Scuderia Coloni press release
Spa, Race 1: Fourth Place For Filippi
Continua Scuderia Coloni and Luca Filippi are keeping momentum, stretching the streak of good results they managed to clinch since they are together: in Spa, in the first race of the belgian weekend, the all-italian pairing took 4th place, getting 5 points that allowed Luca to get sixth place in the Drivers Standings and allowed the team to become the best placed Italian outfit in the Series.
The result arrived at the end of a thrilling race, made difficult by the weather in typical “Spa style”. The weather condition had a big influence on the race right from the start indeed, and not in a positive way for Scuderia Coloni. That was because, after the F1 Qualifying, the two sides of the starting grid presented very different grip levels: the right side, on the racing line, was dry, while the left side was still damp. Unluckily for Scuderia Coloni both Filippi and Herck, starting in P2 and P4 after yesterday's qualifying, lined-up on the damp side, and this seriously hampered their start allowing a lot of rivals to pass them.
Luca managed to lose only three places, closing first lap in P5, but Herck dropped to 15th position.
After the start, the first minutes were very tactical: with rain expected for the last third of the race all the drivers wanted to serve their mandatory pit-stop as late as possible, and in order to do that they had to take care of their tyres. Filippi made no exception and after putting some pressure on Ericsson in the first three laps, he then decided to keep his position and manage the gap for a bit in order to save his rubber.
The Italian driver started pushing again only when it was clear that rain was coming in a matter of minutes: from lap 10 to lap 13 he was the quickest driver on track, the only one to lap below the 2'02 mark and doing so he got quickly behind Ericsson and started putting pressure on him. The strategy paid off because the iSport driver made a mistake braking for the Bus Stop chicane, allowing Luca to get on his side and then pass him braking for the La Source hairpin. After that Filippi closed the gap on third placed Grosjean, but rain came and the drivers headed to the pits to take on wet tyres.
Given the pace showed in the wet qualifying the team had some very good feelings for the remaining laps, but fate played against again. Rain intensified and after two crashes, one quite big, Race Direction was forced to deploy the Safety-Car, leaving it on track for ten laps. It came back in the pits with just one lap to go, too little time to give Filippi a real chance of attacking Grosjean.
Also Herck was struck by bad luck: after the difficult start he was coping well with a midfield fight with Leimer, Gutierrez and Gonzalez, but when rain started falling harder the sudden drop of the temperatures caused his engine to enter in “Safety” mode, a special ECU settings that cuts the power to avoid damage when the engine is running outside the right temperature range. This forced Micheal to complete a really slow lap, dropping him to P16”.
Paolo Coloni: “We are happy to be up there again, but today our potential was much better than this and we were really unlucky. A situation like this, with such a different grip between the two lanes of the grid, I've never seen it before and it was a big disadvantage for us. Then the 10 laps of Safety-Car stopped Luca from showing his pace on the wet, spoiling our race again. It's a pity, we could have fought for the win”.
Luca Filippi: “Yesterday I was really happy of my 2nd place in qualifying but if I knew that it would have meant starting on the damp I would have preferred 3rd place! Jokes aside, the grip differential between the two sides of the grid was huge, and losing just three places was an achievement, trust me. From then on I raced with a lot of confidence, the car was so quick that in the first laps I cared just about the tyres. Then when I attacked Ericsson I managed to pass immediately, but rain and that long Safety-Car period meant that the race was over. It was a pity because on the wet I was much quicker than Grosjean and podium was in my reach. On that last lap I tried to get close to him and I catched him in Blanchimont, but on the corner exit there was a wall of sprayed water, I couldn't see anything and I decided not to risk”.
Michael Herck: “It was a very difficult race, and that odd damp start was the decider in the end. I tried not to loose too much ground but the wheels started spinning and before I got the grip back I had already been passed by too many people. Race was over already there, and it was even worse when the engine went in Safety mode. Anyway, we will try to get a better result tomorrow”.