Power woes hinder Barnicoat

Ben Barnicoat was left to rue to a significant straight-line power deficit which left him qualifying towards the back of the field at the final round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season at Hockenheim in Germany.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver was hampered by a significant loss of grunt from his Mercedes powerplant compared to his rivals.

Despite his best efforts setting the fifth quickest early time of the session with a 1m 33.400s with his fourth lap, Barnicoat marginally improved as others around him improved to a greater extent. This demoted Hitech GP racer Barnicoat with a 15th place start for the weekend’s opening race.

With the team having made set-up changes to Barnicoat’s machine for the second and third qualifying sessions, his straight-line speed was increased to match his rivals, but his lap times were compromised through corners.

Having set the fifth quickest time in the early stages of the session, once again other drivers improved on their benchmark times. With Barnicoat unable to improve, it demoted him to 16th position with his second best qualifying time good enough for him to start 14th in the third and final race of the weekend.

“The qualifying session didn’t go to plan,” Barnicoat said. “I struggled for straight-line speed and in the speed traps the car was 7kph slower than the quickest cars.

“With the build-up to get on to those straights, that speed difference will be even greater. There were a few corners through which I needed to improve but the lack of speed can be seen on the data.

“In second qualifying, we therefore changed the set-up to help the speed down the straights to match the other cars. But we were then losing through the corners, so it didn’t really benefit me at all. It’s frustrating.

“I personally felt that I did a good job, certainly not a second off the pace. I actually felt that the first qualifying session was one of my best of the year.

“The second session was not a scrappy one, I put in a few consistent laps, everyone else went quicker but I just plateaued.

“The races are going to be difficult and I’ll be vulnerable with this power deficit. But I can only work with what I have and I’ll be going out to make up places.”