Raoul Hyman and Fabian Schiller both drove scintillating races at Spa, during the fifth weekend of the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European Championship, although both were denied a likely podium battle as both were taken out through little fault of their own in the final race. After a truncated free practice the two qualifying sessions were held on drying tracks both times, and both drivers were disappointed with their grid positions, having been held up in traffic both times.
For race one, both drivers made good starts. Fabi was able to make several superb overtaking maneuvers to bring him into the top ten and he eventually finished ninth for a good points haul. Raoul also made a great start but was unfortunately clipped by a rival which left his front wing slightly damaged. While he was able to continue with good speed, the officials gave him a black & orange flag meaning he had to pit for repairs. After that he demonstrated good pace but was never going to be able to recover the time lost in the pit stop.
For race two it was Raoul's turn to shine as he launched a breathtaking drive from 24th on the grid. The young South African star was able to pass car after car, including the erstwhile Championship leader, to move up into the top ten and into the lead group. Only a late safety car interrupted his progress and he finished eighth, despite setting a faster lap than every driver still ahead of him!
Fabi had also made good progress and moved up into the top 15 before being stuck in a row of cars all battling well to the finish.
Race three brought heartbreak for both drivers. Both made very good starts and started to move up in the damp - the difficult conditions showing their great car control to good effect, and both drivers were progressing well through the competitive field. Then, Raoul was unlucky to be caught between two cars and was clipped by a defending driver and his race was over. Fabi was able to make more progress and was closing on the outright podium position that both had looked probable to fight over when a following driver tried a massively optimistic late-breaking and took them both out of the race. That driver was subsequently penalised although that was no great compensation to the Team West-Tec team or driver.
John Miller, Team West-Tec F3: Both drivers showed great speed and race ability at Spa, and Raoul passed, I think, 11 cars on track in race two to showcase his talent. While they were both exceptionally unlucky in race three we need to turn our attention to qualifying. If we can qualify better, which we should do, then we wouldn't have to stage such recovery drives and can fight at the front from the start of each race.
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.