SG Formula pick up points but podium still elusive We are now three meetings into the Formula 3 season, to which must be added the Zandvoort Masters classic. The SG Formula team has already notched up some useful results in what is its second ...
SG Formula pick up points but podium still elusive
We are now three meetings into the Formula 3 season, to which must be added the Zandvoort Masters classic. The SG Formula team has already notched up some useful results in what is its second season at this level although, so far, podium places have proved elusive. There will be no summer break for the guys from La Rochelle and their Toyota Driver Program drivers as they prepare to string together five events in four different countries.
Henkie Waldschmidt was looking good for his first points in the Hockenheim race only to have his hopes dashed by a gearshift problem. He did, however, get a return for his efforts on the Lausitzring where, after qualifying 6th, he went on to take 7th place in Saturday's race and 5th in Sunday's, in which he also clocked the fastest lap. At Zandvoort, which played host to a Masters race involving 36 contestants representing all the European national championships, the Dutch driver was on home territory. Unfortunately, he collided with a car he'd just overtaken for 6th place. On the Norisring, a circuit that winds through the streets of Nuremberg, SG Formula endured a tough weekend, despite never letting up the pressure. Henkie finished 9th on the Saturday, giving SG Formula a Team championship point. The next day was his birthday and he celebrated by bagging another point for his personal collection, coming 6th in the day's race.
Henkie picks up points consistently but the same cannot be said for Andrea Caldarelli, who is dogged by constant bad luck, if such a thing really exists in motor racing. So far this season the Italian rookie has not been in a race in which he didn't encounter technical problems or race incidents. On the Norisring, for example, it was just his luck to come upon an out-of-control car nearly at the end of qualifying, just when the track was drying out and precious fractions of a second were there for the taking. Disaster struck in Race 1 before he'd even got started, when his transmission broke as the cars were being placed on the grid. The team managed to fix the problem in under ten minutes but Andreas set off a lap behind the field. The next day he'd only done 5 laps when he had to stop because of a pile-up blocking the track ahead. Unfortunately his engine stalled and refused to start again.
"We still have work to do and some things need changing but on the whole we have shown that our cars and drivers are capable of playing in the top six," said team-manager Stephane Guerin. "That said, we never really got going on the Norisring. In 2008 we weren't really able to work on the balance of the chassis because of incessant brake problems. Because of this delay in finding right the set up, we were a bit off the pace on this highly individual circuit. Nevertheless, we came away from a tough venue with an 8th fastest qualifying lap and a 6th place in a race. If we can come 6th on a bad day there is hope for the future!"
A fortnightly schedule from mid-July to mid-August will see the team racing in Zandvoort, Oschersleben and Nurburgring. This summer, SG Formula will also be running a trials programme for young drivers who have never driven a Formula 3 car before. The team's third Dallara-Mercedes will be the steed.