The Banbury-based squad arrived at the 2.7-mile Hungaroring in confident form, with promising pace in practice cementing the team’s belief their package would be back among the front-runners after a tough home event at Silverstone.
Starting at the rear of the field after a challenging qualifying in wet-weather conditions, Anthoine Hubert came within touching distance of the points-paying positions and the reverse-grid pole position for the Sprint Race.
The Renault Sport Academy racer left it late in the Feature Race to swap onto the softer-compound tyre and duly lit up the time sheets after emerging back into the race, setting fastest laps and closing down an eight-second gap to the car ahead with relative ease.
As the Frenchman prepared to convert that pace advantage into points, however, a late appearance by the Safety Car forced Hubert to hold position in eleventh to the chequered flag, frustratingly just outside of a deserved points finish.
Tatiana Calderon also made positive strides in the opening contest, with comparable pace to Hubert and a competitive edge en route to sixteenth at the chequered flag in the other Pink Panther.
A slow start hampered Hubert’s progress in the Sprint Race, but he still put an impressive late move on Alesi at Turn 2 to seal eleventh, once again just shy of adding to his tally.
For Calderon, the race ended in abrupt fashion after contact from Maini behind left the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 Test Driver with irreparable damage, and out of the race.
Despite a bruising weekend, the BWT Arden squad will now return to base over the summer break before the FIA Formula 2 Championship resumes at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, over the weekend of 30th August – 1st September.
Kenny Kirwan, BWT Arden Team Manager:
“Our progress in the opening race was stunted by the appearance of the Safety Car towards the end, which would have most certainly put us in contention for the Sprint Race reverse-grid pole, given the strategy the team employed with Anthoine.
“Sunday’s race was difficult in that Tatiana had a coming together with another driver as they battled for position, and Anthoine lost ground at the beginning due to an average launch from his starting slot.
“We’re disappointed to come away from the weekend empty-handed, however we know we’ve made some strong steps, both in driver and car performance and we’re very much looking forward to joining up all the dots at the next event and adding to our points tally!”
Tatiana Calderon (#18):
“It was a difficult weekend, with qualifying being very challenging, driving the car for the first time in the rain was definitely a new experience and unfortunately we didn’t put things together on the second set of wets but, again, it was tricky to adapt in such a short session.
“In race one, we definitely had good pace compared to my team-mate, we used a different strategy. It was encouraging to see that we could fight other cars and regain some positions. Unfortunately in race two, I think Maini braked too late and he basically stopped with my front-right tyre. I got a hit, and that was it.
“I think, again, the pace seemed to be good enough to fight other people, I hope we can carry this into Spa. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in the car soon.”
Anthoine Hubert (#19):
“Another weekend without points. It’s difficult to swallow as we had great potential and I felt strong!
“Unfortunately, it was all ruined after the disqualification in Qualifying. We need to get back in the points shortly but I’m sure that if we do everything right we will get there."