Strong chasing performances from HWA RACELAB drivers go unrewarded in Spa

HWA RACELAB was unable to secure a points finish at the FIA Formula 3 Championship race weekend in Spa-Francorchamps. Technical problems prevented them from recording a better result. However, Jack Doohan (Australia), Enzo Fittipaldi (Brazil) and Jake Hughes (Great Britain) once again delivered proof of their potential with impressive chasing performances in Sunday’s race and the fastest times in some sessions.

  • P12 and DNF for Jack Doohan, P26 and P12 for Enzo Fittipaldi, DNF and P17 for Jake Hughes
  • best time in free practice for Jack Doohan, fastest lap time for Jake Hughes
  • Enzo Fittipaldi: “Improving by 14 places is clearly impressive.”
  • Jake Hughes: “We did not reach the level of performance that we have had in the past.”
  • Jack Doohan: “I hope I will have better luck in Monza.”
  • Thomas Strick: “We just had a few technical problems too many this weekend.”

Spa-Francorchamps, 30th August 2020 – The race weekend at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps began perfectly for HWA RACELAB: on the 7.004.kilometre circuit in the Belgian Ardennes, 17-year-old Jack Doohan (Australia) recorded the fastest time in the free practice session on Friday morning.

He also set the first fastest time in qualifying, before a red flag interrupted the session. As the rain came in, Jack found it increasingly difficult to remain involved in the battle for the top grid positions. However, 13th place appeared to a be a promising starting point for his attempts to secure a top 10 finish and reach the points on the following day.

Jack made a good start to Saturday's race, overtaking two cars in the first few metres. He entered Eau Rouge in tenth place. Jack continued to apply pressure but a virtual safety car phase put a stop to the racing on lap three. A technical problem saw Jack lose some pace in this phase and his rivals took advantage to draw closer and make use of their DRS systems to overtake Jack once the racing restarted. The Australian driver fell back to eleventh position on lap seven. He slipped back another place one lap later as he was unable to prevent another overtake. Jack attempted to go back on the attack but no longer had the same pace as at the start of the race. The son of five-time motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan crossed the line in twelfth place after an error-free race.

He then mounted another attack on the points positions on Sunday, making a good start to the race. Jack moved up to eleventh but lost speed under braking as events on the track became hectic on lap one, allowing his rivals to move closer. Jack was not at fault as another car hit him in the last turn before the home straight. He headed to the pits with tyre damage and was forced to retire from the race.

Enzo Fittipaldi (Brazil) also enjoyed a promising start to the weekend, with sixth place in the free practice session. However, he struggled with the same heavy traffic as Jack in qualifying and had few opportunities to record a fast lap on the wet surface, securing 15th place on the grid.

In Saturday’s race, the 19-year-old moved up at the start but a flat tyre stopped him in his tracks. He had to make a pit stop for a tyre change and fell all the way back through the field. His race was over and was unable to improve on 26th place.

On Sunday, Enzo drove like a man unleashed. He overtook three cars from the start and passed another four competitors on lap one as he leapt up to 19th place. Enzo continued to use his good pace for overtaking as the race progressed, reaching 15th place by lap two. On laps eight and nine, he chose the inside line on the same turn to move past another two cars and claim 13th place. However, Enzo was unable to continue his progress as the gap to the cars in front was just too great. But he moved up to twelfth after another car retired and crossed the finishing line in the same position. After an impressive chasing performance, the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi had improved by no less than 14 places. 

After his victory in Barcelona in the previous round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship, Jake Hughes (Great Britain) approached the race weekend in Belgium with high hopes. However, the 26-year-old was confronted with problems from the word go. He was off the pace in free practice and got bogged down in traffic in qualifying, before the rain slowed him down. He had to be content with starting from twelfth on the grid.

The British driver remained out of luck on Saturday. A defective starter meant that he was unable to get his car going before the warm-up lap. Jake had to start the race from the pit lane and catch up with the rest of the field. Jake found the right pace regardless and started the chase. He recorded the fastest lap time on lap six and had already moved up to 21st position by this time. However, Jake collided with another driver while attempting to make up more ground on lap 12. He headed for the pits with damage to the front wing and was forced to retire.

Jake then had to start Sunday’s race from 29th place but did not hang around at the back for long. A good start saw him move up to 22nd on lap one and he had reached 19th place by lap six. Jake struggled with the balance of the car at the midway point of the race as overtaking manoeuvres became more difficult. He went on the attack again at the end, moving up to 18th and then 17th on the final lap.

The FIA Formula 3 Championship will continue on 5th and 6th September with two races in Monza.

