Alexander Rossi: “Another Weekend for us to Forget”

The EQ8 Caterham Racing team left Silverstone without adding to their points tally as both Rio Haryanto and Alexander Rossi endured difficult weekends at the British circuit. Aside from practice, neither driver troubled the top ten when it mattered most, and the pre-season favourites continue to place only eighth in the Teams’ Championship.

Haryanto qualified in fourteenth, seven tenths of a second behind the pole time of Raffaele Marciello, but struggled to get off the line on Saturday, meaning he was last at the first corner. He could only climb to twenty-first by the end of the race.

“I had a terrible start which is unusual for me but I was on the damp side of the grid and just couldn’t find the clutch biting point,” said Haryanto. “I was last going into the first corner and managed to overtake a few cars on the opening lap but from there I struggled for pace on the prime tyre.

“It was a disappointing day today and the main problem was the start and I just lost too many places plus the track conditions were also difficult with damp patches off line making overtaking more difficult.”

The Sprint race started out relatively good for the Indonesian driver, as he climbed up to thirteenth, but his race was to end early when his gearbox broke. He has now failed to score a point since taking the podium in Monaco in May.

“Lining up 21st I had to make the most of my start and going from 21st to 13th on the first lap was exactly what I needed,” said Haryanto. “Throughout the race I made sure I looked after my tyres so that I had something left to fight with at the end, but as I started to push I had a problem with the gearbox and could not down shift going into turn 15.

“It is a really unfortunate end to the weekend, but the car felt good and I have a strong feeling that we could have caught and passed at least three of the cars ahead, taking us into the top ten.”

Team-mate Rossi had a disappointing qualifying to start only sixteenth, and then lost places as he was delayed getting around Haryanto. He gambled on an early pit stop, but due to running at a similar pace to those around him, he could not get any higher than twelfth at the flag, finishing just over four seconds away from Daniel Abt in the final points paying position in tenth, but almost ten seconds adrift from eighth and reverse grid pole that Stephane Richelmi ultimately took.

“It was a difficult start as Rio had a problem right in front of me, which meant I lost a couple of spots off the line trying to get around him,” commented Rossi. “I was lacking grip on the option tyre as I did in qualifying, so we pitted very early for the primes.

“After the stop the car felt ok on the hard tyre and we were running at a similar pace to the cars around us, so from that stand point it was difficult to move forward and improve on our position.”

A stall on the grid for the Sprint race eliminated any chance Rossi had of making a move through to the points paying positions on Sunday, and he ended the race a lap down in twenty-first. The failure to score points meant that the American, one of the pre-season championship favourites, has now had four weekends out of five where he has failed to score anything, and he remains a lowly sixteenth in the championship.

“I was not happy with the clutch on the pit open lap, so we made a change to the clutch map on the grid,” said Rossi. “The change was not a big enough step and once you stall in GP2 your race is pretty much over.

I drove flat out for the entire race, but when you’re a lap down there is not much you can do unless there is a safety car. The tyre degradation was minimal today, which is positive, but were still missing outright pace. With no points scored, it’s another weekend for us to forget.”