Andrea Caldarelli puts chance to good use, a brilliant 3rd place on the Podium! His outstanding potential reminded!


3Over the weekend of August 23rd and the 24th, Round 4 of the 2014 Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA, “MOTEGI 2 & 4 RACE” was held, where Andrea Caldarelli joined PETRONAS TEAM TOM’S (No. 36) on spot-entry to fill in for the absence of this team’s regular driver (Andre Lotterer). Thus on a rather short notice and request from this team, Andrea flew from Italy and headed straight to Twin Ring Motegi (Tochigi Prefecture, Japan). While everything was in a bit of a rush, such as having to do seat checks right on site after arriving, this young and outstanding Italian driver who took his maiden pole-position from SUPER FORMULA in its last round managed this race week without any fluster, also appealed his high potential and adaptability once again by achieving his very first podium place from this series!


August 23 (SAT)  Official Qualifying


12On the previous day, 22nd (FRIDAY), free practice sessions were twice held (15:15 – 16:15, 17:10 – 17:40) where Andrea drove No. 36 PETRONAS TOM’S SF14 for the first time. Most of the time was spent on trying to grasp this machine’s characteristics and how to manage it, – also as exchanging ideas with engineer Mr. Tojo, careful setup efforts were done throughout the day.


Then coming on to the 23rd (SAT) as the event program officially started, in the warm-up practice that took place in the morning (8:30 – 9:40), Andrea finished the session in P9 with the time of 1’33.260. Machine setting was further adjusted towards the qualifying session to be held in the afternoon.


5Eventually the clock ticked 1:15 PM and the 1st set of the Qualifying (Q1, 13:15 – 13:35) was set to begin.

Andrea Caldarelli by then had PETRONAS-colored machine fairly under his control, and as challenging bravely passed this session placing 10th (1’33.447), progressed on to Q2 fought among 12 entrants.

Q2(13:45-14:00)had to be red-flagged for 6 minutes due to one of the cars stalling on the home straight, but the Pescara-born GRM driver never disturbed, kept a steady pace throughout, recorded a 1’33.129 time, and in P6 advanced to Q3 fought by the top 8 finalists.

Then in Q3 (14:10-14:17), as the qualifying battle hit its climax, just when coming on to his attack lap, Andrea was held up in traffic and with 1’33.164, had only to settle to P7. (After the qualifying session, as there was a car penalized for a breach of regulations, No. 36 PETRONAS TEAM TOM’S was positioned up to P6.)


11Andrea Caldarelli

“Car just kept improving since yesterday, while I myself tried familiarizing with it and the tyres, and feeling comfortable with the package I was able to proceed all the way to Q3. In the Q3 however, there was a car in front that slowed down and it’s regrettable that I couldn’t deliver my best attack. Well, let’s switch to focusing more on Sunday and be sure to have a strong race!”






August 24th (SUN)  Race


6From early morning on Sunday, sun glared down on the track and temperatures kept rising. In the Free Practice session (9:50 to 10:20), Andrea Caldarelli drove 15 laps and clocked the fastest lap time of 1’34.229. Onward he and the team went preparing solid and firmly for the race to be held in the afternoon.


Then soon it was 15:00, time to begin the 52 laps of the race. Though rainclouds could be seen in the skies far from Twin Ring Motegi, over on the course Dry condition was announced.


1Finishing up the formation lap and taking each of their spots on the starting grid, everybody waited for the signal to black out. Andrea Caldarellli kicked off from the third row and pushed in P6 throughout the early laps of the race. Then from around the 15th lap, many were making pit-stops already. Brave Italian driver on PETRONAS TOM’S No. 36, kept a quick pace throughout and stayed well focused until finally pitting in after 23 laps. The team worked swiftly to change tyres and refuel, sent Andrea promptly back to the field.



7PETRONAS TEAM TOM’S No. 36 was running in P4 for a while, but just as the race began to enter the 35th lap, droplets of rain started to fall. At that point in time however, there were no significant changes to the track surface and conditions. Hence Andrea got ahead of a car that pitted in last, and as chalking up steady laps was up to P3 by the 38th lap and now podium finish came within his reach! However on the 41st lap came even heavier showers and the track condition turned to heavy-wet in an instant. At this timing, now all cars returning busily to switch to rain tyres crowded the pit road. While many coursed off from the track that became slippery, amid such stir-ups Andrea managed to drive skillfully and clung on to his position (P3). Gradually showers started pouring down ever more and when the race was 45 laps through, finally the Safety Car had to join. During the remaining 10 laps trailing behind the SC, rain did ease off but with no change to the track condition itself, everybody went till the end with the SC and was chequer-flagged as is. Andrea finished the race in 3rd place, which brought him his first podium achievement from the Super Formula series!


2Andrea Caldarelli

“In the qualifying yesterday, there were slight problems with the new tyres so we took a brave decision to try a different setting for the race, and it worked! Right after Start, driving was not as easy with the new tyres, but eventually I was able to pace up… Then came the sudden shower, and with my first time driving this car in Wet condition, for an instant, I felt a bit unsure, but I think I managed it all pretty well!

I want to thank Mr. Tachi of TOM’S very much for offering me the chance to drive in SUPER FORMULA, and many thanks to everyone in the Team for preparing such a highly competitive package!”