|There are just two race weekends left in the 2016 GP2 Series and with the next one taking place in Sepang, Malaysia and the final round at the Yas Marina circuit in the United Arab Emirates the GP2 teams are saying goodbye to the European circuits for this year. The season so far for the Racing Engineering team has been one of highs and lows with their drivers Norman Nato and Jordan King taking two race wins each but it could easily have been more if fate hadn’t stepped in and robbed them of other successes.
Below Ines Koschutnig, Racing Engineering’s General Manager, looks back at some of the previous races and forward to the end of the season.
The last GP2 race weekend in Monza was the end of the European section of the 2016 championship. Norman Nato won the Sprint Race and putting Racing Engineering second in the team standing. Does this give the team motivation to face the last two races?
Motivation is never an issue at any point during the season for us. We have a hard working team of people on track as well as back at the workshop and everyone is giving 100%. Without this, it’s impossible to successfully work for so many seasons at such a high level in motorsports like GP2. Having said this, it is fantastic for everyone at Racing Engineering when we see our drivers on the podium, especially when it is the top spot. Many hours of work all year long, many late nights at the race track and, like everyone in racing, many personal sacrifices are forgotten when you look at your driver celebrating on the podium.
How would you review the 2016 European season so far?
Well, I would say that we have not always been the luckiest so far. From the pre-season tests onwards our cars and drivers had a good enough pace to fight at the front and Norman’s maiden win during the opening round in Barcelona proved us right. But already in Monaco we lost a win under the Virtual Safety Car. While Jordan then won in Austria, Silverstone and finished second in Hungary, Norman suffered from some technical gremlins. At the Hockenheimring both our drivers were victims of other drivers crashing into them and we left the German round not scoring a single point, which is tough for a team aiming to win the championship. In Spa’s Feature Race we should have seen Jordan and Norman on the podium, but a piece of metal hit Norman’s radiator during the race and put an end to his day and it also compromised his Sprint Race result due to the reverse grid rule. In Monza we were supposed to see Norman on the podium on Saturday already and Jordan should have finished at least in 4th, but the confusion about the safety car meant that our drivers dropped to 5th and 7th, losing out on many points. We were able to fight back on Sunday with Norman winning and Jordan finishing in 4th, but it was quite a symptomatic weekend of this season. We have very fast cars and drivers, but we don’t always have the luck that’s necessary as well to translate this into points.
Jordan King and Norman Nato are currently in 5th and 6th position respectively in the overall standings. Where do you expect them to finish the season?
Even though, as explained before, we were not always scoring the points we had within our reach, the championship is still wide open. I think in Monza we could demonstrate well that without any external factors hampering us, we can provide good battles on track – and also win them. I am therefore convinced that both our drivers will give their best during the remaining two rounds and knowing the effort our team are putting into their work, it would surprise me, if we’d not see our drivers higher up in the rankings.