2014 pre-season testing: Red Bull Ring | Day 2

1400-2Felix wrapped up preparations for the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship by spearheading the Mercedes charge as pre-season testing came to a close at the Red Bull Ring on Wednesday.

The second and last day of running in the Styrian Alps marked the final opportunity for teams and drivers to fine-tune their cars ahead of the imminent campaign, with Felix carrying out continued gearbox and engine electronics work.

Having completed a comprehensive programme in Budapest last weekend, Mücke Motorsport opted for a more restricted approach across the final two days of testing in an effort to limit excessive engine mileage.

As a result, Felix completed just 70 laps during the course of the day, and didn’t run at all when the fastest times were set in the final hour. Pace-setter Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), for reference, clocked up 133 laps to head the timesheets on a 1m23.690s best, while Felix wound up seventh overall on a 1m24.525s - slotting in behind six Volkswagen-powered cars as the top Mercedes representative.

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship fraternity now turns its attention towards British Grand Prix venue Silverstone, where the opening round of the season takes place next weekend (April 18-20).


“We’ve had two largely positive tests over the last week, and we’re happy with the programme we’ve managed to complete. We decided to keep running at a minimum today, sticking to the plan we agreed in Budapest, and continued to work primarily on the gearbox. There are still some issues to address; the downshifting is not as consistent as I would like, which in turn makes the car very sensitive under braking. We’re confident it will be all fine for Silverstone, however, and I think we have every reason to be optimistic going into the first race.

“Testing is always testing, and – as far as outright lap times are concerned – it’s impossible to draw any conclusions on relative performance. Here, for example, you can easily gain half a second in the first sector alone by cutting the kerb at the exit of Turn 1 – there’s no policing of that in testing.

“Combined with different run plans, fuel loads and tyre situations, it’s difficult to judge where we are compared to our main rivals, but my ambition for the season ahead obviously remains unchanged and I’m now fully focussed on doing the best job possible at Silverstone.”