It was a frustrating weekend for Kiwi racer, Nick Cassidy, as tyre problems plagued performance this weekend at the second round of the European Formula 3 Championship in Hungary.
The Hungaroring circuit featured a new track surface as part of upgrades required with Formula 1’s contract extension at the circuit. The new surface enabled grip in dry conditions which saw the lap record smashed by 2 seconds in qualifying, but Cassidy struggled to optimise his Prema Powerteam Dallara in qualifying, experiencing significant tyre problems in Q1 and Q2. And issue that continued into the first race.
The rear tyres failed during race 1 forcing Cassidy to DNF. At least one other car in the race suffered the same issue. Though frustrated, Cassidy knew there was potential with the car if the tyre problem could be rectified.
“I’m really proud of our qualifying performance in hindsight. To be P7, 6 and 5 with the issues that were then seen by others in the races, shows that ultimately we had good pace this weekend. However, to be P6 and 1.2seconds off pole in Q2 is something that hasn’t been seen in the category for a long time and gives a better view of the situation.”
Cassidy had experienced problems on three sets of tyres leaving his reaming tyre options critical as he started race 2 aiming to reclaim some points. Cassidy managed a strong start, but was hit from behind in turn one with the other driver in the incident receiving a post-race penalty. Little consolation for Cassidy, who, still experiencing tyre issues, was fortunate to finish the race.
Now with no useable dry tyres left, Cassidy was in the extreme situation that he couldn’t start race 3 unless it was wet. The weather was kind to Cassidy and the heavens opened, the new track surface proved extremely slippery in the rain and the race was started behind the safety car.
Again however, Cassidy was spun from contact and he lost 10 places. He fought hard in a difficult race to finish 9th.
“Overall, its disappointing to miss a huge amount of points this weekend but it could have been a lot worse. I am still in the game, I have total faith in Prema Powerteam, and unfortunately circumstances outside of our control meant it was challenging to compete this weekend.” Said Cassidy.
“This is motorsport though, I am proud of the guys for sticking together and working endlessly to get to the bottom of the issues we faced across the weekend.”
Cassidy now turns his focus to Round 3 at the Pau Grand Prix. A street circuit and one of only 3 Grand Prix outside of the F1 Calendar together with New Zealand and Macau.