It has been a strong start to the season for Hitech Pulse-Eight, as after five rounds they are currently second in the Teams’ Standings. While impressed by how things have gone, Team Principal Oliver Oakes is keen to remain humble, playing down any talk of the title for now.

So far Hitech are the only team on the grid to have finished on the podium at all five rounds, earning them 95 points as they trail leaders Campos Racing by nine heading to Barcelona.

Looking back on the season far, Oakes highlighted the progress his team had made with the new Formula 2 car since the pre-season test, as he sang the praises of his mechanics and engineers.

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“Testing out in Bahrain with a new car was good and bad,” he explained. “I guess that makes it a level playing field but that means also there are quite a lot of things to get on top of.

“To be really honest, the Bahrain test was pretty much what you'd expect of a new car, proving the thing works and goes round the track in a reliable manner. After that, on those sorts of days you are trying to work through performance things as you get through the test.

“We left there for Round 1 thinking we'd done an okay job but knowing we needed to improve quite a bit for the first race, probably like everyone on the grid, you don't know where you stack up.

“We had a very good Bahrain weekend, always good to start the first weekend of the year with a first podium with Paul Aron. Thereafter the progress from the test to Round 1 and then going forward has been impressive. That's a credit to everyone getting on top of the new car.

Oakes praised the work of his mechanics but wants his entire team to keep their feet on the ground
Oakes praised the work of his mechanics but wants his entire team to keep their feet on the ground

“Everyone always talks about engineers, and they have done a good job but also the boys in the garage have also been important. They have worked a lot of long hours, and a lot of people often don't realise it, so it's nice to see them with a smile on their face having got through those early rounds and being in the position they are in.”

What has also impressed Oakes has been the consistency in their performance across the five rounds. He cited how different all five tracks on the calendar have been and the fact that they have fared well everywhere as being a huge positive.

He believes that is a combination of their hard work, some good luck, but also the impressive effort of Aron and Amaury Cordeel, with the former currently sitting at the top of the Drivers’ Championship as a rookie.

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Speaking about Aron’s start to the season – in which he has scored all five of the Hitech’s podiums – Oakes said: “I think he is an interesting character because I dare say he did just the one year in F3 because he'd spent two years in FRECA, so he kind of got into F3 with a point to prove.

“Then I think he was a little bit frustrated because he finished behind his teammate in the Championship, but that's a good thing, he wants to prove himself. Then at the end of the year finishing with Mercedes, he again arrived in January probably a little bit punchy, like I want to prove that I am deserving of doing F2 and they made the wrong choice.

“But what I am really proud of with him, from the day he started with us to now, is he has been integral to the team. He has worked hard with the guys, he has been pushing them and he has done it in a way which from my side has been nice to see, taking it on his shoulders and being honest about what he can do, and that's impressive and that's what good drivers do.”

On Cordeel, Oakes added: “We should also give credit to Amaury because he has made a big step forward this year from where he was last year. A little bit unlucky on our side in Imola, we hurt him with a bad pit stop, those things happen but he is having a really good season.

Aron has achieved five podiums so far this year and currently leads the Drivers Championship
Aron has achieved five podiums so far this year and currently leads the Drivers' Championship

“Actually, it's quite interesting that even Paul sometimes has been kept on his toes a little bit, different bits of data in the corners where Amaury is doing a really good job. From my side I am very happy with them both, and long may it continue.”

But despite their good start, Hitech are yet to achieve that first victory of the season. For Oakes, that is more important than any talk of the title.

“Obviously it’s natural to have a glance at the Standings, but I think we are quite feet-on-the-ground,” said Oakes. “We know each weekend we have to execute things well, the nature of F2 being so competitive, different circuits, different characteristics, it is quite important to take it as it comes.

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"We are chasing that first elusive win in F2, that’s also something that is more at the top of the list than the Championship. If we win a Feature Race that will help the Championship, but mainly we do want to do that because we've been pretty close a couple of times, so it would be nice to get that on the board as well.

“It's not lost on us that we are having a really good first part of the season, we have been very consistent and if we want to be there come September or October, we just need to keep doing what we are doing.

“The interesting thing with F2 is you often see at the end of the year, the prizegiving with the highlight videos with crashes and things going wrong and the drama of F2, there is always going to be some of that, and we are quite humble at the moment. We are fortunate to just be taking it as it comes because F2 is a bit of a rollercoaster that's for sure.”