GOOD WORK CARRIED OUT BY BARWA ADDAX TEAM WITHOUT RESULTS - JOHNNY CECOTTO AND JOSEF KRAL SHOW SIGNS OF THEIR POTENTIAL.
At the Sepang International circuit in Malaysia, Barwa Addax Team and their two drivers, Johnny Cecotto and Josef Král, didn’t have the best results possible over the weekend. There can be no doubting the good work carried out by the team. Drivers, mechanics, engineers and management have finished the event convinced that they have possibilities of being more competitive in this new season. Although they haven’t had the greatest of results, they are satisfied with developments and the race rhythm of both drivers which indicates that they should be up among the best.
From the very first two practice sessions it looked like being a strange and complicated weekend. One only had to look at the times set in both free practice and qualifications to see that there was a complete mix of rookie and veteran drivers fighting it out for the top positions. All very illogical. Not only the drivers of Barwa Addax Team, but also a lot of the other favourites found themselves at the back of the starting grid with cars of the same teams performing very differently from each other. The drivers put it down to the beginning of the season and the traffic difficulties that all drivers had to put up with in the sessions.
In the first race, both Johnny and Josef were really affected by adverse conditioning factors. Johnny had defective tyres which meant that for his first stint his car was almost undriveable. In the next phase he had an unfortunate pit stop in which one of the nuts on a rear tyre was not well tightened and one on the first corner, the nut came out. Cecotto was forced to retire just when he was looking to make a fightback. Kral made a great start and this allowed him to make up 6 places and he moved up to eighth from his 14th place start. While defending his position he came off the circuit at the fast part of the circuit which meant that he was relegated to the back of the field with very dirty tyres. He could do nothing more than just hold on until the compulsory pit stop. Once he had made the change Josef started to set race times similar to the drivers in the leading positions which meant that he started climbing through the field and he finally crossed the chequered flag in 14th position. It is not a result to please him but he started to show that he has the ability and potential to be near the front.
To round off what has been a terrible weekend, Johnny was left standing at the start grid in the second race after having stalled his car while positioning himself late, just as the rest of the field was starting which meant that he had a lone race after losing a lap in the process. Nevertheless, he set really fast race laps and for most of the race his times were similar to those of the race leaders and he even set the fastest lap times on a couple of ocassions. Josef, started the second race in 14th position and despite making a great start, he lost a couple of places for losing position on the outside line of the circuit but he was patient and showed his true capacity and from 16th place he was able to climb up to 9th with some fine overtaking. He was also the fastest driver on the circuit in the closing stages of the race.
Johnny Cecotto, official Barwa Addax Team driver: “The first weekend was quiet difficult for us. I arrived not knowing the track but it wasn't a big problem. In qualifying we didn't get one clear lap and it made us loose quite a few places. I had a very good start in the first race and managed to pass 7th in the first lap, than we had a few difficulties because of our initial tire choice but I'm sure we could have regained a lot of places after the pit-stop and the better tires but shamefully I lost the wheel in the first corner. Race 2 started bad already because when I reached my grid position already 3 red lights were on and I didn't have time to do my starting procedure. At least than my pace was really good throughout the whole race we were as quick as and several times even quicker than the leaders. I'm sure that in the next race we can bring home a lot of points”
Josef Král, official Barwa Addax Team driver:” Overall it was very difficult weekend for us because we were lacking a bit more luck. Unfortunately I didn't do a single clean lap in qualifying even that the sectors looked pretty well! So then it was already difficult from this point because we had to move forward through the field to try score at least some points. It got much better after the start of the first race. I had a very good start and I moved from P13 to P8 but unfortunately again we struggled a lot on the first set and I dropped to P21. But I gained some places in the pit stop and the pace got much better in the second half of the race so in the end I managed to get back to P14. In the second race I had a very good start again and I moved forward but unfortunately I was forced to go pretty wide in the first corner which coasted me some place. Then I was trying to look after the tires and to keep it ready for the end of the race. The pace was very good and I was one of the quickest. I managed to overtake few cars and in the end finished on P9. It wasn't a great weekend but we showed that we have a good speed so for Bahrain we need to get better starting position and then I am sure that we will be competitive! Now we have some time to analyze what happened and improve our performance.
Alejandro Agag, owner and Team principal:”We didn’t start well yesterday. We had lots of problems in the first race. The new regulations this season means we have two different sets of tyres, and it was this in the end where we got it wrong with our strategy, because both cars had no traction in the initial laps of the first race. Then we made a mistake in the tyre change of one of our drivers, anyway... a race to forget about. This year’s grid line up is very good. I think that Dams is clearly the rival to beat because they have two very good drivers. They have Valsecchi who is a great driver, and we were about to sign him ourselves but he was taken away from under our noses. They also have a very good rookie, Felipe Nasr a driver who I think will be a very big star in the near future”.