Silverstone, England (April 15, 2013) — After two impressive races where American Michael Lewis moved up through the field during the FIA Formula 3 event at Silverstone, England, this weekend, misfortune struck Michael for his third race, but he showed impressive skill during the race weekend.
Friday, April 12
Round 2 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in Silverstone, England, began on Friday with Free Practice. After joining the kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport team just one week ago, American Michael Lewis drove cleanly in the back-to-back 40-minute sessions that comprise Free Practice, even in full wet conditions. Michael ranked P1 for most of the final parts of the session, but was bumped down in the closing minutes where he finished P3. Michael and his engineer Peter Flückiger began working very well together from the start of the race weekend.
“We were just going to go out and feel the car lap by lap,” described Michael Lewis, a Laguna Beach, California, native. “By about the 4th or 5th lap, Peter was on the radio saying that I was up on the charts doing well. It was pretty awesome to be back with a strong pace in the wet conditions.”
After Practice, track conditions changed, allowing Michael to try out his kfzteile Mücke Motorsport #5 Mercedes-Benz Dallara for the first time in the dry for the two-part Qualifying sessions. The first qualifying session, or Q1, determines the grid for Race 1 and Race 2 using the fastest and second fastest lap of the session.
“Peter and I had the same plan to just feel the car and really get used to the car more than anything,” explained Michael. “After about three laps I was getting back to my dry weather pace, but I was stopped short of my full potential because of a red flag and some additional yellow flags halfway through the 20-minute Q1 session. The red flag was the same for everyone, but it really hurt me a bit more as I needed every lap I could get in the dry to feel out the new kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport car. I was very positive and hoped that Q2 would be wet, because I am confident in running on a wet track.” Michael ended up P18 and P20 after Q1.
During the five-minute break to reset the clock and commence Q2, rain started to fall heavily and made the entire circuit completely wet. When the green light at the end of pit lane was illuminated, all drivers had to face a completely different situation. However, as it was raining very hard, the rain only lasted several minutes into Q2. As they were qualifying toward the back in Q1 due to particular circumstances, Peter and Michael decided to gamble and put on slick tires for the start of the Q2 session. This would mean that Michael would have to enter the fully wet race track hoping the track was dry enough at the end of the session. Michael drove well and managed to stay on track during the first part of Q2. Then with about eight minutes remaining in the 20-minute Q2 session, Michael’s lap times began to get faster.
“A bit of Sector 1 and nearly all of Sector 2 was starting to get relatively dry because that is the old asphalt area, so I was pushing as hard as I could there,” said Michael. “However, most of Sector 3 was still pretty much full wet. So it was intense to manage traffic with drivers on rain tires battling around me plus the normal risk/reward of the slicks on a wet track.” As the clock timed out, Michael’s lap times were getting dramatically better, and Michael posted a P13 finish to Q2. “I was pushing to get one more lap in, but missed the line by a few seconds, having completed that lap would have put me a couple of rows ahead. I was really enjoying driving in those conditions and liked that we tried to gamble for a top spot,” added Michael.
Saturday, April 13
Races 1 and 2 of Round 2 were scheduled for Saturday, as Michael and his kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport team anticipated the changing weather conditions for each race, which remained mostly dry for both events. Michael started the first race in P20 but quickly began carving his way through the field until he reached P13. With some laps remaining, Michael had caught up to the lead pack but just ran out of time when he crossed the finish line.
“The car was handling well and I finally got to do some clean laps in the dry,” reported Michael. “My goal was to stay out of trouble, make no mistakes, and pass as many cars as possible. I think it’s safe to say that goal was reached.”
