Disappointing start to 2013 for Barwa Addax
26 March 2013
It was another disappointing start to a GP2 Series season for Barwa Addax, as the Spanish team left the season opener in Malaysia without managing to score a single point in the driver and team championships.
The same thing happened in 2012, which saw the team end the season in eighth position - a deeply disappointing outcome for the squad that won the 2011 team championship with drivers Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, now both on the F1 starting grid in 2013.
This year, Barwa Addax is fielding 20-year Indonesian star Rio Haryanto alongside 23-year-old London-born American racer Jake Rosenzweig, but neither man was able to get higher than 18th place in either the feature or sprint races at Sepang last weekend.
"Rio Haryanto had all his hard work thwarted due to an unfortunate incident which effectively ruined his weekend," said the team. The driver had looked fast in Friday practice and gone on to secure sixth place on the grid for the feature race, but disaster struck soon after the green flag.
"[Rio] made a good start in race 1 and was fighting it out for the leading positions when he came to grief in a tussle with Juliàn Leal," the team explained. "After making contact, his right rear tyre was punctured which ruined both his race and his weekend because in trying to box the car on what was basically three wheels, severe damage was caused to the car.
"He came in to the pits to change tyres, even though they didn't count as his compulsory pit stop with tyre change," the team added in a statement. "Between the time lost with the puncture and the two pit stops he lost one whole lap to the leading drivers." Moreover, te damage sustained compromised the car's handling and resulted in increased tyre degradation, causing him to slump to 20th place at the chequered flag.
"In the second sprint race and starting from the back of the field, Rio Haryanto was only able to make up a couple of positions, held up by traffic and the delicate state of his tyres which were very unpredictable," the team added.
As for Haryanto's team mate Jake Rosenzweig, things had gone wrong for the American in Malaysia long before he even got into the cockpit of the GP2 car.
"Rosenzweig was suffering from physical problems which made driving very difficult for him and he found it impossible to perform to the level expected," said the team. "His discomfort was all due to an accident suffered which left him in terrible pain all over his body."
The accident in question has been a spill from his motor scooter in Kuala Lumpur earlier in the week, with an injury to his hand a particular problem when it came to driving the car on Saturday and Sunday.
"In his rather delicate condition he drove a creditable first race," said the team. "With a lot of patience and a great tolerance for the pain he was going through he started to pick up pace and moved through the pack of drivers from his lowly start position." Unfortunately Rosenzweig was one of a number of drivers caught out by waved yellows coming out for an accident mid-race, and he was handed a pit lane drive thru penalty for overtaking under caution which meant he ended up only two places ahead of Haryanto.
In the second race, the heat and humidity of Malaysia together with his earlier injuries took their toll and he and Haryanto reversed positions by the end of the 21-lap sprint affair.
Despite the end results, Barwa Addax insisted that it was "very satisfied" with the work done in Malaysia, adding that it was "happy with the work carried out by all members of the team, including the drivers who were not to blame for the adverse circumstances which occurred over the weekend.
"Jake made a great effort this weekend and was on the verge of getting his best result in GP2 and get into the points, whilst Rio has shown real signs of his capacity at this level," the team added.
Everyone now has four weeks to recover from the humidity of Malaysia in time for the roasting dry desert heat of Bahrain, when the GP2 Series field reassembles in Bahrain for round 2 of the 2013 season at Sakhir International Circuit on April 19-21.