Neil Verhagen

Verhagen hamstrung by technical issues in Spa Formula Renault

#21 Neil Verhagen (USA – Tech 1 Renault)
Qualifying 2: 11th (Group B) – Race 1 Grid: 21st – Race 1 Result: DNF
Qualifying 1: 10th (Group B) – Race 2 Grid: 19th – Race 2 Result: 22nd
Formula Renault Eurocup position: 12th – 33 points – after 12 of 20 races

Changing the engine, gearbox, front and rear wings and finally the wiring loom saw Neil Verhagen line up for Formula Renault Eurocup Race 2 at Spa hoping to end a torrid weekend with one of his trademark storming drives. That hope was smashed at turn one when the Red Bull Junior was innocently involved as another car went flying off the track.

Regaining the circuit himself at the back Verhagen soon found that the problems had not been solved. "I was still way down on speed," explained the 17-year-old American. "We ended the weekend with no more idea about what was wrong with the car than we had all through. The Tech 1 people did a fantastic job of working through everything, changing everything they possible could but even though we had the awning full of Renault engineers going through things we never cured the problem."

It should have been

"I went to Spa confident of fighting for the poles and the wins, I was well prepared, I love the track and I know I can do well there. I was looking forward to going into the summer break showing that I could finish at the front."

"It felt like I was driving a wagon pulling a parachute, six K down on speed and losing almost a second in the first sector. We know the car can be set up to handle well at Spa and it felt good but there is nothing you can do against that sort of handicap."

It wasn't

"In Race 1 I did some passing but at the end I pitted as there was too much chance that whatever was wrong was wrecking the engine and I was just putting miles on things for no reason. In Race 2 the car was still slow but we finished."

"I know the team will do everything to make sure we don't have the same problem when we restart in a month at the Hungaroring. They will build a completely new car if that is what it takes. At the moment there are not a lot of smiles around, just about the most frustrating and disappointing weekend of my career," ended Verhagen.