DRIVER DIARY: FROM BRANDS HATCH TO BELGIUM

Round four of the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain was very much a case of what might have been – but that only makes everyone at Fluid Motorsport Developments all the more determined to set the record straight next time around.

Not being able to test on the Brands Hatch GP layout before the race weekend was always going to be something of a handicap, especially when you’re up against second- and third-year drivers, but throw in unpredictable weather conditions and it really makes things complicated.

Despite that, the weekend opened positively, as we managed to post the third fastest time of Friday’s test session and looked set to challenge the frontrunners – provided it remained wet! Of course, come qualifying, the weather had changed and I had to relearn the circuit in the dry. On top of that, just as my times began to come down, the gear linkage broke, meaning that I had to sit out the end of the session – when the track was at its very best…..

The Brands Hatch round was also the first to be included in the new Formula Ford Eurocup, which meant that the field was quite a bit bigger than we have been used to – and the problems in qualifying left me behind most of them! Still, at least it would give me the opportunity to get some overtaking practice in the races….

Typically, the weather continued to play a part, with both the first and third races of the weekend being red-flagged because of heavy downpours when we were all out on slicks. It was particularly frustrating as I had made up quite a few places in both races, and was confident of gaining more in the wet, but the time lost changing tyres left us with too few laps to make any meaningful moves.

Race two, meanwhile, was completely dry and was looking just as good until a coming together with one of the overseas runners. I have to admit that it was probably an ambitious move on my part, because I was keen to gain as much ground as quickly as possible, but at least the two wet races gave us top ten positions in the UK results.

It is not often that you get to move from one of the world’s classic circuits to another for successive race meetings, but that’s just what I’ll be doing later this month, as we follow Brands Hatch GP with Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian venue is the second stop on the Eurocup calendar – to be followed by Zolder the following weekend and Zandvoort in August – and is a challenge equal to Brands Hatch.

I tested at both Spa and Zolder with Fluid during the break in FFord UK action, and things look promising, especially at Spa, where the long corners appeared to suit the Van Diemen. The circuit certainly lives up to its reputation, and I can see why so many F1 drivers rate it among their favourites. I can’t wait to go back there, especially as Fluid will be introducing new bodywork to the car.

We’ll be racing on Friday and Saturday at Spa, as the Eurocup is on the support bill to the VW Fun Cup 25 Hours, but things return to normal at Zolder the weekend after, where the awesome-sounding Formula Superleague is the headline event.

Of course, being at Spa means that I’ll be away when F1 reaches Silverstone, but I’ll be rooting for Team Lotus – and GP2 off-shoot Caterham Team Air Asia – as they race on home soil.

Until next time,

Matt

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.