Mitchell Gilbert's weekend marred by engine problems

in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship

ADD Motorsports driver Mitchell Gilbert felt it was another wasted weekend as engine problems again stopped him reaching the speeds he knows he can in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

The Australian was well off a competitive pace at Spa-Francorchamps and with unforgiving straights, it was a frustrating few days for him.

While team mechanics did their best to find the problem, even a new engine didn’t rectify the issues.

Now he is hoping a solution is found in time for Norisring at the end of the week for the next round, to give him the chance to show what he is capable of once again.

He said: “We are at a point where we have a good team, a good car and I’m driving well, but we are not able to show our ability.

“The engine has been hampering us at different stages and on a track like Spa-Francorchamps, with long straights, it was very noticeable and even a change of engine didn’t help.

“Our best weekend came at Pau, where there aren’t any long straights, but as soon as there are long straights, the pace just isn’t there to compete.

“We are hoping things can be sorted by the next race, it’s just really disappointing right now.”

After a successful test at the beginning of last week, Mitchell felt positive going into the weekend, so it was disappointing to find he was 16th and 24th in the practices.

The team tried a few things but it meant they were on the back foot almost immediately.

Speed test data showed he was some 18k an hour down on the leader and not a lot changed in the first qualifier, with Mitchell happy with a 14th position despite the apparent lack of pace.

In the wet of qualifier two, Mitchell, on dry tyres, crashed, leaving him in last place.

The team then made the decision to change the engine, as the 10-place grid penalty wouldn’t make such an impact.

He finished 20th in Race One, in the knowledge that work still needed to be done on the new engine.

AAfter some work was carried out, Race Two was much better. Starting 25th he managed to finish 12th - and he thought they were near to sorting out the problems once and for all.

But after another stage was carried out on the engine, Race Three proved to be equally frustrating for the racer, as he was unable to overtake more than a couple of drivers and the pace was noticeably not there on the straights still.

He added: “We don’t really know what the problem is. It was confusing to have gone into the round so positive, but for this to happen.

“The speed test data showed the problems we were having and we just couldn’t get going again.

“It’s very frustrating for us all and it’s not helping me get to where I want to be and know I can be.

“We’re hoping a solution is found to help us move forward again.”