Points finish for Eastwood despite a challenging weekend at Silverstone
April 28, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Northern Ireland racing driver Charlie Eastwood made his single-seater debut this weekend in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship. The race weekend begun superbly, with Charlie posting the second quickest lap time in three out of the four practice sessions on Friday. The young driver then went on to deliver a points finish in race three after a frustrating first two races, which saw the Douglas Motorsport racer having to contend with car damage.
Starting in ninth position for Saturday’s first round, the 18-year-old current European Kart Champion and former World Kart title holder, had a difficult race after contact from Borelli on the opening lap sent him into the gravel, dropping him into seventeenth and to the tail end of the 23-car field. Despite no visible damage, a warning light for low oil pressure forced Charlie into the pits.
“Just after there was contact from Borelli, my warning light for low oil pressure came on and I had to go back to the pits,” said Charlie. “However the team quickly found there wasn’t an issue with low oil pressure and instead the warning light was faulty. We decided that I should go back out for the rest of the race as starting positions for race three are based on the lap times from this race and we wanted to get a good starting position.
“I managed to gain quite a bit of pace and ended up in the top ten fastest, which is a good result considering the circumstances.”
For Sunday morning’s second round, Charlie lined up eighteenth on the grid and was able to show more of his genuine race pace as he carved his way through the order to an impressive twelfth position. Working his way into contention for the top-10, Charlie was hunting down the field ahead when bad luck was to strike the determined racer for a second time and see him forced back into the pits.
“I got up into twelfth and was feeling confident I could get into the points,” commented Charlie. “Just as I was gaining pace a stone hit my wing mirror, then hit into my radiator and punctured it. The coolant then started going over my back wheel and I started sliding, finally on around lap six the engine overheated and I had to stop!”
Starting from ninth in Sunday’s final 10-lap race, Charlie made up a place off the start line to sit in eighth position. The Belfast Junior Sports Personality of the Year 2013 winner put in a series of strong laps, whilst a battle ensued out front between Fielding and Palmer. Charlie defended his position from the chasing pack right up until the chequered flag, where he crossed the line eighth place, taking vital points towards his Championship campaign. Following a series of time penalties awarded to other drivers on the grid, Charlie was officially awarded seventh place in the race standings.
Charlie said: “I had a solid start to the last race of the weekend, making up a place before I’d got to the first corner. Our pace was good throughout the race and we were able to bring home some valuable Championship points.
“It was a tough first race weekend, but it was good to come away with some points. Although it’s disappointing not to have got points from the first two races, we can be pleased with our overall pace during the weekend. I’m already looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch.”
Rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship will take place at Brands Hatch on the 17th-18th May.