Only one hour after the completion of Race 1, Race 2 was scheduled to begin with threatening weather conditions, which could dramatically change the track surface. The track ended up being somewhat dry, but with humid spots spread throughout all sectors of the track. Starting now in P18 when the race began, 22-year-old Michael made another impressive start by placing his car in the best position on the track to avoid a number of crashes and make passes on that first lap. Amazingly by the second lap, Michael had worked his way up to P10. A safety car was then deployed on the second lap to adhere to all of the accidents. When racing resumed, Michael fought hard and was found battling for P10 (which is the last position that gives a championship point) for the remainder of the race.
“The car was handling well and I just made one mistake by fighting a competitor for one position,” said Michael, “but ended up losing two places on the exit of Copse. I regrouped and put pressure on the driver in P10, but was unable to make a safe overtake in the end.” At the end of the 35-minute race, Michael had astonishingly passed many cars to finish P11. The kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport team worked hard all day and had one more race to complete the weekend.
Team Boss Peter Mücke commented positively on the first two days of racing. Remembering that only one week ago, the fourth Mücke-cockpit was filled by the young American. Finishing Race 1 in position 13 (coming from 20th) and finishing Race 2 in position 11 (coming from 18th), without any test drives before the event in Silverstone, Michael also celebrated a sensational comeback at the free practice on Friday already with the third fastest lap time. Peter Mücke explained, “It is too bad that he (Michael) couldn’t implement that at the Qualifying, but to almost finish in between the top 10 coming from the back of the field is a great performance.”
Sunday, April 14
For the final 35-minute race of the weekend, Race 3 proved to be a great chance for Michael to score his first championship points for kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, as Michael would start P13. If the Californian’s trend of good starts and great passing maneuvers continued, this would be an exciting race. With an early start time of 9:15 a.m., the circuit was cold and wet from the previous evening’s rain showers. However, when the race got underway, the track was neither completely wet nor completely dry. In fact, many drivers elected to use slick tires for the event, while other drivers opted for rain tires. Michael and his engineer, Peter Flückiger, decided to use slick tires to start the race.
“We were pretty confident with our choice before the formation lap, and once I passed through pit lane to take another lap I also agreed that the track was going to suit the dry tires the best,” said Michael. “The track was extremely wet in some places, especially in Sector 2 and Sector 3.” Once the lights went out to start Race 3, Michael made another terrific launch and battled hard into the Arena section and the Turn 6/Turn 7 complex. Michael was able to avoid three big crashes on the first lap, but unfortunately as he began to exit the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex toward the end of the first lap, Michael was crashed into from behind when another driver tried a dangerous overtaking maneuver. The competitor hit the rear crash box of Michael’s #5 kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport car, immediately sending Michael off the track and into the muddy gravel run-off area, preventing Michael from continuing the race.
“There were a lot of accidents happening on that first lap and people flying off everywhere. I was able to make it through all of the accidents and was around P7 when I got hit off the track from another driver,” explained Michael. “It was very frustrating not to finish Race 3 because my guys were working so hard the entire weekend and they deserved a good result. It is just one of those racing situations that you can’t control and you just have to deal with other people’s mistakes.”
Michael was very pleased with the passion and work ethic of kzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, and he now looks forward to Round 3 (races 7, 8 & 9) of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the Hockenheim Circuit, which takes place May 3–5, in Hockenheim, Germany.