Reactions to the race weekend

Enzo Fittipaldi (19, Brazil, #14), P26 and P12  
“These were my first races on this great track, that was something special for me. I struggled with the pace in qualifying. We were only able to record one fast lap, then the red flag came out and it started to rain. We certainly had the potential to do better. A flat tyre saw my race finish pretty quickly on Saturday. I did continue after the tyre change and my pace was good - but I couldn’t do any better than 26th place. Sunday’s race was totally different. From P26 to P12, that was really good. Improving by 14 places is clearly impressive. My pace was good and the overtaking manoeuvres were a lot of fun. I would like to build on that in Monza and I am really looking forward to it.”   

Jake Hughes (26, Great Britain, #15), DNF and P17
“We finished empty-handed here so it was a disappointing weekend overall. Things didn't go according to plan from the start and we did not reach the level of performance that we had with the car in Silverstone and Barcelona. I had a defective starter on the grid on Saturday, although we really hadn’t had any problems with that before. The fastest lap proves that I was on the pace during the race. But you always take more risks when you are chasing and there was a collision – although I don’t think that I was at fault. A damaged front wing meant that I was unable to continue. Starting from the penultimate position on Sunday didn’t promise much. We took an increased risk with the downforce as we had nothing to lose. That meant that it wasn't so easy to steer the car but it paid off as we improved by 12 places to finish 17th. This allowed to me to finish off the weekend on a positive note. Now we have to get back to where we were with the car setup on the previous two race weekends. That is the goal for Monza.”   

Jack Doohan (17, Australia, #16), P12 and DNF
“I had a great start in Saturday’s race, I overtook two cars at once on turn one and moved up to tenth place. I was able to pull away from my rivals behind me a bit and apply some pressure to the cars in front. Then there was a virtual safety car phase when we had a technical problem. I lost nearly two seconds and dropped out of the DRS window. The cars behind me all had DRS and were able to use it. I no longer had the best grip with my tyres and fell back to twelfth place. I made another pretty good start on Sunday and moved up to eleventh. It got pretty hectic out there in the second sector and I made a braking error as I left some space for the car behind in the corner, as I thought he would overtake me but he didn't go past. Then I felt a bump on the final turn before the start-finish straight and I had a flat tyre. The other driver apologised to me after the race. But unfortunately, that was the end of my race. Now we have to concentrate on Monza, where I hope I will have better luck.”  

Thomas Strick, Team Principal HWA RACELAB
“Unfortunately, we just had a few technical problems too many this weekend, which prevented us from scoring any points. Even in Formula 3, everything has to be right on the money if you want to finish at the top. Essentially, we are on the pace and our drivers have delivered proof of their skills with fast times and strong chasing performances. Looking ahead to Monza, we will have to do everything to fix the problems that occurred and make the most of our potential.”   

Result of 1st race on Saturday 29th August:
1.     L. Zendeli                       Trident                                        38:04.971
12.   Jack Doohan                  HWA RACELAB                             38:31:849
26.   Enzo Fittipaldi               HWA RACELAB                             39:55.839
DNF Jake Hughes                  HWA RACELAB                             DNF

Result of 2nd race on Sunday 30th August:
1.      L. Sargeant                      PREMA Racing                          37:52.233
12.    Enzo Fittipaldi                  HWA RACELAB                           38:23.662
17.    Jake Hughes                     HWA RACELAB                           38:35.958
DNF Jack Doohan                     HWA RACELAB                           DNF


About HWA AG
HWA AG is an independent, 360° engineering specialist in the fields of automobile racing and high-performance cars. Formed in 1998 by Hans Werner Aufrecht, the company is based in Affalterbach (Germany) and employs roughly 300 highly-qualified members of staff. HWA AG offers all its products and services under the motto ENGINEERING SPEED: The company’s objective is to develop the best possible, high-quality solutions, in order to get its partners and customers to their destination quicker. The portfolio of services ranges from designing all vehicle components to assembling complete cars, together with the relevant logistics, after-sales and support services.

HWA RACELAB is HWA AG’s operations team in motorsport. It brings together experienced specialists in high-quality race engineering and the associated services, in pursuit of success on the motorsport scene. HWA RACELAB entered Formula E as a new team in the 2018/19 season, adding a future-oriented string to HWA’s wealth of racetrack expertise. HWA RACELAB has also been competing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship since 2019 and will be appearing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship from 2020. With eleven Drivers’ titles and over 180 race wins as a works team for Mercedes-AMG in the DTM, the company is one of the most successful players in international motorsport. HWA RACELAB also draws on the company’s other core areas of expertise, such as the development, assembly and running of GT cars for customer racing, as well as the assembly of Formula 3 race engines.


Annette Hörsch

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