It was a frustrating weekend at Silverstone for the opening rounds of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship for Team West-Tec F3 last weekend
With the final pre-season test day also being held at the home of the British Grand Prix in the days leading up to the weekend, it was very encouraging for the West-Tec team with both drivers showing strongly, especially new signing Raoul Hyman who was a highly impressive sixth fastest overall - and second fastest Mercedes by only a small fraction of a second.
Fabian Schiller's pace was also good initially before ongoing pace problems were traced to a damaged monocoque, likely caused by an over-the-kerbs off-track excursion at an oily Chapel Curve. This left the team a big job to rebuild Fabi's car around a replacement chassis, kindly loaned by Double R Racing.
With hopes high for the racing weekend, qualifying was as competitive as expected, with Fabi ending up with a best of 14th in his replacement car and Raoul back in an unrepresentative 22nd, albeit just a fraction from the top ten in what most recognise as the most competitive junior series in the world.
Race one started damp, and behind the safety car, and featured more safety car interventions along the way which stymied both drivers who each made progress forward in the field but not as much as they otherwise likely would have done in an incident-free race.
For race two, Fabi made an electric start to move up to eighth immediately and then pass more cars to move up to sixth, before becoming embroiled in the battle of the weekend A much-deserved top ten finish was only lost in a last corner clash with another driver, even though Fabi was still able to hobble over the line 11th.
After being delayed by a stall on the grid in race two, Raoul showed brilliant pace in race three. An initial less than brilliant getaway was followed by some superb overtaking maneuvers before, trying to pass the driver who had started 11 places ahead of him (!) his front wing was rudely knocked off after the driver recovered to the track having run off trying to defend his position. The ensuing pit stop ensured that Raoul had lost too much time to have any realistic chance of a top results, although after the team replaced the front wing and nose assembly, Raoul was regularly recording lap times which would have placed him in the top six to show just what could have been.
John Miller, Team West-Tec F3: From the promise of Tuesday it turned into a challenging weekend. Fabi did a good job with his rebuilt car and I was delighted to see him challenging the top six. Raoul had little go his way after the testing but kept working hard and his pace in race three was very encouraging.
For the next rounds, at Hockenheim, we will be working tirelessly to get back to the front where I am sure both of our drivers can be.
Team West-Tec F3 made its FIA F3 debut in 2014, finishing sixth in the Teams Championship in just its first year, working with HWA-Mercedes as engine partner. Team West-Tec F3 enjoys team support from Nielsen Chemicals, Eibach, B-G Racing, Mechanix, MIS Locktons and Freem GB.