HWA RACELAB F3 Podium finish

Photo Credit: HWA engineering speed

11 November 2020

Jake Hughes (Great Britain) was runner-up in the race at the final round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship in Mugello, presenting HWA RACELAB with its fourth podium of the season. Team-mate Enzo Fittipaldi (Brazil) claimed his best results of the season, finishing fifth and fourth. The team from Affalterbach ended the season in fifth place in the Team competition.

– 2nd and 6th place for Jake Hughes, 5th and 4th for Enzo Fittipaldi, 13th and 11th for Jack Doohan
– Jake Hughes: “Without the dramas in the early races, we could have challenged for the title.”
– Enzo Fittipaldi: “I managed to end the season on a high.”
– Jack Doohan: “We can take a lot of positive energy for next year from the last few races.”
– Thomas Strick: “From our perspective, it is a shame that the season is not a little longer.”

Mugello – The signs were there that HWA RACELAB would end the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship on a successful note. Second, fourth and tenth place represented the team’s best qualifying result of the season.

Jake Hughes (Great Britain) started race two on Saturday from second on the grid and was embroiled in a thrilling battle at the head of the field for the full 21 laps of the 5.245-kilometre Mugello Circuit. He first went head to head with pole-sitter Lirim Zendeli (Trident), setting the fastest lap of the race to put the German under pressure. On lap five, Jake launched his first attack, which resulted in light contact between the two cars in the corner.

Two laps later, Jake eventually passed his rival on the outside of turn one to take the lead. However, Zendeli countered using the DRS system and moved back into the lead. Jake was not to be shaken off and remained within striking distance, showing very impressive pace, particularly in the faster corners. He overtook Zendeli again on lap 13 and briefly managed to open up a small lead. However, a new opponent had by now joined the battle: Frederik Vesti (PREMA Racing), who closed in on Jake before passing him, in turn, one at the end of the start/finish straight on lap 17.

The final battle for victory developed into a tactical affair, with turn on the scene of most of the action. Jake attacked successfully here on the penultimate lap to take the lead again. However, Vesti used DRS on the final lap to overtake at the same spot. Jake fought hard until the finish line but ultimately had to settle for second place. This was the Brit’s fourth podium of the season.

Jake made a good start the race from ninth place, climbing into sixth in the first few corners. After a safety car appearance, he was involved in a battle with a rival when the two cars made contact, resulting in the 26-year-old losing two places. Jake then came under pressure from behind, but gradually rediscovered his pace. He produced a well-prepared overtaking manoeuvre to take seventh place on lap 14. The Brit launched one more attack on the final lap, passing a rival to end the final race of the season in sixth place.

Enzo Fittipaldi (Brazil) started the race from a promising fourth place but was passed by two cars in turn one. However, Enzo’s pace was good throughout the entire race, allowing him to push again in the closing stages. He pulled off an overtaking manoeuvre on lap 17 to take fifth place. Enzo did surrender that position again two laps later, but he refused to give up and launched another successful attack at the start of the final lap. The 19-year-old eventually crossed the finish line in fifth place to claim what was, at the time, his best result of the season so far.

Starting Sunday’s race from sixth, Enzo improved one place at the start. Running fifth, he put the cars ahead of him under pressure and waited for an opportunity to attack. That opportunity presented itself on lap ten: Enzo overtook one car at the end of the start/finish straight to move into fourth. One lap later, he lost that position again. However, the 19-year-old once again showed his fighting spirit and produced another successful overtaking manoeuvre in turn one to take fourth place with two laps remaining – a position he held on to until the finish. Fourth and fifth place on the final race represented the two best results of the season for the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi.

Jack Doohan (Australia) maintained his starting position of tenth place for much of Saturday’s race. He showed good pace and looked poised to push towards the end of the race. However, with six laps remaining, Jack’s tyres started to wear. He lost touch with the cars ahead of him, the chasing pack pulled closer, and the coveted tenth place that would have meant pole position for race two came under threat. Four laps from the finish, Jack was passed and fell back to eleventh place. He was then overtaken by a further two cars in the closing stages and eventually came home 13th.

Jack launched another assault on the points positions. This looked as though it might yield success. Immediately after the start, Jack climbed one position into twelfth place. After the safety car phase, he reacted quickly and produced a skilful manoeuvre to overtake two cars at the same time. On lap six, he was passed by a rival using DRS, but Jack remained within touching distance of the points. Four laps from the finish, he skilfully overtook the car in front of him to move into tenth. However, he again lost a place on the final lap and ultimately ended the race in eleventh place, narrowly missing out on points finish.

