Lucas Auer

Pace but frustration for Auer & O’Ward in Motegi Super Formula

#50 Lucas Auer (AUT – B-Max/Motopark Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
Qualifying: 4th – Grid: 4th – Race: 7th
Super Formula Championship position: 10th – 10 points – after 5 of 7 races

#15 Patricio O'Ward (MEX – Mugen Honda/M-TEC HR-417E)
Qualifying: 18th – Grid: 18th – Race: 14th
Super Formula Championship position: – 0 points – debut in 4th of 7 races

Lucas Auer and Patricio O'Ward both showed good pace at the fifth round of the Japanese Super Formula series at Motegi but set-up and technical issues meant that they finished 7th and 14th.

The two Red Bull Juniors put in good drives with Austrian 24-year-old Auer getting the best out of his B-Max/Motopark Honda which had shown good short run pace in qualifying but lacked the long run pace needed for the race.

Mexican 20-year-old O'Ward had the opposite problem, making up for a difficult qualifying with good race pace that ran foul of a couple of technical issues.

Auer in the points

"The team did a great job again, a big step forward from Fuji and we had the short run pace we needed for a very good result but just lacked the long run pace for the race," explained Auer.

"We started in FP1 really off the pace but the guys turned things around completely overnight and gave me a very good car for FP2 and Qualifying," explained Auer who went from 13th in FP1 to 4th in FP2 and 4th in Qualifying."

"I think we even had a car for the front row but the tyre pressure wasn't quite optimum. Of course you can really do something from P4 on the grid."

"Unfortunately that didn't translate into a good race pace and that was clear from the start. I'm happy that I got the maximum possible out of the car and the guys did a good job with the strategy so together we made the best of the situation and got in the points."

"We need more long run pace, that's clear. The potential is there and of course we are going through all the details after the race. It is not one big issue but I believe a number of small issues that put together are giving us a big problem for race pace. Sort that out and we will have a great chance next time."

O'Ward chasing success

"We certainly went forward this weekend and it was good to have dry time in the car. From the start of the weekend we had really good pace on the soft tyre but I still have to find my way on the medium," stated O'Ward.

"The race was good, we got up to twelfth and had closed right up on the pack so only a few seconds separated us from sixth and seventh. Then we lost power and were only running on about 70% for the last 5 laps. A real shame as it was all coming together there for a good finish and maybe points."

"Still as a second Super Formula event I was happy with the progress. The key will be me learning to engage the medium tyre correctly as you have to use that for Q1. I haven't done that yet so we didn't make it to Q2. That's a bit of a black hole for me at the moment that needs to be sorted."

"We'd planned on starting with the medium and stopping at the end of lap one to get that out of the way and that is what we did so I then ran two stints on the softs to the end of the race. We were running the same pace as the leaders on softs so that shows what we would be able to do with better Qualifying."

"I was going forward and caught Markelov who was also looking to go past another car but the engine went into anti-stall for some reason and I lost a couple-of-hundred yards. Luckily it only happened once. Then we were OK until we lost power at the end."

"I enjoyed it, the Mugen team are great so I am sure we can take a big step forward next time."