Hitech Grand Prix Team Principal Oliver Oakes has insisted there is “no magic” behind the team’s strong start to the season, instead pointing to the longevity of those in his team.
Becoming the 11th side on the Formula 2 grid shortly before the start of the 2020 season, Oakes’ outfit are now in their third year of working together and are the current Teams’ Championship leaders, with 48 points after two rounds and four races.
Finishing fourth in both of their seasons, Oakes believes that after two years the “pieces are coming together.”
“We have got a good group of boys in the garage and the drivers are doing a good job,” Oakes said. “When we first joined F2, we only had two months to be ready and then it was a shortened COVID season. I think we did well, but we still had issues to fix.
“Last year, I think we were quick, but we were unlucky with reliability issues that hindered us a bit, and then we also missed a bit of pace in Qualifying sometimes. Honestly, I think this year, the step forward is that it is the third year of the group being together, and we have got two experienced drivers.
“They get on together, they are very open in the team and they both are pushing, which is exactly what you want. We know that they will push us, and we know that they can take it back off us. For me, that’s the right formula for success.”
Jüri Vips is in his third season with Hitech, having first driven for the team in the 2019 Formula 3 campaign, while Oakes played a key role in originally bringing Marcus Armstrong to Europe from New Zealand.
The Estonian currently sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, while the New Zealander is seventh, giving Hitech a three-point advantage over MP Motorsport in the Teams’ Standings.
“You don't tend to look at the standings because you are so focused on the things you need to improve on,” explained Oakes. “What goes through your mind is the points that you have unfortunately thrown away.
“You keep that list going in your head, but then you look at the standings and it becomes clear that everyone has had good and bad races so far. It shows that we are on the right path and is a good indicator that we’ve been quick - we just need to keep our heads down.
“We are really happy with the line-up we've got, they're both talented, they're both working hard. We've got to keep our heads down and keep believing in what we are doing.”
With 12 rounds to go, Hitech will not be getting carried away or resting on their laurels as they look to extend their advantage over their rivals. What is clear is the confidence that’s growing within the team that they’ve got the platform to challenge for the title this season.
“On the whole, we feel confident that we have got the package,” Oakes agreed. “In F2, you need the car to be in a good window, your drivers to be confident, and then you need to execute it all. The group work bloody hard and I think over winter we’ve had a good regroup.
“Our engineers have worked hard to make sure that we turn up with the front foot forward. Everyone can see from the outside that there are always issues thrown up: mechanical issues, pitstop issues, crashes, but you have got to keep your head down and try and remain consistent.
“Of course, the consensus is that you need to be quick, but there is a lot to be said for being consistent and that’s what we are currently focused on. The big thing is that when you have a weekend where you’re not quite there on pace, you’re still leaving with a good round and don’t lose your head chasing something you can’t find.”