TEAM NEWS: Challenging finale for Richardson Racing

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 14 October, 2015 – The Richardson Racing team endured a challenging weekend at Brands Hatch as the curtain came down on the inaugural MSA Formula season at the famous Kent circuit.

The Grantham-based team headed south hoping for a solid end to its second season of single-seater competition, although lead driver Louise Richardson would be left to wonder what might have been after running into problems in two of the three races. Louise qualified 16th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend having been hampered by an overheating engine that prevented her from pushing for a quicker lap, although she battled her way forwards when the lights went out to cross the line just outside the top 10.

Race two saw her finish in 13th spot, having lost time when she accidentally hit the kill switch on the car and briefly cut out the engine, before taking to the grid for the 30th and final race of the campaign. Running 15th at the end of the opening lap, Louise then found herself caught up in an incident with Ameya Vaidyanathan that saw her tipped into a spin; the resultant damage leading to her being forced to back off for the remainder of the race. Louise took the flag in 17th spot and ends the year 16th in the championship standings; albeit little more than 30 points away from the top 10.

“Well I went out with a bit of a bang in race three, but it wasn’t the kind of bang I was hoping for!” she said. “In truth, it’s been a difficult weekend where we didn’t quite have the pace to challenge for the results we hoped for, but that is the nature of motorsport and things don’t always go your way. The opening race went okay and eleventh wasn’t a bad start to the weekend but in race two, I have to hold my hands up and admit it was my mistake that caused the car to cut out and it cost me some time.

“In race three, I was side-by-side with Vaidyanathan into Druids and he ran wide out of my vision and I thought he’d gone off. As I moved across, he suddenly reappeared next to me and next thing I knew, my car was in the air and I was going backwards down the hill towards Graham Hill Bend. From then on, there was a vibration with the car and I just backed off to make sure I brought it to the finish.

“Overall, it’s been a tough season but there have been highs along the way – most notably the podium at Croft. Obviously I’d have preferred more highs, but I’m happy to have completed my first full season since 2010 and there is a lot that me and the team can take away from this year. We’ll certainly be in a much stronger position at the start of next season based on everything we have learned this year.”

Team-mate Greg Holloway meanwhile brought the curtain down on his three event programme with three more trouble-free finishes; the best result being 13th place in the opening race of the weekend.

TEAM NEWS: Richardson Racing survives Silverstone incidents for double top 10

Louise Richardson / Richardson Racing

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 29 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – The Richardson Racing team battled hard to secure a double top 10 finish during a chaotic ninth round of the MSA Formula season at Silverstone. Louise Richardson ended a tough weekend on a high with a strong run through to fifth place in the third and final race of the weekend, while there was a maiden top 10 finish in the series for team-mate Greg Holloway on his second outing with the team.

Louise qualified in 14th place for the opening race of the weekend around the short National Circuit and a solid drive would see her rewarded with 15th spot at the finish; with the focus being on pushing forwards for race two. Unfortunately for Louise, she would struggle for grip throughout the second race and dropped down the order as a result, although she battled back valiantly to take the chequered flag in 15th. A five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, one of a number handed out to drivers across the field, would then see her demoted back to 17th on the final results.

Race three would prove to be one of the most chaotic of the season, with a number of incidents leading to multiple retirements in the opening laps. Staying out of the trouble all around her, Louise was rewarded with fifth place at the finish and will now hope to end her season on a high at Brands Hatch in two weeks time.

“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend and we really struggled to nail the set-up on the car to really push towards the front,” she said. “In race one and race two, it made things tough and it was just a case of us trying to stay out of trouble and make up places where we could.

“The same was true to an extent in race three as there was a lot of carnage out there on track and some drivers weren’t driving with their heads, but the set-up was a lot better and we were more competitive as a result. We’ve come away from the weekend with a top five finish which is a positive, and hopefully when we get to Brands Hatch – which is a circuit I love – we’ll be able to challenge for that kind of result on merit and end the season on a high.”

