Petr Ptacek brought the curtain down on his rookie Formula Renault Eurocup season in Abu Dhabi on Saturday – before immediately turning his attention to vital 2020 preparation today (Sunday).
The 17-year-old, a two-time podium finisher in the single-seater series, endured a challenging time at the Yas Marina season finale as handling issues prevented him from making the progress he wanted.
“I was fighting with the car for most of the weekend. I couldn’t brake in a straight line and it was moving around a lot,” the Czech driver explained. “That unpredictability made qualifying and the races tough.”
Friday’s opening qualifying session returned a P15 grid slot for the opening race under floodlights that evening. Petr fought hard to make an impact in his BhaiTech Racing machine, but ultimately just missed out on points as he ended the 15-lap race in P11.
Saturday’s second qualifying session and race also failed to live up to expectations as MindMaze-supported Petr qualified P16 and raced to P13 in blistering afternoon temperatures.
Although he didn’t manage to add any more points to his score in Abu Dhabi, Petr secured P8 (out of 26 drivers) in the final Formula Renault Eurocup standings.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted to end my season,” he said. “Sure, I enjoyed the experience of racing in Abu Dhabi – but I want to win. When you’re not in a position to do that, it’s frustrating.
“But motorsport can be tough and weekends like this are part of my learning journey. I want to be best I can and I’m determined to use experiences like this positively.
“I would like to thank BhaiTech for my two years of single-seater racing with them, especially Nicolo Gaglian, my race engineer and the other mechanics.”
With the final race weekend of the season complete on Saturday, Petr – who has ambitions to return to the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2020 – immediately turned his attention to post-season testing today.
Driving for MP Motorsport, Petr was immediately on the leading pace as he lapped the Yas Marina circuit quicker than he had done at any stage during the weekend.
He finished the session with the second fastest time after recording a best lap of 2.08.981. He was only 0.026s shy of matching the benchmark as traffic ended his final lap push.
“I was pleased to take quite a big step against what was possible before – and that was with a lot of fuel and old tyres,” he explained. “It gives you a nice feeling. The car felt strong and I could stay calm and push.”
Petr will continue his testing programme at Yas Marina tomorrow (Monday) when he links up with the championship-winning R-ace GP squad.