1 – Harry Tincknell (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
2 – Alex Lynn (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
3 – Felix Rosenqvist (Dallara-Mercedes) – Mücke
4 – Lucas Auer (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
5 – Nicholas Latifi (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
6 – Raffaele Marciello (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
7 – William Buller (Dallara-Nissan) – T Sport
8 – Felix Serralles (Dallara-Mercedes) – Fortec
9 – Pipo Derani (Dallara-Mercedes) – Fortec
10 – Tom Blomqvist (Dallara-Mercedes) – Eurointernational
13 – Michael Lewis (Dallara-Mercedes) – Mücke
1 – Felix Rosenqvist (Dallara-Mercedes) – Mücke
2 – Raffaele Marciello (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
3 – Lucas Auer (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
4 – Harry Tincknell (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
5 – Tom Blomqvist (Dallara-Mercedes) – Eurointernational
6 – Alex Lynn (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
7 – Joshua Hill (Dallara-Mercedes) – Fortec
8 – Luis Derani (Dallara-Mercedes) – Fortec
9 – William Buller (Dallara-Nissan) – T Sport
10 – Eddie Cheever (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
11 – Michael Lewis (Dallara-Mercedes) – Mücke
1 – Raffaele Marciello (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
2 – Felix Rosenqvist (Dallara-Mercedes) – Mücke
3 – Alex Lynn (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
4 – Felix Serralles (Dallara-Mercedes) – Fortec
5 – William Buller (Dallara-Nissan) – T Sport
6 – Jordan King (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
7 – Lucas Auer (Dallara-Mercedes) – Prema
8 – Joann Mardenborough (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
9 – Harry Tincknell (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
10 – Nicholas Latifi (Dallara-Volkswagen) – Carlin
Dennis Van de Laar
Michael Lewis’ 2013 sponsor lineup includes K&N Motorsports, Eibach, Mercedes-Benz, ASE, Cometic Gasket, GoPro, Bell Helmets, Puma Motorsport, Subè Sports, Braille Batteries, Formula Medicine, Klotz, and Racing Electronics.
For more information about Mücke Motorsports and photos to download, visit www.muecke-motorsport.de.
Meredith Kaplan Burns
Team kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport Presse
Background information of the German Team kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport from Berlin
Peter Mücke started in Formula motor sports with his team in 1998 and nowadays it is the one of the biggest and most successful private racing stables in Germany and it is involved in the DTM since 2005 as well. Already at the first year in Formula sports his son as the newbie in the field, Stefan Mücke, got the title for Mücke Motorsport at the Formula BMW, and at the offspring series there were three further titles, last time with Pascal Wehrlein in 2011 at the ADAC Formula Masters. The driver from Worndorf got the sixth Rookie title one year later as well as the fifth vice championship at the drivers ranking since the access of Mücke into the Formula 3 in 1999. Attached to that there were two wins at the Formula 3 Masters in Zandvoort as well as position two in 2012 at the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau of the Swede Felix Rosenqvist, who was championship third last year as well and who fights for the European Championship title in the actual team as well. Now in 2013 the team has four Dallara Mercedes at the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, as well as six Formula ADAC powered by Volkswagen at the ADAC Formula Masters.
Car master craftsman, car and bike shop owner Peter Mücke is involved in motor sports for about 40 years already. The 66 year old got more than 500 wins himself and has been Auto Cross European Champion three times in his self built Buggy as well as GDR Champion eleven times (seven times Auto-Cross, four times circular track) and is still behind the wheel of his Ford Capri RS at some Youngtimer races, if there is the time. His good feeling for talented drivers made his team to a well-known offspring team that offers the whole range, from rookies and beginners of motor sports up to the advancement into the royal league of the Formula sport. Until now, six former drivers of Mücke Motorsport started at the Formula 1. And one of them is the threefold World Champion Sebastian Vettel from Heppenheim. Five further drivers that were engaged in the offspring school of Mücke Motorsport in different series, also succeeded to drive at the Formula 1: Sergio Perez (Mexico), Robert Kubica (Poland), Sébastien Buemi (Switzerland), Christian Klien (Austria) and Markus Winkelhock (Germany).
Stefan Mücke (31), who is the consultant of his father’s team as well, switched 2007 to the sports cars scene after his time as Mercedes pilot at the DTM. In 2009, he was the champion of the Le Mans Series in the LMP1 sports car prototype, in 2011 vice champion at the FIA GT1 World Championship and in 2012 vice champion with his Team Aston Martin Racing at the FIA World Endurance Championship. At the WEC, the Berlin is behind the wheel in 2013 as well and this will be his sixth year in a row as Aston Martin works driver. In June he will take part at the famous 24 hour race of Le Mans for the seventh time.