Tech 1 Racing: already looking to 2010
The 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 Series ended on the brand new Motorland Aragon circuit. Things didn't work out very well for Tech 1 Racing who lost their third place in the teams' classification and their second position in the drivers' one. However, all the members of the Toulouse-based squad have gathered a lot of experience this season, and will come back stronger in 2010 and reconquer the titles lost in 2009.
The last round of the season took place on the very impressive Motorland Aragon layout. It's an undulating circuit to which 80 000 spectators came for the final of the World Series by Renault. Tech 1 Racing was out to defend Charles Pic's second place in the drivers' ratings and their third position in the teams' championship.
In free practice, Charles and Brendon Hartley had to find their marks on the circuit first of all. Brendon finished the day in seventh spot while Charles was further back. The two drivers and the team put their heads together to find the best way of gaining more pace. Qualifying didn't go off very well. Charles set the tenth-quickest time in his group and failed to qualify for the SuperPole. Brendon was second fastest but on his first lap in the SuperPole he ground to a halt with an electrical glitch.
"By starting from so far on the grid for both races, it was difficult to achieve a good result", analyses Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. "Brendon was quick in qualifying but a technical problem ruined his SuperPole hopes. Charles had a difficult weekend and he was never really able to get to grips with the circuit."
Brendon and Charles started from twelfth and twentieth places on the grid, and their aim was to fight their way up through the field to score a few points. Charles made it up to twelfth while Brendon finished fifteenth.
The second race followed the same pattern. Charles started from thirteenth and Brendon from fourteenth. They both drove a steady race but the best Charles could do was eleventh, and Brendon saw the flag in sixteenth spot. It was not a good performance for Tech 1 Racing in terms of the teams' classification. The squad finished fourth, and Charles came third in the drivers' championship.
"It's a defeat and we're not very happy about this defeat," emphasizes Simon. "Many teams would be pleased with fourth place in the teams' ratings and third in the drivers', but not us. We'll have to carry over the same performance level from this season. We qualified four times on the front row; we set three pole positions and we're the only team to have scored a double. We had the speed.
"On the other hand, we missed out on a number of small things. We probably had the same problems over the last couple of years, but we didn't manage to spot them. They emerged again this year and finally it's not been a bad thing as we've learned a lot. We've improved in several areas, and I was very impressed by the whole team's reactive capacity as well as that of my sister Sarah and our drivers. We've made a huge step forward this season; we're going to be even stronger next year, and the same goes for Charles and Brendon."
Tech 1 Racing has already started preparing for 2010 as they will continue testing at Motorland Aragon until the end of the week. "I've said that we wanted to win the teams' titles three years on the trot. We're starting from zero again in 2010 and that means we'll be in Formula Renault 3.5 for another three seasons!"
While the 2010 drivers will not be announced for a few weeks yet, one thing is certain, Charles Pic will not be part of the line-up. "We've had a great partnership with Charles and we wish him every success in GP2. He's grown up with us and he's made a lot of progress. We were battling against rivals who were stronger than us this season. Bertrand Baguette was head and shoulders above the rest thanks to his experience. Fairuz Fauzy was able to score points in almost every race. Charles is much younger then these two drivers; he's only nineteen and he has less experience. But let the guys in GP2 be warned, Charles is going to give them a hard time! It's a fantastic chapter in our history that's come to a close. Charles has the talent and the potential to make it into Formula 1. We're proud of him, and we'll be even more so in the future in my opinion."
In addition to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Tech 1 Racing will also be competing in the GP3 Series in 2010, so next season's going to be a huge challenge. "We can't wait for 2010,"says Simon. "We're doing everything we can to have a great team in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with the titles as our aim. We're working hard to get everything ready very quickly so that we can maximize preparation this winter. In GP3, we're going to measure ourselves against teams, which are already in the system as they're racing in GP2. Today, we're working on finding a good driver trio. We're taking up the challenge, as the base is to have complimentary and quick drivers. We're going to test a lot. We're also waiting for the car and we'll be ready for battle in May 2010, but before thinking about GP3, our priority is the Formula Renault 3.5 Series."
The first winter test session will start in a few days and the kick off of the 2010 World Series by Renault will be given in Barcelona on 17th April.
-credit: tech 1