HWA Racelab upbeat as season draws near

by Joe Ellis

German FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 team HWA Racelab believe they are in a good position to make an impact when both championships kick off in Bahrain in two weeks time.

The F2 team spent a large proportion of their three day test at the Sakhir International Circuit trying to get their heads around the new 18-inch tyres and as a result didn’t post as competitive a lap as they maybe were expected to.

Drivers Artem Markelov and Guiliano Alesi finished multiple sessions at the bottom of the time sheets but were focusing more on race runs.

They did produce a couple of good times, with Markelov collecting a pair of top three places in morning sessions and Alesi with a second and a sixth.

Alesi getting work done even as the sun goes down. Credit: FIA Formula 2.

Markelov said, “I have really enjoyed the days here with the team. We have done some very good work and made progress with the set – up of the car. There is still a lot to do, as far as the driving is concerned.

“Hopefully we can use free practice and qualifying on the opening race weekend to make more improvements. They were very nice tests. Hopefully the results over the course of the season will be just as good

Alesi added, “The tests were very positive. We managed to consistently improve the car’s performance. We soon gained insights into what impact the new tyres will have. Working with my new team is very enjoyable – HWA feels like a second home to me. I am already looking forward to the start of the season. We have worked hard. We must now do a lot of analysis and fine tuning, in order to be at our very best at the season – opener.”

The F3 team are heading into their second season after winning their first race in 2019 courtesy of Jake Hughes.

The Brit is back in 2020 but missed a portion of the test as he drove for the Mercedes EQ Formula e Team in the rookie test at Marrakesh.

Alongside the 25-year-old veteran (at least in F3 terms) will be Enzo Fittipaldi, 18, and Jack Doohan, 17, who both make their F3 bows in 2020.

Jake Hughes was the team’s fastest F3 driver despite missing half of the test. Credit: FIA Formula 3.

Hughes said, “The tests were very positive for me and the whole team. I arrived a little late from the Formula E rookie tests in Marrakesh. The engines in the two cars are very different. However, I soon found my feet and was quick from the first lap on Monday morning.

“We started with the race simulations, and the pace was strong from the word go. We then picked up where we left off today. I can really be happy with fifth and second place. There are certainly a few aspects of the car that can be improved, but I am very optimistic. If we had produced the perfect lap and finished in the top ten, I would have been a little disappointed.

“However, the car still has a lot of potential and we are already well positioned. I am also pleased about Enzo and Jack’s strong performances. Having two quick team – mates is always a positive thing. Bring on the season.”

Brazilian Fittipaldi added, “I have a very good feeling after the first tests with HWA RACELAB. We struggled a little on the first day, but stayed calm, kept working hard and improved aspects of the car that needed optimising. We took a big step in the right direction on day two, and improved again on day three.

We are heading in the right direction as we approach the start of the season. I am very happy with the job the team is doing. I get on very well with Jake and Jack and am looking forward to the opening race weekend in Bahrain. We already had good race and qualifying pace here, which gives me hope for a successful start to the season. I am ready.”

And Finally, Doohan said, “The tests ended very positively for me, with third place today. That is a very good position, from which to start the season. The days here have been tiring. I first had to get used to the car, because I drove various different cars over the winter. However, I found a good balance today and coped well with the tyre management. I was also able to consistently improve my qualifying pace.

They may only have been tests, but I think we have laid a good foundation as a team over the past few days. I am looking forward to the opening race weekend and hoping for a successful season. I would like to thank the team for the exceptional job it has done for the past three days. Everyone has been very helpful to me.”

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