Hugo de Sadeleer is making his full-time debut in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series in 2015 with Tech 1 Racing, having made a one-off appearance in the championship for the team at Paul Ricard last September.
The seventeen-year-old from Lausanne in Switzerland is also running in the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS championship with the team for a second season, having taken his maiden podium finish in the series at Pau last May.
Talking to The Checkered Flag ahead of the season opening Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series weekend at Motorland Aragon, de Sadeleer revealed that a former Formula 1 driver has assisted his career so far, with a trip to a go-karting track at an early age opening his eyes to motorsport.
“I began doing some trials biking with Erik Comas, who has always been my mentor and an Idol,” revealed de Sadeleer. “One day we went to a go-karting track, he taught me the basics of cornering and braking, from that point I fell in love with the sport, I was about nine years old at the time.
“From then on, after having nagged my parents for about three years, I ended up asking a friend’s father, whose son was go-karting at the time, to see if I could integrate into a team.
“I ended up going to my first race with only one test day, my first race was a disaster and I got hit out because I managed to find my way to sixth place even though I was one of the slower ones.”
The Swiss teenager feels he couldn’t be better placed at this stage of his career, and feels at home with Tech 1 Racing. He feels fortunate that he was handed the opportunity to be a part of the BMW Talent Cup, but feels 2014 was his true debut year in motorsport in Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS.
“I couldn’t hope to be in a better situation, however certain aspects of my career feel incomplete,” insisted de Sadeleer. “My karting career ended after my first International race, at that time I had been given the opportunity to try out for the BMW Talent Cup, and fortunately I took the opportunity and was taken into the program.
“After a year of learning, I was not old enough to compete in a championship. I then proceeded in doing a year off to get to know the Formula Renault 2.0.
“Having himself achieved the glory of Formula 1, he [Erik Comas] explained where to go. Tech 1 were clearly one of the top teams in the sport, however they also had values which some other teams did not possess. Tech 1 Racing provided a more efficient and complete programme to develop my abilities.
“The team is like one big family, always laughing and working together, and when a problem occurs everyone is there to help and get the driver and the car back on their feet. The team really do it for the passion of the sport, and all they want is to help the drivers’ progress.
“There mentality is such that if the driver is taught correctly the results will follow. In my time with the team I have seen quite a few drivers, never has there been confidentiality between mechanics or favouritism for drivers.”
De Sadeleer feels his Tech 1 Racing team-mates Anthoine Hubert and Simon Gachet are in a great position to fight for the championship in 2015, while the Swiss driver will aim to develop his driving and learn from his team-mates so he is in the position to challenge for the title the following year.
“My team-mates this year have the speed to win the championship, meaning that I have everything I need to learn and be competitive,” insisted de Sadeleer. “It’s always important for me to compare myself to my team-mates as they are some of the fastest drivers in the tests, it help me realise how much I have to work, and that I have the car to get to the top of the charts.”
“This year will be all about learning and maturing as a driver, as it is my first year in Eurocup and second year in the car. I look forward to giving my best and seeing my progression, and achieve as many top ten finishes as possible. That is my goal, and it’s the only way if I want a chance at the title in 2016.”