Tech 1 hits the streets-- The Tech 1 Racing team took part in its first race through the streets of Monaco last weekend. Drivers Jerome d'Ambrosio and Ryo Fukuda experienced mixed fortunes during the F1 Grand Prix's...
Tech 1 hits the streets--
The Tech 1 Racing team took part in its first race through the streets of Monaco last weekend. Drivers Jerome d'Ambrosio and Ryo Fukuda experienced mixed fortunes during the F1 Grand Prix's curtain-raiser--
The battle commenced on Thursday afternoon with a free practice session. The team's mission was to quickly find a suitable set-up for an extremely unusual circuit. Team boss Simon Abadie, satisfied with his drivers' performances, noted: "When we were running on the Pau street circuit with the Formula Renault 2.0 cars, there were hardly any changes to be made. These cars are much more sensitive." At the end of the session Ryo Fukuda was 12th fastest, while Jerome d'Ambrosio was 21st as he learnt the circuit.
Qualifying becomes particularly important on a track where it is notoriously difficult to overtake. The field was split into two groups, in order to limit traffic for Saturday morning's session. Jerome set eighth-fastest time in the first group, just two-tenths of a second off sixth place. Simon Abadie commented: "He is exactly on course with what we expected: we predicted something between fifth and tenth."
The second session started well for Ryo, who was in the top three before an accident caused a red flag. When the action resumed it was Ryo's turn to be caught out by the tricky Massenet corner, which claimed a number of drivers over the weekend! The Japanese had to settle for 10th place, while the Tech 1 Racing mechanics prepared themselves for a long job to fix the considerable damage to car number 32.
On Sunday, the two black cars were on the start grid for the race as promised. Both Tech 1 drivers lost a number of places on the first lap, due to the inevitable bottlenecks at Sainte-Devote and the Loews hairpin. They then buckled down to a solid race, making up places as their rivals hit problems. Jerome crossed the finish line in 12th place: a satisfactory result according to Simon. "Jerome has had a faultless weekend, where he has racked up the maximum amount of laps and experience possible. This will be very useful to him next year. By the end of the race he had a well-balanced car and was on the same sort of pace as the drivers fighting for fourth." Ryo Fukuda's eventual 17th place was less pleasing to his team manager. "If he hadn't made a mess of qualifying he could have had a good result here," said Simon. "After starting from the back of the grid he lacked motivation, as there was little to gain. That's a pity, as it doesn't allow us to see his true potential."
The next World Series by Renault meeting will take place in Istanbul from June 15-18. Simon Abadie is expecting a lot from the trip to Turkey. "By then, we will have analysed all the data we collected from our Magny-Cours test before Monaco," he said. "My expectations of the drivers are clear: they need to have a perfect weekend, without making mistakes, so that we can sit down on Sunday night and know where we really are--"