IFM: Aggressive security agency stopped ISR testing

ISR team entered new Formula Master season at first official testing session in Valencia. On Sunday, the first testing day, ISR team's drivers Erik Janis and Filip Salaquarda achieved promising results. However during the second day, they weren't...

ISR team entered new Formula Master season at first official testing session in Valencia. On Sunday, the first testing day, ISR team's drivers Erik Janis and Filip Salaquarda achieved promising results. However during the second day, they weren't able to continue in testing because of the incident with the circuit's security agency. During this action one of the agency members attacked Filip Salaguarda.

In Valencia Formula Master competitors tested brand new car's specification for 2009 season with innovated engines, improved rear wing, brakes, exhaust system, new ECU and new engine covers.

Erik Janis already competed in two Formula Master events in 2007 but he accustomed well and quickly to his new monopost and also the fierce competition. Erik posted second fastest lap (1:27.234 min) on Sunday. "At Valencia circuit I tested Formula 3 car last year, so I had an advantage of some experience and I could solely concentrate on learning the new car. Formula Master car has a little bit more power than Formula 3 and gear-shift bar under the wheel. There are also differences in the grip -- although Formula Master monopost has less grip, driving is easier than driving Formula 3 car. The cooperation with my engineer and team was brilliant. I suppose, we are in a good condition prior to the season and firmly believe that together with Filip we will fight for the top positions," says Erik Janis.

Filip Salaquarda worked hard on a set-up during Sunday and steadily improved his times. He finnished 7th (1:27:692 min) in the overall classification on Sunday. "It was our first test session in this season. We began with the basic set-up which we were gradually improving. This-year's car is in comparision with the previous one more stable in fast corners and also has more power. This is mainly caused by a new exhaust system and ECU. I believe, we could be faster 1 or 1.5 second per lap. Both our engineers did an excellent job. Furthermore I would like to appreciate Erik's results. He was so fast and got used to the new car very quickly. I suppose , we can fight for podium's results," says Filip Salaquarda.

"We tried new things in set-up and we have very good feeling after a Sunday testing. We achieved solid results, even if we used one tyre set less than other teams did. Erik got used to the new car really quickly and also Filip gained good results, although he struggled with bad tyre pressure in the afternoon. Without that, he could have achieved the same results as Erik did. Obviously we were unhappy about the incident which occurred and did not allow us to tak part in Monday testing session. It is a shame as we were about to use a new ECU map and moreover all other drivers were faster on Monday," says team director Igor Salaquarda.

The testing should have continued on Monday, but instead of that, ISR team had to solve an incident which occurred. Erik Janis and Filip Salaquarda were attacked by members of security agency, when they were entering a paddock. "We entered the circuit and were interested in some cars on the huge car parking near the front-gate. We drove there to have a look. Then I did a boyishness, when I spun round using the hand-brake. Neverthless there was nobody around and I drove slowly, about 35km per hour," explains Filip Salaquarda.

But this small imprudence had far-reaching consequences, because of an unreasonable reaction of the circuit's security agency members. Security men's car immediately rushed out against the Czech drivers' car and chased them to the paddock. Later on one of them physically attacked Filip Salaquarda. Both Czech pilots hid in a team's motorhome and tried to call the team boss, who was in the boxes. "We were working on the cars, so I couldn't hear that my phone was ringing," explains the team principal Igor Salaquarda. "Few minutek later, our guys left the motorhome, but that security man was waiting outside together with his colleague who was even armed with a cudgel. These men tried to ban our pilots to enter the boxes of our team and on moreover Filip was even attacked by these men. One of them held Filip and the other beat him with a cudgel. Eventually Filip managed to escape, but one of the security men cought him up near the paddock and he beat him at full power to the head."

"That was an enormous hit, which broke my head. There was a lot of blood all around. Doctors did five sutures on my head and diagnosed also the concussion of the brain. I have also back ache," adds Filip.

"I admire our drivers for not fighting with aggressors, although members of a security agency didn't have any corporate label or ID card. All pilots have to obbey the FIA rules in a circuit area. Otherwise they could lose their licences. Filip and Erik were aware of it and acted in a right way," appreciates the action of both pilots Igor Salaquarda. "I would like to appreciate the approach of Formula Master organisers, when solving the incident. However I am strongly dissapointed with the security guard behaviour. It wasn't the first case like this, which happened at Valencia circuit. It can't happen any more in the future. Perhaps our guys made a mistake and should be punnished for this, but definitely not that way! Adequate solution should have been, if security members have had brought them to me, as to the team boss, and explained me, what happened and possibly received a finantial penalty. But this action is totally unbelievable!"

"We can't pass it over in silence. We insist on investigating this. Unfortunately, I have had recently experienced similar incident. We would like to thank to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Czech consul in Spain, who helped us. It would be so much complicated without theirs help," adds Antonin Charouz, manager of Erik Janis.

Filip Salaquarda had to be treated in a hospital. Not even Erik Janis could continue in testing. "I was so shocked that I couldn't keep on going. So we made a team decision not to continue in testing," explained Erik.

Next Formula Master official testing session will be held in two weeks in Imola, Italy.

-credit: erik-janis.cz

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Erik Janis , Antonin Charouz , Filip Salaquarda