IMPRESSIVE PACE GOES UNREWARDED FOR HWA RACELAB IN FORMULA 3 RACES IN SPIELBERG
  • 10th place and DNF for Jake Hughes, 15th and 13th for Enzo Fittipaldi, 22nd and 20th for Jack Doohan 
  • Jake Hughes: "We deserved to win."
  • Enzo Fittipaldi: "We now know what we have to do to iron out our weaknesses."
  • Jack Doohan: "The issues in qualifying were symbolic of the whole weekend."
  • Thomas Strick: "When you look at our pace, we could have done much better."
 
Spielberg, 12th July 2020 – Last year, Jake Hughes (Great Britain) won in Spielberg to present HWA RACELAB with its maiden victory in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. In round two of the current season, which was again held at the circuit in the Styrian region of Austria, the British driver looked on course to repeat that success. 
In Saturday's heavy rain, the 26-year-old called on all his experience at this level. After technical issues in qualifying meant he had to settle for 16th place on the grid, he soon set about working his way through the field on the wet track. By the time the safety car made an appearance following a crash on lap nine, Jake had already climbed into tenth place. The race resumed on lap twelve, but was stopped after another crash in increasingly heavy rain, and was ultimately suspended completely. Jake was classified in tenth place, based on the standings on lap eleven. Thanks to the reverse grid rule, this put him on the coveted pole position for Sunday's sprint. Because the race was suspended before the finish, the points awarded were halved, meaning Jake scored 0.5 points towards the Drivers' Championship. 
 
The 4.138-kilometre had dried out by the time Jake started the following day's race from the front of the grid. He did not get off to a great start and was powerless to prevent Theo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix) from passing him on the inside. However, the Brit immediately attempted to attack the new leader from out of the slipstream and regain the lead. He eventually achieved this on lap four, but Liam Lawson (Hitech Grand Prix) took advantage of the manoeuvre to slip through on the inside, leaving Jake in second place still. There followed a thrilling battle for the lead with Lawson. On lap five, Jake used DRS to pass his compatriot on the outside of a corner. His rival countered with an overtaking manoeuvre of his own, until a safety car phase put paid to the pair's duel. The race finally resumed on lap 17, with Jake fighting hard for the win. He briefly took the lead on lap 20, and attempted another overtake with three laps remaining. Using DRS, he moved to the outside of a bend and initially appeared to have succeeded, when his rival made a mistake. He skidded into Jake, whose was knocked off the track and forced to retire from the race with a damaged front wing.
 
18-year-old Enzo Fittipaldi (Brazil) drove with remarkable maturity given the difficult conditions on Saturday. Starting from 22nd on the grid, he climbed eight positions within just four laps. His rapid progress, with impressive pace propelling him into 12th place at one point, was only halted by the suspension. In the end, Enzo was classified in 15th place. On Sunday, the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, was involved in some hard-fought battles in the midfield, but soon learned that it is not easy to overtake at the Red Bull Ring. Enzo did at least manage to make a little progress, before ultimately finishing 13th. 
 
Jack Doohan (Australia) was also hampered by technical issues in qualifying, meaning he had to start Saturday's race from down in 21st place. On top of that, his decision to start on slicks soon proved to be the wrong one. When it started to rain on the formation lap, Jack came into the pits and, like three of his rivals, switched to wet tyres. This meant he had to start from the back of the field. Despite this, Jack soon made up a number of places. The son of five-time motorcycle world champion, Mick Doohan, could have climbed even higher in the standings, but the safety car phase and suspension of the race ultimately meant he had to settle for 22nd place. Jack made an excellent start in Sunday's race. He had raced into 17th place, before a mistake saw him drop back into 26th. From that point on, his main priority was to bring the car back in one piece and get as many kilometres of racing under his belt as possible. He did precisely that and crossed the finish line in 20th place.    
 
The FIA Formula 3 Championship continues on 18th and 19th July with two races at the Hungaroring.
 
Quotes on the race weekend 
 
Enzo Fittipaldi (18, Brazil, car number 14), 15th and 13th place
"We have a tough weekend behind us. However, we have learned more and made more progress. We tried going out on hard tyres in qualifying, which ultimately made it difficult to find the pace we needed. We analysed that and found a few solutions for Saturday. I showed good pace and managed to climb from 21st place on the grid to finish 15th in the rain in the Saturday race. That was a good result when you consider that my car was actually set-up for dry conditions. And I had a minor technical issue shortly before the race, which nearly prevented me from starting. I had good pace in race two, but I was stuck in the midfield and it was very difficult to overtake. However, the most important thing to come from this weekend is that we now know what we need to do to improve in qualifying. That was our weakness. The race pace is there, which gives me hope ahead of Budapest."
    
Jake Hughes (26, Great Britain, car number 15), 10th place and DNF
"It is very disappointing not to come away from the weekend with the points, or even the victory, that we deserved. It is a shame that the car would not start in qualifying. That meant we were unable to get involved in the fight for the top five and a good starting position for race one. However, we did manage to make up for the poor grid position and earn pole position for today's race. We were really strong today. I had a very good feeling in the car and was confident that we would take victory. Then I was taken out of the race by another driver and could do nothing about it. We have been very unlucky on the first two race weekends here in Spielberg. We should really have 30 or 40 points to our name, but instead of that we have just 0.5. I am now looking forward to Budapest. I hope our impressive pace will be rewarded with good results there." 
 
Jack Doohan (17, Australia, car number 16), 22nd and 20th place 
"Everything seemed to be going well in qualifying and I was eighth fastest at one point. However, the car then refused to start after the interruption and I was unable to complete another flying lap. In a way, that was symbolic of the whole weekend. I opted for slicks on Saturday, as it had started to dry out. However, it began to rain again shortly before the start of the race and I had to come into the pits for a tyre change. It was hard to stick to the racing line and to make any progress on the wet track. 22nd place was as good as we could have hoped for. Today's race started very well. I overtook four cars on the opening lap and made it into 17th place. However, I then strayed from the racing line in one corner and briefly came off the track. I consequently dropped back and my race was over from that point. A very disappointing weekend. I am now looking forward to Hungary, where I hope things will play out better." 
 
Thomas Strick, Team Principal HWA RACELAB
“It is a shame that we come away from the weekend with just 0.5 points. When you look at our impressive pace on Saturday and today, we could have done much better. I feel particularly sorry for Jake, who performed well on both days and really deserved a place on the podium. Looking ahead to the races at the Hungaroring, we must now do everything we can to solve the technical issues, in order to start the weekend smoothly. If we can do that, we will definitely be rewarded with a bigger haul of points in the end."   
 
Result of race one, Saturday 11th July:
 
1. F. Vesti        PREMA Racing      19:29.657     
10. Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 19:34.093 
15. Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 19:36.428
22. Jack Doohan      HWA RACELAB 19:40.843
 
Result of race two, Sunday 12th July:
 
1. T. Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 38:25.185
13. Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 38:29.448
20. Jack Doohan HWA RACELAB 38:33.773
DNF Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB DNF