TEAM NEWS: Reigning British Formula 3 International Series title-holder Hitech Racing heads to the third round of the series at Monza next weekend (May 17/18), hoping for a return to the form that netted it the 2007 title. After two rounds, the Buckingham-based team is currently ninth and 11th in the standings with Briton Max Chilton and Austrian Walter Grubmüller.
The teenagers are in only their second season in the UK’s premier domestic single seater racing championship, in which nearly half the current F1 grid began their careers. A dominant campaign last year with Marko Asmer with the David Hayle-led team helped secure the young Estonian a Sauber BMW F1 test role.
Now, the team is hoping to get back on track with its first win of the year, but Team Principal Hayle knows that the competition this season is tougher than ever. “We started the season in a very positive mood, having been on the pace right from word go. Then we had the second place for Max along with two third place grid positions and fifth place finish for Walter at Oulton Park.
“But at Croft we struggled a little bit and were unable to repeat that performance. In standard format the 2008 car is not very different because it’s just an evolution of the old one. However there are various options on the car which are quite complicated to get working together.
“Now, my hope for Monza is that we can reassert ourselves back into the top six, or even top three. In terms of the opposition out there, looking at the first two races you’d have to say that really any one of ten or 12 people could win.
“You can have a driver win race one who is then way down the order in race two and then not feature at all at the next round. And then there are other drivers who you wouldn’t expect to be up there at the front who disappear again, it really could be anyone’s races next weekend.”
The famous Monza Grand Prix circuit is unique and often favours the brave drivers who can brake later than their rivals. Last season, Asmer and his main rival Maro Engel kept the spectators and TV viewers on the edge of their seats as they ran side-by-side along the fast main straight.
“Monza has extremely long straights and high speeds into slow corners which give heavy braking points and options for overtaking, mixed with conventional corners that you get on any other circuit. As with the other overseas events, racing away from home is an exciting prospect for the team and drivers and quite often the results can spring the few surprises.”
The event gets underway with two 30-minute free practice sessions on Friday prior to first qualifying at 17.05 that afternoon. Second qualifying takes place on Saturday at 11.40 with the first of two races at 16.25. The second race will take place at 15.45 on Sunday.