The W Series heads to the Spa Feancorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend with all of their thoughts with the family of circuit CEO Nathalie Maillet who died last week.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s race, Dave Ryan said:
“It’s great that we will start the second half of the season at Spa – one of the best circuits in the world which so many of the drivers are looking forward to racing at. The list of corners – including Pouhon, Stavelot, Blanchimont and Eau Rouge – is legendary, as are the previous Formula 1 winners – including Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Bruce McLaren, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and, of course, W Series’ very own David Coulthard. The victorious W Series driver this weekend will rightly feel very proud. At Spa there is a distinct possibility that the drivers will see changeable weather conditions for the first time this season and, should that be the case, it will be very interesting to see how they cope.
“Jamie [Chadwick] and Alice [Powell] have been the standout performers so far this season, but there is still a long way to go and one bad round could give lots of other drivers an opportunity. The chasing pack is getting stronger at every race and that development is great to see. Nerea [Martí], for example, is now third in the standings after getting her first podium in Hungary and I expect to see more challengers at the front as the season progresses.”
Defending champion Jamie Chadwick leads the standings by one point from Alice Powell. Speaking ahead of the race, Chadwick said:
As we enter the second half of the season, I’m feeling really positive. The first four races have gone very quickly and all of us have experienced ups and downs so far. But my confidence is really high after winning the last race in Hungary and that gives me good momentum going into the second half of the year.
“The victory in Budapest felt like an important one. I had lost the championship lead at the previous round at Silverstone and knew that finishing behind Alice [Powell] again would make winning the championship a real challenge and force me to be very attacking in the second half of the year. So, to regain the championship lead and do it in the fashion I did was a real boost.
“I’ve enjoyed some downtime during the four-week summer break. It’s been nice to get away on holiday and do some different training too – I did a triathlon a couple of weeks ago which I’ve been looking forward to for ages – so I’m feeling fresh and hoping that I can hit the ground running at Spa.
“I’ve raced at Spa in British GT and British F3 but haven’t been there for a few years. It’s one of my favourite circuits in the world and I’ll be looking to use that experience to my advantage. The first and last sectors are all about carrying straight-line speed so you can try to run with really low downforce, but in the middle sector you want to have the highest minimum speeds possible in all of the high-speed corners. It’s a lap of contrasts and getting the setup right will be all important. Spa always promotes good racing and is a real driver’s circuit for that reason, so I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Alice Powell commented on this weekend’s race saying:
The first half of the season has flown by and I can’t believe there are only four races left. I didn’t expect to be in this position – just one point behind Jamie [Chadwick] at the top of the championship standings – because I had been out of the car for a long time before winning race one in Austria whereas Jamie had a full year’s racing last year. It’s going to be extremely close in the second half of the year, but my plan is the same – to take one race at a time and be as consistent as I can. I’m sure that’s the same for Jamie too, so it’s going to go down to the wire and hopefully I’ll come out on top.
“It’s been nice to have a four-week break after the previous round in Hungary, but I’ve been as busy as ever, only having four days at home in that time before travelling to Spa because I’ve been away coaching the young drivers I work with. So not much has changed for me and I’ve just been training as hard as I can.
“I’ve not been to Spa since 2012 when I drove there in GP3, but it’s one of the best circuits in the world and I’m buzzing to race there again. It’s such a unique circuit – it’s very long so there is lots of potential for gaining time, but you need to be bold because there are some really fast corners in second half of the lap. It makes for great racing because, as we saw in Hungary, it can be hard to follow in single seaters, but with the long straights at Spa you’re able to tow up to the back of people. That means that, even if you don’t have a great qualifying session, there’s potential to move forward and that element makes it one of the drivers’ favourite circuits.”