23 June 2018
Antonio and Louis both did a fantastic job in some challenging track conditions

“Antonio and Louis both did a fantastic job in some challenging track conditions”

Team owner, Antonin Charouz  

Charouz Racing System scored an impressive double points finish during an eventful FIA Formula 2 Championship race at Circuit Paul Ricard in France today (23 June).

Eager to build on its double podium at the Monaco Grand Prix event last month, the Czech team showed some hugely impressive speed during the 30-lap race on the fast and flowing Le Castellet track.

The reward was a P4 finish for Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco, while ADS Securities-supported team-mate Louis Delétraz fought his way to a strong P6. Both drivers moved up a place in the results when podium finisher Roberto Merhi was disqualified after the race.

The fifth round of the 2018 season kicked off with a Friday qualifying session that proved to be more challenging than the team had expected. That meant Louis started the Feature Race from P9 on the grid while Antonio was P15.

Antonio’s race got off to a frustrating start when his car unexpectedly switched off at the beginning of the formation lap. Although he got moving again almost straight away, he was handed a 10-second, stop-go time penalty for receiving a start line restart.

With almost all of the track doused with rain during the early part of the race, both drivers had to tread carefully with Pirelli’s super-soft slick rubber on their cars, particularly as some sectors were wetter than others.

But their bravery and determination served them well as Louis revelled in the conditions to rocket up to P4 and Antonio fought his way up to P5 with a late move at the Mistral Straight chicane.

Antonio opted to serve his stop-go penalty on lap 5 and returned to the track in P17. But with 25 laps still to run, he pushed hard to recover as many places as he could.

Four laps later, Antonio was already up to P13 and Louis was battling to maintain his position close to the podium places. With his tyres rapidly losing performance, the Swiss driver wisely opted to surrender his P5 and make a trip into the pits for some fresh medium compound rubber on lap 14.

Antonio’s fightback was starting to gather serious momentum by this point and when the Italian exited the pits after his mandatory stop on lap 16, he found himself in P7, just a fraction ahead of his team-mate in P8.

With the track now starting to dry, both drivers made the most of their fresh rubber as they turned in a succession of impressive lap times. They also inherited a place each when Nirei Fukuzumi made his pit stop.

As the race neared its conclusion, Louis was unable to climb any higher than P7 on the track and accepted the place (later to become P6) to register his third consecutive point-scoring finish in the F2 category.

Antonio meanwhile, still had the chance to catch Nyck De Vries who was just ahead of him and his pressure paid on the final lap. He nipped past his Dutch rival to crown a magnificent fightback from P17 and claim P5 on the track (later to become P4).

Today’s Feature Race results mean Louis will start from P3 on the reversed grid for tomorrow’s Sprint Race, while Antonio will line up in P5.

Team owner, Antonin Charouz, said: “We’re pretty happy with our work today. We wanted to back our Monaco success up with a strong performance in France and we definitely did that. Antonio and Louis both did a fantastic job in some challenging track conditions and their points have pushed us up to P5 in the teams’ championship which is something we’re very proud of as a rookie team. I hope we can enjoy more success tomorrow.”

Team principal, Bob Vavrik, said: “It was a very chaotic race today but I’m very pleased with the results and performance. The stop-go penalty for Antonio was correct and we can only learn from that mistake. But after that Antonio pushed like crazy and Louis also drove well to move up the order after a good start. We’re performing consistently at the moment and we need to keep doing that to make sure we continue to take as many points as possible.”

Antonio Fuoco said: “That was definitely a fun race and I think we did the maximum we could today. I was unlucky because car switched off at the start and we still don’t know why. But I did a good start and I felt comfortable with the car for the whole race. I think we showed we had good pace today and I’m really happy for everyone, especially the team. This result shows what you can do when you never give up and always work hard.”

Louis Delétraz said: “I had a really good start and passed many cars – I made up five places on the first lap. I like the ‘slick on damp’ conditions and it was certainly interesting on the slippery track with the turbo car! Unfortunately I dropped quite a lot of time with the tyres losing their performance and that affected my chances to go any higher. I think P6 is a good position – it’s not perfect – but we survived and it gives me P3 on the reversed grid for tomorrow’s race. I hope I can make the most of that.”

Antonio and Louis both did a fantastic job in some challenging track conditions

“Antonio and Louis both did a fantastic job in some challenging track conditions”

Team owner, Antonin Charouz