Tech 1 Racing’s Nürburgring weekend fails to live up to expectations

After scoring victories at Monza and in Budapest Tech 1 Racing was aiming for a hat trick at the Nürburgring. Finally, the team from Toulouse’s weekend failed to live up to expectations and it is already focused on the next meeting at the Red Bull Ring.

In the wake of its recent successes Tech 1 Racing arrived at the Nürburgring with high hopes. Max Fewtrell was in the top five in practice putting the team among the front-runners closely followed by Gabriel Aubry, while Thomas Neubauer and Thomas Maxwell got down to the task of dialling themselves back in on the German circuit.  

On Saturday the four drivers were in the same qualifying group and Fewtrell again spearheaded the team’s attack clinching third place in front of Aubry in Q1 and Q2. Neubauer equalled his best performance of the year in qualifying while Maxwell’s session was ruined by a red flag in Q2.

In the first heat Fewtrell was battling for victory in the rookie category before being tagged by a rival who cut across the track gaining a big advantage forcing Max to hit the brakes to avoid a collision. The driver behind him exploited the situation to overtake the young Brit who had to make do with sixth, three places in front of Aubry who was boxed in in the first corner. In the pack Maxwell pulled back three places and finished just in front of his team-mate, Neubauer.  

On Sunday it was raining. Aubry made the best of every opportunity that came his way and finished just shy of the podium. Fewtrell was in less sparkling form and saw the flag in seventh place. Behind these two, Neubauer looked like he was on course for a points finish until he was hit by another car and had to retire. Maxwell started from the back of the grid and overtook 10 cars to see the flag in 18th place.

In the overall teams’ classification Tech 1 Racing is still in third place. In the drivers’ ratings Aubry remains in the top 5 and Fewtrell has regained seventh spot.

“The weekend’s results are a bit disappointing,” summed up Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. “The team and Gabriel didn’t manage to get it together in qualifying. We had the pace and we could have aimed to be one or two rows further up the grid, in Q1 in particular. Gabi made a great start, but got boxed in on the outside and couldn’t do any better than ninth: he fought back the next day and scored a good haul of points.

“Thomas Neubauer built on his previous performances and made more progress. Not only did he equal his best result in qualifying, but he was able to take the fight to more experienced drivers in both races. It’s a pity that he was hit by another car on Sunday as he looked on course to score his first points. Thomas Maxwell’s results are much less satisfactory. He was not in his element and he never found his marks all weekend. We hope he’ll be able to bounce back at the Red Bull Ring. We need all his talent to develop the car and get the best out of it.

“Finally, Max showed that he’s on the right track after his below par performance in Hungary. He had two good qualifying sessions even if we could have done slightly better in Q1. He was looking good in race 1 until another driver banged wheels with him, which was a shame as we had what it took to be on the podium. On Sunday, he was less at home on the wet track. He deserved better but he still managed to bag a good haul of points.

“Now, I’m expecting my drivers to raise their game at the Red Bull Ring,” concluded Simon. “Our level of performance should allow us to fight for pole and the first two rows. So we have to begin again on the bases of Monza and Budapest before the summer break and not let our rivals pull away.”   

Tech 1 Racing’s next rendezvous is at the Red Bull Ring (21-23 July) for the seventh round of the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup.