Super Formula

First class drives from Auer & O’Ward in Okayama Super Formula

#50 Lucas Auer (AUT – B-Max/Motopark Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
Qualifying: 15th – Grid: 15th – Race: 5th
Super Formula Championship position: 6th – 14 points – after 6 of 7 races

#15 Patricio O'Ward (MEX – Mugen Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
Qualifying: 11th – Grid: 11th – Race: 6th
Super Formula Championship position: 18th – 3 points – debut in 4th of 7 races

Patricio O'Ward and Lucas Auer both had to drive through the pack to secure their Super Formula points in Okayama. Auer had qualified 15th but the 25-year-old Austrian was in great form and made the very best of starting on softs to blast past the opposition. A Safety Car took the edge off his tactics and he finished 5th after leading late in the race.

Fellow Red Bull Junior O'Ward had qualified 11th but a technical issue off the line sent the 20-year-old Mexican to the back of the field and he had to use his rapidly developing Super Formula skills to cut his way to 6th after crossing the line 19th at the end of lap 1.

Auer's early attack

"It was a very satisfying day, the race was a lot of fun, great to turn things around after qualifying," enthused the B-Max/Motopark Honda driver.

"I made the decision to start on the softs and we became the car to beat. We went from 15th to 7th on the first lap and then got quite quickly to P4."

"To win from P15 was always going to be difficult but we had to try something and go for it. If the others on the different strategy had not got the help of the safety car that really gave them back 30 seconds the end result should have been even better," explained Auer.

The Safety car was out as the pit window opened and it helped most of the field on mediums to pit then while Auer's tactics meant he had to stay out for a very late stop.

"It was still a good gamble and I enjoyed it," Auer added.

"Qualifying, what went wrong, hmm, a good question. A lot of wrong decisions, set-up, tyre pressure. We should have learnt from this going forward and be in a good shape for the last round in Suzuka. I have said that a couple of times already but yes I think we really should," he concluded with a smile.

O'Ward on a mission

"Wow, what a disastrous start but the comeback from that was good. The guys gave me a fantastic car and a good strategy that enabled me to work my way up from the back."

"I don't know why but the anti-lag system has been playing up. At the start I was moving, the clutch was out, up to second and somehow the ant-lag kicked in and everyone went past."

"I just had to do what I could from there but made the most of a very good car, enjoyed the drive and scored some points."

"We really took a step forward this weekend, not everything we wanted but Qualifying was better and we are looking forward to taking another big step at Suzuka. That looks like a fast track and I hope it suits my style."

"The Mugen team are a great bunch of people, very kind and welcoming, It is a wonderful working environment. It is not always easy to make myself understood technically but I do my best to describe my feelings about the car and we have made a lot of progress."