- Weekend of less to more for the Spanish team, which concludes in the third race with the car of Fernando Barrichello in seventh place.
- Both riders and, especially, technicians and students of the Barcelona motorsport school draw great professional lessons from a weekend full of weather difficulties.
- “In a group like ours, which mixes three new drivers with a block of professional technicians and racing mechanics students, experiences like this weekend make us grow as a team and, undoubtedly, we will come very well in the future”says Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School.
Monlau Motul Technical School closed last weekend the inaugural event of the Spanish Formula 4, held in the Belgian route of Spa-Francorchamps, with very good sensations and a great progression of all its components. After a weekend start marked by adverse weather, which delayed the team’s three drivers in the first two starting grids, Fernando Barrichello managed to say goodbye with a good taste of mouth the meeting achieving an excellent seventh place in the last qualifying round, a result that highlights its great evolution in the competition’s squad.
Spa-Francorchamps received the Spanish F4 fulfilling much of the feared topics that always surround the track of the Ardennes. The cold and rain were the first traveling companions of the new pilots of Monlau Motul Technical School, Ricardo Gracia, Fernando Barrichello and Pablo Sarrazin, greatly complicating their progress, particularly in the first qualifying round, held entirely on wet ground. The chain of red flags motivated by multiple accidents and difficulty adapting to circumstances deprived the three drivers of scoring fast laps in conditions, which delayed them to the later half of grid in the first two races.
However, the first learnings for the entire structure emerged from this, as Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School, states: “In a group like ours, which mixes three new drivers with a block of professional technicians and racing mechanics students, the beginnings are always complicated and require some adaptation. If we add to this the challenging conditions of Spa, with a wet time and a first race with changing soil from wet to dry, the demand has been maximum for everyone from minute one. But such situations are what make us grow as a team and, no doubt, they will come in handy in the future”.
The first qualifying round started on Friday afternoon with the track wet but a partially dry line. Although these conditions were not the best to sign big recoveries, the Monlau Motul riders experienced great progress, particularly Ricardo Gracia, who climbed from 17th place to 13th place. Later they concluded Pablo Sarrazin, 21st -but as author of the ninth best lap of the test-, and Fernando Barrichello, 24th. Similar story in the second race, played on Saturday under sun and heat, and in which Gracia progressed to 12th place finishing as best driver of the Spanish team, ahead of Pablo Sarrazin (17th) and Fernando Barrichello (24th).
Saturday also reserved space in its program for the celebration of the second qualifying round, whose task was to order the Sunday grid. On this occasion, dry asphalt allowed Monlau Motul Technical School riders to attack without fear, and the times responded accordingly. Fernando Barrichello surprised everyone with a magnificent 10th place, preceding a solid Ricardo Gracia (13th) and a Sarrazin who also progressed on Friday’s result (17th).
On Sunday, the humidity, the cold (with 13ºC in the atmosphere a few minutes from the lights going out) and a track without rubber as a result of the rain the night before, posed a final test of height for the pilots Monlau Motul. A challenge they saved by brushing against excellence. Fernando Barrichello’s improved confidence lifted him to a brilliant seventh place finish, ahead of Ricardo Gracia, who although he crossed the finish in eleventh place ended up relegated to 21st by a penalty. Pablo Sarrazin had been fighting in the center of the squad, but a somewhat optimistic action by two rivals at the Bruxelles curve ended up damaging his car and precipitating his retirement.
Monlau Motul concludes the first meeting of 2023 with seven points and many intangibles, some of which David Simón, team manager of the team, points out in his assessment pilot to pilot: “We returned home satisfied. Ricardo Gracia stroked the points in all races, with a faster pace than the rivals and only punished for his starting position, especially on Friday and Saturday. Fernando Barrichello lived one weekend from less to more. Having never rolled in water, which prevented him to catch sensations and mark a timed lap in Q1, to fight on Sunday with a semi-dry track and cross the checkered flag in seventh place. Pablo Sarrazin grew and improved, although his results do not reward the demonstrated potential. At Friday’s appointment, a piece impacted the steering linkage and ballasted his performance throughout the race, and on Sunday he was unintentionally affected by a third-party incident”.
The second meeting of the Spanish F4 will be held between 26, 27 and 28 May at the circuit of Motorland Aragon.