Olli Caldwell ended his busy 2017 season with a brilliant 6th place finish at the season finale held at Monza in the Italian F4 Championship. This gave the talented young Briton a double Rookie Podium finish on the final weekend of his racing year.
The Italian F4 Championship headed to the 'Temple of Speed' for the final round of the championship on the 21-22 October. Olli had qualified 15th for the opening race of the weekend after a challenging opening qualifying session for the Total Rail Solutions backed BWT Mücke Motorsport driver - where a sensor failure hampered his running, causing the car to be in 'limp' mode for a majority of the session.
Race one took place in dry, yet gloomy conditions as the first of the three races got underway. Olli was cautious through turn one, but it paid off as he gained a position when a rival spun himself out of contention. However at the second Lesmo, Olli was nerfed wide and into the gravel - dropping him to the back of the field with work to do and catch the pack ahead.
Olli well and truly got on with the job, catching the pack ahead and making strong progress back up the order in the tricky conditions - where the slipstream down the long straights led to a series of overtakes from the British driver.
With 17 minutes to go, the safety car was deployed after two drivers were stranded in the gravel at the Parabolica, allowing Olli to be right on the back of his rivals - increasing his chances to make up more ground.
Olli was 11th when the safety car came into the pits and racing resumed, which soon became 10th on the run down into turn one. He was then pushed wide on the exit of the Roggia Chicane, undoing all his hard work - leaving him to do it all again.
Nevertheless, Olli pushed on for the rest of the race and once again made great progress to come through the field - finishing a credible 11th position and gaining 3rd position on the Rookie Podium in the process.
Race two saw Olli start from 14th position as the second race race got underway behind the safety car in wet and misty conditions. The race got going with 22 minutes to go, Olli immediately benefiting from a rival running wide at Parabolica to gain a position. He finished the first racing lap in 11th position after making up three positions in the opening tour.
In the tricky conditions, drivers were running wide and exceeding track limits on a consistent basis - Olli however managed to keep his BWT machinery on track and battled his way through the race.
Conditions worsened as the race went on, with visibility becoming more and more of an issue - as the live feed could barely pick out the drivers on track! Olli was once again bumped down the field by a rival driver after having to take avoiding action which blunted his charge through the field. He would take the chequered flag in 9th position at the end of a tricky race, however he was penalised 5s after leaving the track at the chicane and judged to gaining an advantage - meaning he was classified 15th.
Race three took place thankfully under clear skies and dry track conditions. Olli started the race from 15th position based on his qualifying from Saturday. He made a rocket start from the clear side of the grid, gaining an entire row on launch and a great run into the tight first corner. Olli managed to avoid an airbourne car as he was forced to cut the chicane on the run down into Ascari.
As they finished the opening lap, Olli had moved up into 13th position and right in the slipstream of the train of cars ahead battling for 5th position.
With the pack so close, the slipstream battles would see drivers going three and four cars wide down the straight - throwing back to the old slipstream duels from years gone by at Monza!
Olli had moved himself up into 10th position with twenty minutes of the race to go - moving out of slipstream danger from his rivals behind and closing in on the battling group in front.
The safety car was then deployed after an accident at the exit of the Roggia Chicane, where a car had returned to the track at full speed - causing a collision with one of Olli's rivals.
The race resumed with nine minutes to go and Olli was in 9th position at the restart. This then became 8th as he was right in the hunt for serious points chasing and a shot at an overall podium.
Another safety car was deployed shortly after due to a car spinning at the Parabolica and being unable to restart. The race was neutralised until two minutes to go - where it would be a three lap shootout until the end of the race.
The race restarted with the top three in the Rookie class all in a line! As Olli hunted for the Rookie victory in a crazy race. He would cross the line in a fantastic 6th place at the chequered flag, once again finishing on the Rookie Podium to end his 2017 F4 Racing Season.
Olli Caldwell "It was an awesome final race at Monza to get P6! It was a greeat end after we had an awful qualifying with a sensor failure putting me in limp mode. But we worked hard and overcame it to take two Rookie Podiums. I cannot thank my team enough for all the hard work this weekend, as well as all my partners and supporters for backing me not only this weekend - but for the whole season in British F4, Italian F4 and ADAC F4."
Olli's 2018 season plans are yet to be confirmed, but will be announced in due course online and via social media. Until then, Olli will be flying out to Yas Marina for some testing in the UAE F4 car with Silberpfeil Energy Dubai - before the season ends and the focus shifts onto next year shortly after.