Auer, Newey "frustrated" by missed Suzuka chances
B-Max with Motopark duo Lucas Auer and Harrison Newey have admitted last weekend's Super Formula finale at Suzuka represented a missed chance after their strong qualifying showings.
Red Bull junior Auer qualified third behind polesitter Alex Palou and eventual race winner Tomoki Nojiri, while Newey overcame a huge practice shunt at 130R to line up ninth for the finale, his best grid slot of the 2019 campaign.
However, both drivers finished outside the top 10, with Auer stalling at the start and recovering only to 11th, while Newey was unlucky to be hit by Kazuki Nakajima at Turn 2 before running out of fuel on the final lap.
Speaking after the race, Auer admitted that Suzuka represented a massive missed opportunity for the team after what he described as the “strongest” qualifying of the season.
“The first third of the race was not as strong, but the second and third I believe was long pace,” Auer told Motorsport.com. “It could have been something good.
“I think Saturday was very promising but obviously the race counts. Very frustrating.”
Newey added: “We came here with really good pace yesterday but both Lucas and I didn’t have the race pace we needed, we dropped off a lot.
“You saw other guys like Palou doing the same. Someone like Nojiri was absolutely rapid in the race and rapid in qualifying. So we got it right sometimes and sometimes not so right.”
Lucas Auer, B-Max Racing Team
Photo by: Masahide Kamio
After failing to secure a spot on the grid for the new FIA F3 series in 2019, Motopark headed to Japan and partnered with B-Max in Super Formula and All-Japan F3.
The partnership showed early signs of success when Auer finished seventh in their first race, and since then both the Austrian and Newey have scored one podium apiece.
Both Auer, who finished a respectable ninth in his maiden season, and Newey hailed the team for its rapid in-season development rate.
“I think B-Max and Motopark did a great job,” Auer said. “You saw with the curve we had over the season, we’ve learnt so much.
“I believe the biggest change [for Suzuka] is that we know the track. We’ve had one race here. So we collected data and for kind of a new team, this is massively important.
“So I believe it’s purely experience and knowing what to do and when to do it.”
Newey added: “We’ve learnt so much. When we look back at the start of the season, the whole team, we think, ‘wow we’ve come a long way’.”
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