Olli continued his strong campaign in the F4 UAE Championship with two wins at the second round promoting him to second in the championship!
Olli put on an excellent display in race two winning from sixth on the grid which included a number of impressive overtakes. He may not be doing the rest of the championship, but he certainly won’t be forgotten!
After impressing at round one on his debut in the championship, Olli arrived at Yas Marina for the second round fresh from a winter break and with some experience of the circuit. That was clearly demonstrated as Olli got off to a perfect start setting the quickest lap in the first practice session. That was then followed by a 2nd and 4th place with the top five drivers looking particularly close!
Next up was qualifying where Olli found himself in a fight for pole position with David Schumacher (son of former Formula One driver, Ralf Schumacher). Olli was showing very consistent times and on lap 11 set a 1:10.145 second lap time which would leave him just 0.017 seconds off pole position! It was a front row start in race one nevertheless and his consistency saw him quickest when it came to second best lap times which would put Olli pole for race three.
Starting 2nd in race one Olli made a perfect start getting the jump on Schumacher heading into turn one. As for the rest of the field that was the last they’d see of the SILBERPEFIL Energy Dubai driver as Olli cruised off to take victory by just under five seconds! It was a fantastic result given how close things were in qualifying and it showed Olli’s remarkable consistency. It was also Olli’s second win of the championship and there were still three races remaining!
For race two the top six from race one would be reversed on the grid putting Olli down in 6th place. But once again Olli made a perfect start and was making positions before the field had even reached turn one. From there Olli worked his way through the rest of the order until catching his teammate and race leader, Lucas Petersson. The pair were clear from the rest of the field with Olli two tenths quicker than anyone on track! Olli already knew from pit board information that he was P1 with Petersson being given a 10 second penalty mid race for the jump start so it all became then about tyre and gap management to ensure he took the win!
Two wins out of two and a combined gap of over ten seconds along with a fastest lap that was two tenths quicker than anyone had everyone questioning could Olli be beaten?
Well the answer to that question was unfortunately in motion as Olli returned from the pits after winning race two. On the cooldown lap Olli’s suffered a broken brake disc, something that came back to haunt him in race three.
Olli started race three from pole after achieving the second fastest lap in qualifying and things were going well with Olli leading on lap two but the brake calliper on Olli’s car then broke forcing him to come into the pits. That should have been race over, but as the safety car hit problems of it’s own on track red flags were brought out and a lengthy delay was expectDuring this time the SILBERPEFIL Energy Dubai Team did a brilliant job to repair Olli’s car and get him back on track.
Olli would have to restart the race from the pits 35 seconds behind the next driver on track. With 15 minutes on the clock it was into qualifying mode with a target of P6 for the reverse grid pole Olli started to take huge chunks out of the pack. In the 14 or so laps left Olli closed the gap by a staggering 30 seconds to cross the line just five seconds back from the next driver! It was a remarkable drive which saw Olli, on average, take around two seconds per lap out of the drivers ahead.
Race four unfortunately brought on more bad luck for Olli. His problems in race three meant he’d start from the back of the grid and whilst working his way through the field he again had brake problems and was then pushed wide by another driver giving him a lot of work to do once again with just a few laps remaining. Olli eventually finished the race in 8th place, with an impressive lap time of 1:10.671 seconds.
Despite the bad luck in races three and four Olli moved up to 2nd in the championship, without problems throughout the rest of the weekend that would have been the championship lead!
Olli Caldwell: “"I got some really good starts this weekend which helped a lot in giving me the upper hand a few times. As the field is growing each round it's getting even better to race. There were a few more experienced drivers here this weekend like David Schumacher and Patrik Pasma who I raced against in British F4 last year, so that makes it more enjoyable. Myself, every time I go out I am still learning something new though and even learning Yas Marina Circuit more each time. Even though we had those brake problems, overall it was a good weekend to get the two wins."
In two rounds and eight races Olli has taken three wins in the F4 UAE Championship and sits second in the championship. School exams mean Olli will miss the rest of the championships, but he’s made a huge impact and caught the attention of everyone around the paddock. It certainly lines Olli up nicely heading into Pre-Season testing!