Olli Caldwell faced more challenges at round six of the ADAC F4 Championship with incidents in two of his three races costing him the chance of going for a race win. It was a round that Olli had been looking forward to and given it leads into a long break until racing resumes in mid-September, Olli will not be able to make amends for over a month!
Round six marked the penultimate round of the 2018 Championship and with a memorable podium at Hockenheim, moving Olli up 6th in the championship, the Prema Theodore Racing driver was keen to make more positions in the championship at Nurburgring. Fifth in the championship lay just nine points and with three races over the weekend that goal was achievable.
Racing on the shorter 3.6 km layout, overtaking opportunities are hugely reduced meaning Friday’s qualifying would be very crucial. That session throw up a mixture of results with Olli finishing the first session in an impressive 3rd, but session two an unfortunate 10th place. Those would be Olli’s starting positions for races one and two respectively with race three being the reverse grid, so on the face of it there were definitely two clear chances for race wins.
Race one would be Olli’s best shot at a podium but things would start to slowly fall away at turn one before ending in disaster later in the lap. A decent getaway saw Olli challenging for 2nd as the field headed into the first corner. Sitting the middle of the track Olli got sandwiched between his teammate Enzo Fittipaldi and Liam Lawson who had both locked up with minor contact made and it left Olli running wide and losing places.
Olli was now down in 6th place, which quickly became 7th after he ran wide at turn five which saw him lose out as the drivers went on to the run down to the chicane. This was unfortunately where Olli’s race would come to an end. As Joey Alders began to pull the outside of him he began to come across to take the racing line and contact was made which saw Olli come off a lot worse with his race ending immediately. It was the worst possible start to the weekend and it left Olli with a lot of work to do over the rest of the weekend.
Race two would see Olli start in 10th place, but unfortunately his race would start in a similar fashion as he was once again caught up in a first lap incident which would see him drop all the way to the back of the field. With Jack Doohan also involved and consequently out of the race the safety car was deployed which had had given Olli the chance to re-join the back of the field in 16th.
There were just under 25 minutes remaining when the race got back underway and despite everything that had happened to Olli on the day, he showed great character to pick himself up and start gaining positions straight away. That started by moving into 15th at the restart and a lap later he was on the move again! Olli’s next move was on Tom Beckhauser on lap six and lap eight he doubled those achievements to go into 11th. Making another position would come with a lot of hard work and after six laps of pushing Olli was passed Joey Alders before getting into 9th place with four laps remaining.
Despite the contact early in the race and all the overtaking Olli was the sixth quickest driver on the circuit proving his pace was much better than his result. It also unfortunately saw him miss out on a reverse grid pole by one position.
So, it would be an inside row five start for race three and Olli held position in a chaotic start before the safety car was called to the track early on. At the restart, there was a lot more battling and close calls which saw Olli eventually finishing the lap in 9th despite overtaking. The following lap Olli moved into 8th with a move at the final corner, but he had lost valuable time to the pack ahead in the process with just under 20 minutes now on the clock.
Olli did a good job in closing the group of drivers and made his way into 7th on lap 13 and that would be where he would finish despite being involved in a battle for 5th. Being the third quickest car on the track perhaps implied where Olli would have finished had he been on the reverse grid pole.
However, it would be a 7th place to end the weekend but overall a hugely frustrating weekend, which could have been a lot better had there been no incidents in the first two races. Those results drop Olli back to 7th in the championship with a six week break until the final round of the season which will be the third visit to Hockenheim.
Olli Caldwell: “I’ve had another difficult weekend, we had contact in race one and two and only managed some points in race three finishing 7th. I’ll go away in the next four weeks in the break and reflect on these past weekends and come back stronger, looking to score high points and podiums.”
With no Italian F4 racing until the 16th September Olli will have a lot of time to take a well-deserved break before starting preparations for the end of the season.