Matthieu Vaxiviere opened up about his pre-season switch from Lotus to current team, SMP Racing, for what is his third full season in the Formula V8 3.5 championship.
The 22-year-old was a runner-up in the championship last year behind eventual winner Oliver Rowland but is yet to show the same form since changing teams at the tail end of 2016.
This team move coincided with Renault Sport's buy-out of the then-Lotus F1 team for whom Vaxiviere was a junior racer. Now the Renault Sport F1 Academy, the line-up does not include the youngster.
“It was something quite hard, for sure,” Vaxiviere admitted to Crash.net
. “All the SMP mechanics come from GT racing so we all had to adjust to set up of this new car.”
SMP Racing joined the Formula V8 3.5 grid for the first post-season test of 2015. Originally titled 'Spirit of Race', the team replaced departing International Draco Racing and has since enjoyed hefty financial assistance from SMP, the same company who back Arden Motorsport's Egor Orudzhev.
“I think we can do well,” he continued. “OK, I didn't win today but second place shows that everything is not lost completely but we need to push further.”
Vaxiviere competed at the fifth round of the championship without a team mate while SMP regular Matevos Isaakyan raced in GP3 at the Hungaroring - allowing the 3.5 litre veteran a chance to race Isaakyan's car this weekend. The Frenchman confirmed that his stable mate would be back in action at the Red Bull Ring in Austria when the series returns from its summer break.
Now past the halfway mark in the title fight, the former French F4 champion has dropped to sixth in the standings behind Rene Binder, the latter securing two podium finishes at Silverstone. 59 points separates Vaxiviere and championship leader Tom Dillmann with three rounds remaining; mathematically anyone of seven drivers could leave 2016 victorious.