Simon Abadie: "A decesive end to the season"
The World Series by Renault kicks off again this weekend at Hockenheim after a 2-month break. It will be an important meeting for Tech 1 Racing as the Toulouse-based squad is fighting for the drivers' and teams' titles in both the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. There is also one more round left in the GP3 Series, and the team is starting to look ahead to 2011. Simon Abadie, the team manager, sums up the situation just as the final part of the season gets under way.
Simon, the break in the World Series by Renault lasted two months, but it's been a fairly hectic few weeks in the GP3 Series, hasn't it?
"It's true. We strung together a series of races in the GP3 Series as we went to Silverstone, Hockenheim, Budapest, and then to Spa-Francorchamps. We have a stable trio of drivers consisting of Daniel Juncadella, Stefano Coletti and Dora Sechelariu, and we made a big step forward. We finished on the podium at Hockenheim with Juncadella second and Coletti third. We consolidated this performance at Budapest with Stefano's third place. At Spa-Francorchamps, we also proved our speed with Juncadella's pole even if he was then penalised. Coletti is now ninth in the drivers' ratings despite the fact that he hasn't done the whole season. Tech 1 Racing is sixth in the teams' classification. Our aim is to finish in the top five in our first season in GP3, and a win at Monza in the last race to end on a high note would be the cherry on the cake! Then it's up to us to gear up well for the 2011 season to fight for the title."
In the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Tech 1 Racing can win four titles!
"The end of the season will be decisive for the attribution of the titles in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. It's true, we can finish the year with four titles - or with none!"
Daniel Ricciardo is eleven points behind Mikhail Aleshin in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. What strategy will you adopt to close the gap?
"There's no precise strategy. He just has to finish in front of Mikhail Aleshin in each race. Aleshin is having a very good season, and it won't be easy to beat him. But we took full advantage of the two-month break to do a good job preparing for the last six races in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series to put the best possible car at Daniel's disposal. He knows the Silverstone and Barcelona circuits very well so everything's in place for him to make the difference. If he manages to win the title it'll be the first time a rookie had done so in the Renault 3.5 Series since Robert Kubica in 2005. It'd be a huge boost to his career and his aims, which are to break into Formula 1."
Jean-Eric Vergne, who has just won the British F3 Championship title, is joining Tech 1 Racing for Hockenheim, Silverstone and Budapest. What aims have you set for him?
"Jean-Eric doesn't have any real aims. He's there just to drive and to spring a surprise if he can. He knows the car; he knows the team but remember that his rivals have been driving this machine since the start of the championship. It won't be easy for him, but he's under no pressure. He's already had a great season by becoming the first Frenchman to win the British F3 title and he knows what he has to do. If he can score points for the team while taking away good points from Daniel's rivals it'll be perfect!"
In the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, the gap between the leader Kevin Korjus and Arthur Pic is also eleven points. Tech 1 Racing is leading the teams' classification. So the challenge is the same?
"Yes, here too, Arthur has to finish in front of Kevin in every race. Arthur has set seven pole positions, which proves that he's the quickest driver this year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. But Kevin's very steady. It's very open. If Tech 1 Racing wins the teams' title in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in our first year in the championship, it'll be a really great achievement."
2011 is just round the corner. What are your plans?
"In 2011, Tech 1 Racing will again be competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and in the GP3 Series. In the FR 3.5 Series we'll have a seat for a Red Bull Junior team driver but nothing's been confirmed yet. The number of drivers in the Red Bull Junior squad is smaller than in the past, and we don't yet know what Dr. Helmut Marko's strategy will be in 2011. We're hoping to finalise our 2011 driver line-up soon as testing starts immediately after the final with a two-day session on the Barcelona circuit on 12-13 October, followed by three days' testing at Motorland Aragon on 18-19-20 October. The ideal thing would be to be able to sign up our two 2011 drivers after this collective test."
And what about GP3 and the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup?
"In the GP3 Series, there'll be six days collective practice in October at Estoril and Jerez. There too we're hoping to be able to test different drivers to choose our trio for 2011. In the Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0 Series, testing is free between 11th October and 3st December and we plan around ten days' running. That'll help our drivers to get used to the Formula Renault 2.0, and to be in a position to tackle the 2011 season in the best possible conditions."