2010, a vintage season for Tech 1 Racing
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series finished last weekend in Barcelona with Tech 1 Racing's third teams' title. The drivers' title was decided three laps from the end of the last race of the year. Daniel Ricciardo finished in the runner-up spot, but the Australian has proved his skills this season, and has marked the whole Tech 1 Racing squad by his exceptional personality, his speed and his professionalism.
Motor sport is full of uncertainty and twists and some second places have an even bigger impact than victories. This is what the Tech 1 Racing team members can say after a thrilling final.
The weekend got off to a great start for the French team on Friday in Barcelona in the collective test session, in which Daniel Ricciardo prepared for this decisive rendezvous meticulously. The Australian set the quickest time in the second session and tackled qualifying on Saturday morning in a confident frame of mind. Jean-Eric Vergne was retained in England by Red Bull on the F1 simulator to prepare for the Japanese F1 Grand Prix. He did not arrive at the Spanish circuit until Friday evening, and did not get in the car until the qualifying session.
Ricciardo set his eighth pole of the season on Saturday, as he pursued his quest for the title. On Saturday, he dominated the race and finished first in front of Mikhail Aleshin and Vergne. The Frenchman started from seventh place on the grid, and drove an aggressive race as he fought his way up to third. Ricciardo's first place gave him exactly the same number of points as Aleshin. Thanks to his extra victory, the Tech 1 Racing driver led the championship. His win gave Simon and Sarah Abadie's team their third teams' title.
The drivers' title was decided in the final race of the season. Between Ricciardo and Aleshin it was very simple - whoever finished in front of the other would be champion. And just to spice up things it rained!
In qualifying, Ricciardo set the second-quickest time and Vergne the sixth. Because of the tricky weather conditions the start was given behind the safety car. When the race finally got under way the Australian held on to his second place, while his Russian rival got up into third. Both drivers stopped early. Vergne made his stop later, which helped him overtake his team-mate and Aleshin to go second.
Everybody was on tenterhooks in the closing laps as Aleshin closed the gap to Ricciardo. Daniel fought back but the Russian found the opening three laps from the end, and his overtaking manoeuvre decided the outcome of the title chase.
Disappointment quickly gave way to a sense of pride in the Tech 1 Racing camp. "We've just lived through a great moment in motor sport," said Simon Abadie. "The sporting spirit between Daniel and Mikhail was exemplary, and this season will leave its mark on the history of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. We're very proud of our third teams' title, and we'd really like to thank all our partners, our team members, our friends and our three drivers this season, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Brendon Hartley. A big thanks also to Red Bull for putting its trust in us, and I hope that we'll be able to thank them again next season.
"In his first year in the FR 3.5 Series, Daniel has filled the runner-up spot with eight pole positions and four victories. Jean-Eric has taken part in only three rounds and he's finished the championship in eighth place with a victory and three podium finishes. If he races in the FR 3.5 Series next year, he'll be a title contender.
"The drivers' title was decided three laps from the end but that's not where we lost the championship. We did so at Silverstone when Daniel was harpooned by another driver. Nonetheless, we're delighted to have won our third teams' title. It's a great reward for all the work done by the whole squad.
"I have to admit that the most difficult moment of the season, and also the most moving, was when we said goodbye to Daniel on Sunday evening. He has left his mark on everyone in Tech 1 Racing and we're all delighted to have worked with him. He's an exceptional bloke, a really great guy. He's very quick and an excellent test driver and it's been a great pleasure to work with him. He'll leave his mark on our team as he was always determined, on the ball, and always in a good mood. He'll leave an indelible trace. He's had a great season. We're all convinced that not only will he get into F1, but above all he'll win there. It couldn't be otherwise."
Preparation for the 2011 season begins today. Tech 1 Racing is at work on the Catalonian circuit for two days' testing. Vergne and Nathaniel Berthon will each do one day's driving in the no. 7 car, and Arthur Pic will be at the wheel of no. 8 for the two days.
-source: tech 1 racing