Russian teenager Egor Orudzhev has moved up into the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in 2015 with Arden Motorsport, having been a contender in the supporting Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series in 2014.
The nineteen-year-old from Saint Petersburg spoke to The Checkered Flag ahead of his rookie Formula Renault 3.5 Series season, with the Russian revealing that initially he didn’t enjoy motorsport, but once he drove a kart, his opinion was changed. As it became more serious, he found backing from the SMP Racing Driver Programme, who continue to assist towards his budget to this day.
“In the beginning I didn’t like motorsport,” revealed Orudzhev. “I found it boring just driving lap by lap. Than my dad brought me to rental kart, so I tried it and I liked it.
“After that I did few races and I was quite good, so we continued and eventually we are here. At one point it became serious as my parents were not able to pay all budget and I was lucky to get involved in SMP Racing Driver Programme.
“The last two years they have supported me financially in 2.0 car and I am still in their programme so they help this season as well.”
Orudzhev spoke about the ups and downs of his 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 campaign, where he entered the season as one of the pre-season favourites, but could only finish eighth in the standings with only three podium finishes. But despite his disappointments, he felt there was some optimism to come from the season.
“There been some ups and downs but mainly the speed was there so there was potential,” said the Russian. “I’ve scored few podiums during last season in 2.0 and a few fastest laps, and that brings some optimism.”
Orudzhev tested for both Arden and Fortec Motorsports at the post-season FR3.5 tests at Jerez last season, and felt more at home with Arden. He believes he is in a good team that will push him to the next level of competitiveness.
“We were thinking about which series to try after 2014 so I did a first test after the last round,” revealed Orudzhev. “We were thinking about Formula 3 and GP3 as well, but I have tried 3.5 and went pretty well. So I wanted to drive 3.5 and luckily the sponsors agreed and put me here.
“We tried 2 teams and I liked Arden more. Also the team was quite pleased with my testing and eventually we signed a contract.
“Everyone tries to help you and pushes you to be quicker more than in teams I raced before. Also the atmosphere in a team is really nice. Everyone is friendly and help each other so it works like a really good professional team.”
Orudzhev admits there is much to learn in 2015 after stepping up from Formula Renault 2.0 to 3.5, with a much more difficult car to learn to drive with less testing opportunities available to him.
“Its a big step from 2.0 car to 3.5,” insists Orudzhev. “Firstly you have to prepare yourself physically as its much more difficult to drive. Secondly there are many more things you need to do and to look after while driving.
“Also [there are] loads more procedures, but at the same time you have less test days to adapt. So you work much more with an engineer during the winter break.”
Looking ahead to the new season, the Russian is hopeful of being competitive, and improving his driving during the year, with his aim of being on the podium and in the points on a regular basis. He knows 2015 is important after not having the best of years in 2014, especially with his sponsors looking on with a keen interest.
“I look forward to understand the car better and being quicker and quicker round by round,” said Orudzhev. “I would like to be constantly in points and maybe score a few podiums.
“We don’t really know our real pace compare to others just yet but I would be pleased if it went that way. It’s quite important as the 2014 season didn’t go well as expected. So the sponsors hope I do well this year.”