#50 Lucas Auer (AUT – B-Max Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
#15 Dan Ticktum (GBR – Mugen Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
Lucas Auer and Dan Ticktum fly the Red Bull Junior Team flag this weekend in Japan at the first round of the prestigious Super Formula series. Suzuka is the venue and the pair both did the official test there earlier in the year as well as the Fuji test, both are thrilled to be there and know that there is still more to learn.
"We had quite a good test at Suzuka," enthused Ticktum, the 19-year-old Briton. "Fuji was less impressive and I know it's not going to be easy. The local guys are good and they know all the tracks. I know I have to develop a relationship with the team and we have to build on our communication."
"I had a bit of jet-lag when I arrived early in the week but I gave myself time to get over it. Everything is different here but I am a bit of a sushi fan so that helps," explained Ticktum who is well placed to compare the Super Formula car to an F1 after his recent test. "Considering the difference in budget it is amazing how good the Super Formula car is actually, there is not the huge difference that you might expect. Of course the F1 would be a lot quicker if not so restricted by the regulations."
"Super Formula is a good preparation for F1 and that is the way I am looking at it. Just like I said last year, I'm not setting myself goals every weekend, saying what I am going to do. But of course I'm a racer, I go out to win. That is not going to be easy but I'm thinking top three-ish."
"It's all very new but a great challenge," said Lucas Auer, the 24-year-old Austrian who has raced in the DTM in recent years and finished third in New Zealand's Toyota Racing Series earlier this season as preparation for the swap back to open wheelers. "The Suzuka test was all very different, the car and the team but we took a good step forward at the Fuji test and I know that I have to approach this step by step."
"The guys are very passionate about their racing and that is great to see. Our team is a mix of the Japanese B-Max staff and Europeans from Team Motopark, we are building our communications and understanding so we get it to the highest level. We know we can improve in every aspect of what we are doing."
"It is great to start the season here, Suzuka is a fantastic circuit, I especially love the first part and I'm looking forward to learning more and pushing harder. Obviously the locals know the track very well and it's going to be tough but its a challenge that I am very much ready for."
Suzuka weekend schedule – all times JST (Japan Standard Time CEST +7)
Friday May 19th
12.40 – 13.40 Free Practice
Saturday May 20th
10.15 – 11.15 Free Practice
15.45 – 16.05 (Q1)
16.15 – 16.22 (Q2)
16.32 – 16.39 (Q3)
Sunday May 21st
08.35 – 09.05 Free Practice
14.00 Race – 43 Laps