Well who would have guessed it, first time at the track and Olli ends the test p5. Olli Caldwell having just turned 15 years old will race in the Italian F4 Championship for the first-time next weekend at the Vallelunga Circuit in Rome, Italy. Ahead of the big occasion an official two-day test gave Olli the chance to drive the circuit for the first time and get himself prepared for just his second single seater race.
All bar a small handful drivers having already raced in the first two weekends of the championship turned up to the circuit for what was at least their second visit whilst Olli and the Mucke Motorsport team got ready for his first laps of the 4.085km circuit in over 30-degree heat with the track temperature reaching 56 degrees!
Both days would consist of two sessions split into 3 and 4 hours. That would mean a lot of laps and lots of race simulations. Olli clearly liked the track as within an hour or so of the first session he was straight into the top half of the standings.
As well as impressive one lap pace Olli was also showing that his race pace was good as he prepares for the gruelling 30 minute races Italian F4 put on. In the first session Olli finished in 12th place, it was a very impressive start and with three sessions still to go he was only going to improve.
The afternoon session saw Olli move further up the order as he was now challenging for top ten positions putting in impressive long stints. Vallelunga has a mixture of fast and slow corners where time is easily lost and a last corner which requires bravery to keep your foot down. Olli closed the gap to the leaders to half a second to finish 8th and was the quickest rookie. A goal he’ll be trying to repeat over the season.
If day one came as a surprise to the Italian F4 paddock day two came as even more of a surprise. Olli was straight out of the blocks and moved forward to 5th place and was now a further one tenth of a second closer to the leaders. Better still, it was quite clear that it was now just one corner where Olli was losing that time. Moving onto race simulations despite even hotter conditions Olli didn’t seem to tire and was even more consistent over his race stints!
The last session was where most drivers were going for fast lap times to try and end on a high. Most drivers did just that as the times tumbled, holding back in the pits once Olli came out on track he was straight into 5th place just 0.290 seconds off the quickest driver, who is the current championship leader! He was quicker than some second year drivers and it’s hard to believe he is only just old enough to race these cars and this was his first time at the circuit!
The test overall couldn’t have gone much better! The team were chuffed, as was Olli and it was smiles all round as Olli flew back to the UK to prepare for the Vallelunga race next weekend.
Olli Caldwell: "Had and awesome test out at Vallelunga. Considering that they where my first two days at the track P5 at the end of the second day was awesome. Hopefully I can recreate it next weekend for the race."