Strong showing by Niklas Krütten on ADAC Formula 4 debut

April 2018
Niklas Kruetten
Sun, wind and rain, and in the middle of it all, Niklas Krütten. The opening weekend of the ADAC Formula 4 in Oschersleben in front of 25,000 spectators had a bit of everything. However, the 15-year-old BWT Mücke Motorsport rookie did not allow the weather conditions to upset him on his first race weekend in the German Formula 4. He finished in the Top Ten in all of the weekend's three races, celebrated his first victory in the rookie classification in the third race, and so, heads the classification for newcomers in the ADAC Formula 4 as he bids farewell to Oschersleben.

Practice and Friday's two qualifying sessions were marked by difficult conditions and rain showers. Nevertheless, Krütten qualified as his team's best driver for the first two races in P14 and 12. Changeable conditions prevailed again in the first race, but the rookie kept a cool head and finished in ninth place to achieve his first points in the first race.  Conditions were warm and sunny for the second race on Saturday evening. While most of the drivers hovered around the 1:26 mark in the second stint of the race, Krütten - like the eventual winner - stayed in the 1:25 range for a long time, gaining vital seconds. Just a few more laps would have been enough to move him up into eighth place to secure pole position for the third race with its reversed grid.  However, Krütten managed to produce a strong third race even from ninth on the grid. He fought his way up to a sensational fifth place and was the best-placed rookie. And so, BWT Mücke Motorsport's driver took part in the awards ceremony on his first race weekend in the ADAC Formula 4.  

Four questions to Niklas Krütten  Congratulations on your fine start in the ADAC Formula 4. How does it feel to have secured the Rookie win in the third race and the lead in the Rookie classification?

Most excellent! It was a great first weekend. I improved with every session, and of course, rounding things off with the Rookie win was absolutely fabulous. It was a great experience to be on the podium for the first time. The race went very well, my speed was terrific. The fact that I lead the Rookie classification gives me a big motivational boost for the races to come.

How difficult were conditions over the weekend?

It was extremely changeable on Saturday and sunny on Sunday. The two qualis were basically quite good. At the same time, I know that even more might have been possible. I couldn't quite get the right feeling for the new tyres in time for qualifying, because practice kept getting interrupted by red flags and rain. In the second session, I was actually on my way to a place in the Top Ten when it suddenly got wet. A couple of grid positions further up the field might otherwise have been possible in both races. The conditions also played a big part in the first race. Many drivers overcooked it and skidded off into the gravel. That's exactly what I wanted to prevent, which is why I was a bit too cautious to begin with, but the strategy paid off in the end with P9.  

You secured another finish in the Top Ten in the second race and were second-best rookie... 

I got a great start in this race and immediately gained a position. Unfortunately, a slower driver in front of me completely blocked the way forward and it took a long time to get past him. Consequently, the gap to the group ahead increased to five seconds. I really had to push to get back up there with them. My times were good and the tyres degraded much less than those of the competition, so I finished ninth. That was OK, of course, but I'd got my eye on P8 and pole position for Race 3 with its reversed grid. I could have done it with a few more laps!

You will be back racing again this weekend (20th - 22nd April). How are you preparing for the Italian Formula 4 season opener?

I'm preparing the same way as I did for the Oschersleben weekend. My goal is to achieve a Rookie victory in the Italian Formula 4 and maybe even finish on the podium overall. I've already tested at the Adria Raceway and my lap times were promising.