Tom Dillmann spoke to The Checkered Flag following his race two retirement at Silverstone, and revealed that he is set to leave Formula Renault 3.5 at the end of the season to try and find a professional drive to further his career.
After a strong drive to fifth during race one on Saturday, Dillmann was expecting another strong performance on Sunday, but was surprised and disappointed to find the set-up of the car nowhere near where it needed to be, and after expecting to be challenging for a podium, he was forced into an early retirement when he clashed with Tech 1 Racing’s Roy Nissany.
“It was quite a bad day,” reflected Dillmann. “It was really strange because yesterday in the race we were really quick, maybe the quickest, so I was expecting a lot today but from the first lap in quali we were nowhere.
“I was really surprised, we ended up 1 second off which we can still not understand. When you start there, you are always amid the trouble, it got messy on the first lap, I had a bit of contact with someone and spun, and then when I was coming back and when I came out of the pits, Nissany put his front wing in my rear wheel so that was it.
“The race yesterday was really good, the car was nice to drive and it was quick, it was a cool race, I was really expecting to be fighting for the podium or the win but this morning was a big disappointment.”
Dillmann admitted it was nice to have his future secured early for 2015, but feels that Carlin are still playing catch up following a year away from the series in 2014. He feels a little frustrated that things have not worked out as well as he had hoped they would, and feels a long way from his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series victory.
“This year it was really nice [to have my future confirmed early], before Christmas I knew what I was doing for the first time in my career,” said Dillmann. “I had a really relaxed winter, with a lot of focus and physical preparation, but unfortunately there were only four days of testing and it was really hard to catch up, and we are still catching up.
“[This season] we are struggling, the team it started from zero again, so it was a risk that we were going to play catch up, but we did not make the progress I was hoping for.
“We still do not understand what the car needs; when we are quick we don’t know why and when we are slow we don’t know why. I also had to figure out the driving style because it’s different to GP2.
“Now my driving style is okay but we are still struggling. We are stuck where we are at the moment, we don’t really make progress, and it’s hard to judge what we can do in the remaining races.
“I think its still a long way from that first win; from Lotus and Fortec we are quite far away, on a good day we can beat everybody else but Lotus and Fortec it is more difficult.”
Before making the move into Formula Renault 3.5, Dillmann had been exploring his options, and was set for a move into the world of GT and endurance racing, and expects his 2016 season to be in a professional series rather than in another year on the feeder series ladder to Formula 1.
“I think I was more heading into GT and endurance races for this year before the great opportunity to do one more year in single seaters with Carlin,” said Dillmann. “It’s great to be here but I think my future is more in a series where I can be professional so we will see, such as WEC, GT, Formula E of Super Formula in Japan.
“For feeder series though it should be the end for me, that’s my aim actually.”
Amongst Dillmann’s potential options for the future is Formula E, and tested with the Team Aguri outfit at Donington Park, but the Frenchman admits it may come down to bringing a budget to the team to be able to get the ride.
“The test went well, I’m still on the shortlist for the drive but it might come to budget in the end,” said Dillmann, “as it’s one of the smallest teams, so we will see what happens.
“In any case I’ve tried the car and know what to expect so if I need to jump like I often do, like I do in GP2 and jump into a race weekend, I am ready.”