Round 10: Suzuka, Japan (27 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P7 – Joni Törmälä: P17
In Suzuka, it was clear right from qualifying that this race would be closely contested. Sebastian Job made it through to Q3 and started from tenth, while Joni Törmälä went out in Q1 and so had to start from P18. That presented him with a tough task but our Finn set about it with vigour. During a three-way battle, he was hit going into Spoon Curve which ruined his race. Job had a better time of it, running a long first stint on the Hard tyres, getting as high as P2 before switching to the Mediums. After the pit stop, he had good pace and kept out of trouble to finish seventh. Nicolas Longuet won for Alfa Romeo.
Round 11: Interlagos, Brazil (36 Laps)
Sebastian Job: P10 – Josh Idowu: P16
This time the Job-Idowu pairing flew our colours with Seb starting from P10 and Josh in P14 on the grid. The Interlagos track was damp which meant everyone started the race on Intermediate tyres. Positions remained pretty much unchanged up to lap 17, when the track became dry enough to switch to slick tyres. Our duo went for different strategies: Idowu fitted Hards while Job opted for Mediums, which appeared to be the better choice as Sebastian managed to work his way into the points in P10. Our Welsh driver was out of the points in a race won by McLaren Shadow’s Lucas Blakeley.
Round 12: Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi (29 Laps)
Josh Idowu: P3 – Joni Törmälä: P19
Josh Idowu ensured we ended the season with a strong performance, taking pole position at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, going on to finish third. In the race, the Welshman’s pace and strategy meant he had to give best to the Haas of Thomas Ronhaard and Oracle Red Bull Racing Esports’ Frederik Rasmussen,. Joni Törmälä was out of luck in this last race: despite showing good pace which meant a points finish looked likely, as he was coming in for his pit stop, he was unable to avoid an Alpine that had slowed very suddenly ahead of him.
“In the first race, Brazil, the pace was there but I made a mistake in qualifying and after that, it was hard to make up positions in the race in the damp conditions. For Abu Dhabi, I felt very confident and had good pace. I was able to grab pole position, which is always nice. Unfortunately, in the race I made a tiny strategy mistake which meant I was stuck down in P3 and couldn’t recover from there. Overall, a good race to end the season in which we almost got fifth place in the Teams’ Championship, but I’m proud of the drivers and everyone in the team for working so hard.”
“In Qualifying for Japan I had no grip but in the race I was actually climbing up towards the points and I was in P10 until another car crashed into me. I was going strong, but in the end I got nothing out of it. In Abu Dhabi, for the first time this season, I nailed Q1 and Q2 and I might even have been on for pole in Q3 but I messed up the final sector and started P9. In the race, I got a really good start to move up to P7. We went for the undercut on Sipos. He braked super early for the pit lane, I couldn’t avoid hitting him and broke my wing. After that I focused on helping Josh, giving him DRS and whatever he needed. It’s been a really hard season for me but I pushed all the way.”
“Suzuka qualifying went well, getting into Q3. In the race there was absolute carnage and I spun out on lap one, which put me at the back. We had to try something wild, so we decided to stay out. On fresh tyres I was able to fight my way up to ninth and with penalties for others, I ended up seventh. Brazil was the most boring of the season because it started wet and ended dry and unfortunately, the change was very gradual so it didn’t matter on what lap you pitted you wouldn’t lose any time. I was P11 before and after the stop and did one overtake in the dry for the final point. A shame, as my race pace was good. A pretty good season from a team point of view.”