Greg qualified 19th on the grid and ended the opening race of the weekend in 18th having stayed out of trouble throughout as he gained more experience of the Ford EcoBoost-powered machine. A 19th place finish would follow in race two before Greg also avoided the chaos ahead in race three to cross the line in ninth spot – giving the team a double top 10 finish to end the weekend.

“We found a set-up I liked this weekend and I felt more confident in the car,” he said, “although I still didn’t feel I could push to the maximum at turn one which is where I was losing a lot of my time. However, I think I’ve made good progress this weekend and have taken a step forward compared to Rockingham. There is still more to come from me with more time in the car, but I’m happy with how the weekend has gone and it was nice to end it with a top 10 finish.”

TEAM NEWS: Top ten highlight for Richardson Racing

Louise Richardson / Richardson Racing

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 7 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – The Richardson Racing team secured a strong top 10 finish to conclude a challenging race day as the MSA Formula series headed to Rockingham for the eighth meeting of the season. Louise Richardson ended her weekend on a high with an impressive drive at the unique part-oval circuit to post a second top ten in as many meetings.

Louise was joined for the weekend by Australian racer Greg Holloway, who picked up three finishes on what was his race debut at the wheel of an MSA Formula machine.

In a tightly-fought qualifying session, Louise qualified 14th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend but her hopes of making much progress were ended on the opening lap when she was tipped into a spin at Yentwood – dropping her to the back of the field.

While a Safety Car period allowed her to catch up with the drivers ahead, Louise then found herself stuck behind the Fortec entry of James Pull for much of the race. Finally able to make a move stick, Louise would take the flag in 15th spot; just five seconds away from the top 10.

Race two however would prove to be a short-lived affair, with a fuel pump problem forcing Louise into an early visit to the pits – the issue being particularly frustrating after a demon start that had seen her quickly making up places off the line. Although able to rejoin the race, it was soon apparent that the issue was too great for her to continue and Louise was forced to bring the car back into the pits to retire.

With the problem resolved for race three, Louise was in fine form when the final race got underway – making up three places on the run to the Deene hairpin for the first time. Lapping as quickly as anyone else in the field, she battled her way forwards into the top ten and found herself on the end of a six-car train battling for third going into the final lap.

Coming under pressure from Tarun Reddy behind, Louise went side-by-side through Pif Paf and looked set to maintain her place before Ricky Collard attempted a move on both drivers. As Reddy tried to hold on around the outside, the resultant contact allowed Collard to make his move and demoted Louise back to ninth.

“It’s been another weekend of mixed emotions,” she said. “Race one was just one of those unlucky things where a driver behind suffered a brake issue and I got tipped into a spin, and then in race two, the fuel pump issue forced us out.

“In race three, we really found the set-up and the car felt strong. We matched the pace of the front-runners throughout and it was another indication of what we are capable of. Setting the fourth quickest lap was really encouraging.

“Unfortunately in the last few meetings we haven’t been able to string the whole weekend together and have had a combination of highs and lows. Hopefully when we get to Silverstone, we can have a strong weekend from start to finish.”

Having tested with the team on a number of occasions during the year, the Rockingham weekend marked a return to action for Greg for the first time since the final rounds of the 2014 Formula Ford season at Brands Hatch nearly twelve months ago.

Easing himself into his new surroundings, Greg qualified 19th on the grid but, like Louise, was then delayed by an incident on the opening lap. Staying out of trouble when the race resumed, Greg took the flag in 18th spot and then followed it up with 16th place in race two.

Again running without issue in the final race of the weekend, Greg completed his return to competitive action with a 17th place finish. “It was great to get back into a car after so long away and I really enjoyed the weekend,” he said. “I think I made some good improvements across the weekend and I’m looking forward to being back out again in the future, whenever that may be. Compared to the car I raced last year, the MSA Formula car gave me a lot more confidence and I felt more comfortable behind the wheel. It was good fun.”