HWA RACELAB concluded the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship in fifth place with 138.5 points. Jake Hughes was the team’s best-placed driver in seventh place in the Drivers’ Championship.

Driver’s Quotes

– Enzo Fittipaldi (19, Brazil, car number 14), 5th and 4th place
“Fifth and fourth place here in Mugello are my best two results of the season. I am very happy about that. The key was fourth place in qualifying, that was a big step forwards. I managed to end the season on a high. I would have liked to have finished on the podium this season. I think that would have been deserved, particularly in Monza, when I was challenging for the win. However, it is what it is. We really struggled with the set-up of the car in the first half of the season, but we got the hang of it at the last three race weekends. We are now ready for next season. As far as I personally am concerned, I have learned an awful lot this year. I missed the feeling you get from winning or standing on the podium. I will work like crazy over the winter to ensure that I can enjoy that feeling next season.”

– Jake Hughes (26, Great Britain, car number 15), 2nd and 6th place
“To be honest, I was a little disappointed with second place on Saturday, because I felt that I had earned the win. However, you don’t always get what you deserve in motor racing. We were lacking speed compared to the opposition on the straights, which is a bit of a mystery. In the other sections, the car’s performance was very good. On Sunday, I ended the season with a good race and more points in sixth place. It is a shame that I was hit from behind at the start of the race, which resulted in me losing two positions. Otherwise, I could have been looking at another podium. Second and sixth place at the final race weekend is a good way to end the season. We have improved rapidly since Budapest. I scored 111 points in the last five races, 0.5 in the first four. That is the story of our season. Without the issues and dramas in the early races, we could have challenged for the title this year. After the impressive second half of the season, the car and team are in a good position to go on the offensive again next season.”

– Jack Doohan (17, Australia, car number 16), 13th and 11th place
“I was about 50 metres off ninth place. Unfortunately, I could not get in the slipstream. However, I was gradually able to pull away from the car behind me. I stayed in tenth place and looked after the tyres so that I would have an advantage over my rivals at the end of the race. The gap ahead of me was still at two seconds when, six or seven laps from the finish, my tyres started to wear and I began to struggle with the balance of the car. I don’t know exactly why that was, but I lost quite a lot of time on the final few laps and was not able to get the reverse grid pole I had been hoping for. I made a good start and climbed one position. The re-start after the safety car phase also went well and I moved up another two places into tenth. I briefly dropped out of the DRS window, but I did manage to get back in it and was able to maintain a good pace in eleventh place. Four laps from the end, I pulled off an overtaking manoeuvre and was running tenth. Unfortunately, I lost that position again on the final lap and did not finish in the points, which was really frustrating. Over the course of the season, I have mostly had good pace, but have unfortunately not been able to convert that into good results. However, we can take a lot of positive energy from the last few races into next year. I will definitely benefit from the experience I have gained this season. I particularly learned a lot in the difficult phase earlier in the season. I would like to thank the whole team for the hard work it put in this year!”

– Thomas Strick, team principal HWA RACELAB
“We can be very happy with the way we ended the season. On the podium once this weekend, and three top-five finishes – that is very gratifying. From our perspective, it is a shame the season is not a little longer. We were improving all the time in the second half of the season and were eventually able to show our full potential. A lot of praise goes to the whole team for the way they refused to let the set-backs at the start put them out of their stride. Working together in a focussed manner, we have been able to improve consistently and have been rewarded with two race wins. We have some tiring weeks behind us, with nine race events in twelve weeks. The team has earned a well-deserved break before we start our analysis. The goal for the coming season is clear: in 2021, we want to be in a position to challenge for victories from the word go.”

Result of race one:

1. F. Vesti PREMA Racing 34:42.873
2. Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 34:43.197
5. Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 34:50.688
13. Jack Doohan HWA RACELAB 35:02.362

Result of race two:

1. L. Lawson Hitech Grand Prix 36:30.379
4. Enzo Fittipaldi HWA RACELAB 36:40.778
6. Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 36:42.815
11. Jack Doohan HWA RACELAB 36:51.063

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. Since 2019, HWA RACELAB contests the FIA Formula 3 Championship and in 2020 the FIA Formula 2 Championship as well. 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.