Sebastien Viger, Racing Engineering’s Technical Director, looks back at the Monaco weekend.
Sebastien, before talking about GP2, yesterday Racing Engineering’s 2015 GP2 runner up Alexander Rossi won the legendary Indy 500. What does this mean for Racing Engineering?
Well, it’s a huge feeling! We knew that Alex was very quick after his time with us finishing the GP2 Series in second. But coming back to the States, winning the 500 at his first attempt after only 6 starts in Indy Car is just amazing! Actually he took the pole at Monaco with us last year, participated in Le Mans and won the Indy 500. So for all people who know motorsport, they can judge how quick he is!
The team just got back from Monaco, where Norman Nato, after leading for most of the Feature Race finished in second place. A lot of people didn’t understand what happened during the final laps and how Norman could not finish on the top spot. Can you tell us how this happened, Mr. Vigier?
Actually it also took us quite some time to process and understand which we did only after several hours at the stewards’. This showed how wrong things went for us with the multiple Virtual Safety Cars. Basically, Markelov was very lucky as he took the VSC on slow zones where he was not loosing time and Norman and others took it on fast zones, which resulted in huge time losses. Well done by Russian Time and Artem, who did a good race and took the opportunity. But for us this is a hard pill to swallow at the moment when only a few laps separate you from the race win in Monaco.
Nevertheless, after winning the feature race in Barcelona, finishing second in Monaco and scoring points in the Sprint Race as well, Norman is currently leading the 2016 GP2 championship. The hard work done during winter is paying off?
It’s obviously good to translate the preparation work into results. It’s also fair to say that there were some raised eyebrows when Norman said this winter that he would go for the championship after a not so good season in 2015, but he is a quick and intelligent driver and we will work on keeping this pace throughout the season. However, it’s a strong field this year and the championship is far from finished even though we have been able to show a strong performance from the very beginning with both cars.
Norman goes to Baku as championship leader. What will Racing Engineering do to ensure he continues in this position?
As mentioned before, the championship is far from finished and we need to build up a bigger cushion. Sirotkin, Gasly and King are very fast but some mistakes have put them on the backfoot so Norman needs to capitalise on this. As for Jordan, he will need to translate his speed into big points to close in on Norman, so there will be some exciting races ahead for sure.