Brilliant Lando takes Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title
A second and third place finish at Spa-Francorchamps while driving in severe pain gave the Josef Kaufmann Racing star the points he needed to clinch the title early. And at just 16 years old, he also became the youngest ever winner of the Championship. After winning the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series in February and the inaugural MSA Formula Championship last season – a year after becoming the youngest ever karting world champion – it is clear to see why the talented Somerset racer is tipped for a glittering career.
The ADD Motorsports driver said: “It’s great to get the title - it was a tough Championship and to take it with a round to spare is really satisfying. I finished on the podium in every race apart from two, so it shows how consistent I’ve been. I was in a lot of pain through a neck injury and it really affected my driving this weekend. I was really surprised to finish second when I was struggling so much. The last race was up there with one of my best.”
Somerset driver Lando was off the pace in practice. A gearbox problem saw him miss most of the session and finish in 16th position in the first session and the second saw a slight improvement as he finished eighth. With a lot to do, he thought the first qualifying would be difficult, but after a few changes to the car, he came through to take pole.
He lost the lead at the start of race one, although his main competitor for the title was later handed a drive-through penalty for a jump start. Lando dropped another position soon after, but with his race pace not quite there, couldn’t find a way back and had to settle for third.
On his way to the second qualifying on Sunday, Lando felt something go in his neck – later believed to be a trapped nerve. It meat he went straight from the massage table into the pit lane and was forced to alter his driving position to drive through the pain. He finished 13 on old tyres and sixth on the new tyres, despite his obvious discomfort.
For the second race, it was the same story, with the young driver’s preparations in disarray due to the injury. But despite being forced to drive in pain, he got off to a good start and soon moved into fifth place and then made a good move to get into third. He dropped back into fourth, but with three laps to go made another move that saw him get back into a podium position. The driver then managed to take second place and defended well to finish there.
He added: “I was really surprised to do as well as I did in qualifying. I had to rest my head on the outside head rest to get comfortable and that really affected my vision and driving. It was the same in the second race – so I was really happy to get second place. I had mixed emotions getting the title. I was really pleased to get through the weekend and still take the Championship in these circumstances. It means I’ve taken the extra licence points which is another step towards my goal of getting into F1. There are a lot of well known past winners who have gone onto Formula 1, so to be up there with them is a great achievement.
"I'd just like to thank the whole team for getting me across the line, from the Joseph Kaufmann Racing team, to Pap, Louise and ADD Motorsports - and of course my family who support me every step of the way."
Lando took the Rookie of the Year title in the last round of the Championship, before taking the Championship this weekend. He became the youngest winner of Championship, beating Kevin Korjus who at 17, was almost a year older.
However, the teen is no stranger to taking titles. Lando signed-off from his glittering karting career in 2014 as the youngest ever World Championship winner – taking Lewis Hamilton’s accolade when he took the CIK FIA KF crown. He also won the Formula Kart Stars series title in 2012 and the WSK Euro Series, CIK FIA European Championship and CIK FIA Supercup a year later.
Last season saw him take the MSA Formula Championship title, before claiming the New Zealand Toyota Racing Series this February with a race to spare – also becoming the first Briton since Sir Jackie Stewart in 1967 to win the Grand Prix season finale along the way.
ADD Motorsports director Mark Berryman added: “Lando has done a brilliant job again to take another title – it’s four years of back to back titles for him. He’s put in a lot of hard work along the way and to go out this weekend and drive so well when he was in so much pain was really impressive. He can push on for another title this weekend in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and we hope there can be many more in the future.”