Wheatley F1 had fired both drivers between the last race in Italy, and round 14 in Singapore. I was very pleased with both hirings, and although they need a little training, their base stats (things I cannot train) are very good – and a massive step up from what I had.
The Technical Director suggested a three stop strategy, but again I didn’t listen, and opted for a four stopper, consisting of three stints on soft tires and two on hards. The good part about this is that with an extremely tight qualifying (1st to 22nd under one second), I was able to set a blistering pace with one car, lining up in 4th. Unfortunately the other driver, barely trained for this type of circuit, would start 19th.
Both cars seemed to get a good start on soft tires, with Osman holding 4th, while Ule gained some positions. By lap 5 both of the DAM Racing cars had closed in, and by lap 6 they had dropped Osman to 6th. Meanwhile Ule had moved up to 15th.
On lap 8, Osman dropped to 7th as Hódos (Insecticons) used KERS to blow by, while Ule battled heavy traffic in the midfield.
Lap 11 saw some early pit stops. Osman moved back up to 6th, before pitting on lap 12 and dropping as low as 20th-place. Ule dropped all the way to 27th after his stop. It took until lap 17 for the pit stops to cycle through, and while Osman ran a respectable and fighting 11th, Ule ran a lowly 23rd-place.
On lap 22 I moved back into the points when a car ahead pitted, then a lap later overtook Manuel (Racing Team Germany) on-track to take 9th. I started to toy with the idea of switching to a 3-stop strategy at this point, so bumped the fuel level up on my next stop.
I ran as high as 8th before my pit stop on lap 28. After my pit stop, I dropped to 11th, and entered a close fight with those around me. This part of the race was fun, and I genuinely felt competitive. By lap 38 I was running a solid 9th.
My final pit stop came on lap 46, and I overfilled the tank by (as I found at the end of the race) 14 liters. This meant I was heaver than those around me, and my relative pace dropped. After rejoining in 12th, I slowly dropped all the way back to 15th. I even had a terribly hard time passing backmarkers, most notably getting caught for almost 3 laps behind Yamasaki (Eiryos Racing Team).
Towards the end of the race I passed Sanchez and Wilson (SRT) as they pitted, then shortly before the finish I passed Manuel when he ran out of fuel, gifting me 12th-place.
Battle for the win wasn’t that close, with G Woloshyn (Team Spamsac F1GP) winning by 15 seconds.
Race edit below:
Again, I am disappointed. Although this was a marked improvement over any other race I have done this season, I know I screwed up, and that makes it worse. In previous stints I was able to either hold my place fairly well, or not lose too much time when I came out of the pits. That extra 14 liters just killed my speed relative to those I had been racing with, cost me a bunch of time passing backmarkers, and I think it cost me challenging for a points finish. I crossed the line only 20 seconds behind 10th-place, and I know I lost a lot of that, if not all of that, in final stint.
I am a little closer to KERS research, but not enough. I think I am going to have to start next season without it.
My new drivers did OK. Osman was faultless really, and Ule I believe performed as he did due to a very low level of skill on this type of circuit. I expect a very different performance out of him in Japan next week.