performance, got stuck behind Ellinas; he was unable to take advantage of an out of sync strategy in the first heat and didn't score any points. In the sprint race he fought back but failed to make it into the top 8.
DAMS is going to regroup its forces for the next round on the legendary Silverstone circuit in England. Obliviously Palmer will be very motivated in front of his home crowd and his family. The British track is one of the quickest on the calendar with very fast curves and the magic Copse-Beckett's one-two. It requires great care in fine-tuning the setups. It's also advisable to keep an eye on the sky as rain can often be a decisive factor in the outcome.
François Sicard, Managing Director: "Obliviously we're disappointed. We were unable to find the right answers in Austria, in particular in terms of strategy in the first race. Despite that, we're still in the lead in the two championships helped by the fact that our main rivals took points off one another. We have to get our title challenge back on the rails at Silverstone as our lead's been cut, and also because we like the taste of the podium too much. After this low-key weekend, our motivation will be even stronger."
Jolyon Palmer: "Even if we weren't beyond reproach in our two races I think that we could maybe have done a bit better this weekend. My problems at the start cost me dearly. This being said I still have a good lead in the championship and I'm counting on increasing it at Silverstone. Stéphane won his home race so it's up to me to do the same in England."
Stephane Richelmi: "After the champagne in Monaco, a cold shower in Austria. A weekend to forget. At the same time we'll have to learn from it so as not to find ourselves in the same situation at Silverstone. There, I'll have to get back into the top five on the grid and I know I can do it. This team is so strong that we'll bounce back for sure."