Mega setting, 66,000 fans at the track and plenty of DTM style in the paddock. Giorgio Maggi headed to Oschersleben last weekend for the seventh round of the ADAC Formula 4. The Swiss driver consistently worked his way up the field, aided by his team Race Performance, but tricky weather conditions and lack of racing luck prevented finishes in the Top Ten.
The weekend got off to a promising start with two sixth places in practice, so why were you unable to repeat that result in qualifying?
This was our second race weekend of the season in Oschersleben, and we were able to use a lot of the basic setup that we’d developed earlier. I felt very comfortable from the start, and it was even better after making a few adjustments. With two sixth places in practice, I’d hoped that things would go equally well in qualifying. Instead, it was just tedious. For the first time in qualifying, we were not divided into groups but competed altogether. I had bolted on fresh tyres but couldn’t use them because I was continually stuck in traffic or other drivers had slid into the gravel. We changed the two left tyres for fresh ones following a temporary red-flag stoppage, but as soon as I drove out, I noticed severe vibration to the rear on the left. According to the team, that shouldn’t have affected the car’s handling but it was extremely annoying and robbed me of my focus, so I finished up with grid positions 19 and 18 in the end.
You just missed a points-scoring finish in P12. How frustrating was that?
That was a pity! With a few laps more, P10 and not just points would have been possible, but pole position for race three too could have been in the bag. I kind of let that slip through my fingers at the start. I continually caught up on my opponents over the first two segments, but things didn’t go right on the third sector. It was getting better towards the end of the race, but I was simply running out of time to launch a real assault on the Top Ten.
Sunday looked promising initially, but you were unable to come away with any points.
No, unfortunately. I got away amazingly well at the start of the second race despite being on the wet side of the grid. I was in P13 when I got the wrong line after a safety car period. The wheels locked and I carried straight on. I had to fight my way back to the front and had some good scraps, but a small braking error dropped me back down into P19 in the end. Events repeated themselves in the third race. I was well placed and had some nice battles for position. However, my rear wheel locked up at some point, and I was in danger of spinning. I steered to the right, so as not to hit the guy in front and drove through the gravel bed. All the gains I’d made were lost, and I finished the race in 23rd place.
You were really looking forward to lining up with the ADAC Formula 4 under the DTM banner in Oschersleben. Did it live up to your expectations?
Definitely! The DTM cars, the teams’ hospitalities and the Audi Sport TT Cup paddock were really impressive. Meeting Audi DTM driver Nico Müller again was especially cool. We first came across each other in Switzerland at the launch of a motor racing yearbook. I called to see him in the pits and we had a nice chat – such contacts are obviously always valuable.
The season finale will be taking place in just three weeks’ time. Are you surprised at how quickly the year has gone?
It’s really amazing! Just one more weekend – but a very special one. Hockenheim is a bit of a home fixture for someone from Switzerland. I know the track well and have already tested there a lot, so we should be well prepared. Many relatives, friends and sponsors will be at the track, just like last year. It feels really special to drive into the Motodrom and approach the Sachs Turn, knowing that they are all sitting there watching me. Perhaps it will give me an extra boost of motivation.