Niklas Krütten defies difficult conditions in Vallelunga

September 2018
Niklas Kruetten
It was the penultimate race weekend of the Formula 4 Italian Championship for Niklas Krütten and BWT Mücke Motorsport. On the challenging Autdromo Vallelunga just outside the Italian capital of Rome, the Formula 4 rookie from Trier had an uphill struggle for almost the entire weekend. His car had a bad case of gremlins, which manifested itself in a lack of engine power.

In the circumstances, it was all the more remarkable that Krütten managed to finish sixth in the first of the three races, securing his eighth rookie podium in the Italian Formula 4. In the second race, the technical problems on the German's car made themselves more noticeable. The BWT Mücke Motorsport youngster secured maximum damage limitation with a P15 and a P12 in the last two races.

Next up is the grand finale to the 2018 ADAC Formula 4. From 21st to 23rd September, Krütten and his team will be at the Hockenheimring where he will be up against David Schumacher, the son of ex Formula 1 and DTM driver Ralf Schumacher, in a battle for the rookie championship. A second and a third place for Krütten in the first two races on his previous visit to Hockenheim suggests that the track very much suits his style.

Three questions for Niklas Krütten

Niklas, how would you sum up your weekend at Vallelunga?
It was a very difficult weekend and one that I just want to forget about as soon as possible. After testing in Vallelunga a week ago, my expectations had been running very high. We were very fast out there on the track. I was confident of top finishes in all three races. Unfortunately, things turned out differently. The gremlins were relentless. I had virtually no engine power in the second qualifying session or in any of the first two races. The fact that I made it to sixth place and onto the rookie podium in Race 1 is almost a miracle, given the technical problems.

You are in your first year in Formula 4 - what you might call an apprentice year. How do you cope with problems of that nature?
Obviously, it's not easy when you know that you basically have no chance of making any progress in the race. But it is part of being a professional in this sport that you always give it everything you've got and take every opportunity that arises. In the first race, there were a couple of cars ahead of me that ultimately failed to finish for one reason or another. That's also part and parcel of motorsport. I gave everything from the start to the end of the race. It was really difficult hanging on to that sixth place. The drivers behind me applied incredible pressure, but I wasn't going to let them get the better of me. It's always more fun to be the pursuer - unless, of course, you're leading the race. But you also have to be able to defend your position, and I did that very well in the first race.

The grand finale of the ADAC Formula 4 is in sight. How do you rate your chances of winning the rookie title?
Sure, a 20-points deficit on David Schumacher is a big gap to plug. But at the same time, I have nothing to lose. As always, I'll be doing my best. There's nothing more I can do. I'm very strong mentally, and I know I can do it. I am very happy with what I've achieved in my first year, and I'm very grateful to my team. I hope I can give something back to BWT Mücke Motorsport and to the many fans at the Hockenheimring.