Abu Dhabi, Question and Answer with Thomas Lassus.
After ten rounds and twenty races the 2014 GP2 Series reaches it's final race weekend at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and both of the Racing Engineering drivers, Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti, will be looking to finish the season with more podium finishes following on from the previous three rounds that have seen Lello take a win and a third place at Spa and Sochi and Stefano finish second at Monza.
Below Thomas Lassus, Race Engineer at Racing Engineering, looks back at the season so far and forward to the final round of the 2014 GP2 Series:
With 10 rounds of the 2014 GP2 season done and only Abu Dhabi left on the calendar, how would you review the season so far?
I would say the season is far from our expectations in terms of results. We are only 4th in the team championship and the drivers are 6th and 8th and we were aiming much higher when starting this season. It is mainly because it has been a season of missed opportunities, the pace to score a lot of points with both drivers has been there generally at every weekend, but we have had a lot of incidents, penalties etc., which kept us from scoring the big points. It is a real shame.
Without external factors, where do you think we would expect to see Lello and Stefano in the championship?
I think it’s important we all learn from what happened this season as there were not only factors beyond our control, but also many points we simply didn't pick up when they were there in front of us. It is our philosophy to look more at ourselves than at external factors, as it’s the way to continually improve. However there were several occasions beyond the team and drivers’ influence and if we sum up these points lost, we would clearly be in third position in the team championship with only a few points separating us from second place. Our drivers would also be in 5th and 6th position. This is without considering that other drivers would not have scored the same amount of points that they did and also we would have had much better starting positions in race 2. Now, considering the missed results, we would right now be fighting for the team championship title and both our drivers for a position in the top 3 of the drivers’ championship.
Abu Dhabi is the next venue on the calendar. Can you tell us about the characteristics and biggest challenges of the track?
Abu Dhabi is very technical for drivers, with several sections with two to three consecutive corners. So a mistake in one corner can have an impact on the next two, which means a bigger loss of time than at other tracks. From an engineering point of view it is a challenge because it is a mix of very fast and very slow corners, chicanes and long straights, so it is not easy to get the car well balanced around the whole track. Super soft tires in the race will also be a big factor, as they could degrade quickly with the high temperatures we expect.
The Yas Marina Circuit usually suits the Racing Engineering cars well so what are your expectations for this race weekend?
Expectations are high, as they are at every weekend. The goal is to finally score big points with both drivers in both races as we should have done more often this season. The team and the drivers are experienced at this track so we should be up there. We want to finish on a high.