TEAM NEWS: Up and down weekend for Richardson Racing

Louise Richardson / Richardson Racing

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 24 AUGUST, 2015 – The Richardson Racing team endured a weekend of ups and downs as the MSA Formula series headed to Knockhill for the seventh event of the season. The Grantham team made the trip to Scotland seeking to fight towards the top 10 after a challenging weekend at Snetterton, with Louise Richardson keen to replicate the kind of form that saw her finish on the podium at Croft prior to the summer break.

Louise qualified 14th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend but produced a fine drive when the lights went out to fight her way forwards through the pack towards the top 10. Running in eighth, Louise was set to secure pole for race two thanks to the reverse grid regulations before an overambitious move from one of her rivals in the closing stages resulted in contact that dropped her down to 15th at the finish.

Having been delayed at the start of race two avoiding a spinning car at turn one, Louise was forced to battle through from the back of the field after an early Safety Car period and had fought her way up to 11th going into the final lap. Unfortunately, an incident involving the two drivers directly ahead as they came up behind a slow car forced Louise on to the grass and damaged her front wing, meaning she instead dropped back to 12th at the finish.

A solid start again in race three saw Louise sitting in 11th after the opening lap only for a forceful move at the hairpin on lap two to drop her back to 15th as she ran wide through the gravel. Regaining her composure, she produced a series of storming laps to fight back into the top 10, ending the weekend with a solid ninth place finish.

“It’s been a bit of an up and down weekend, and the results don’t really reflect the pace in the car,” she said. “The first race was going well and we looked on for a top eight finish until the incident and then in race two, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time when it kicked off ahead.

“In race three, I was forced off the circuit at the hairpin but I came back well and the car felt brilliant towards the end. We just need to work on it so I get that feeling from the start of the weekend. It’s a little bit frustrating that we didn’t get the results that our pace deserved, and had it not been for the incident in race one, we’d have been at the front for race two with the reverse grid and things could have been very different. That’s all a case of ‘ifs and buts’ though, so we’ll take the positives from here and come out fighting at Rockingham.”

Team-mate Ollie Pidgley was on the back foot heading into qualifying given the weekend marked his first appearance at the undulating Scottish circuit, and he qualified 18th on the grid for the opening race.

Taking things easy following a light rain shower before the start, Ollie stayed out of trouble to finish the race in 13th and then avoided much of the carnage that developed ahead in race two to finish in tenth – despite being forced to take a trip across the grass at Duffus Dip when the car of Lando Norris spun ahead.

Ollie would then end his weekend with arguably his strongest drive – emerging on top of a number of battles on track to bring his car to the flag in 12th.

“It’s been an eventful weekend,” he said. “We lost out on some track time in practice which made it tough going into qualifying so I expected to be towards the back and then it started to rain before race one and I took it a bit too easy in the early stages. Race two was complete carnage and I lost out when Lando span in front of me and I had to run across the grass. Despite that, I managed to make the most of problems for others to finish inside the top 10, and in race three, I was able to get my elbows out a bit and make up some places without needing others to make mistakes. P12 was a decent finish to a challenging weekend.”

TEAM NEWS: Tough times for Richardson Racing at Snetterton

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 11 August, 2015 – After the highs of Croft prior to the summer break, the Richardson Racing team endured a more challenging weekend at Snetterton as the MSA Formula season resumed with the sixth meeting of the year.

The Grantham-based team made the journey to Norfolk seeking to build on its best weekend of the season to date, which had seen Louise Richardson take a maiden podium finish during the trip to the North East six weeks previously.

Having posted the 14th quickest time in qualifying, Louise would race her way forwards to finish the opening race of the weekend in 12th spot and went into race two keen to try to at least match that performance.

Sadly, a spin on the fourth lap after being forced to take avoiding action to prevent a collision with rival Petru Florescu dropped her to the back of the field, although she fought back well to cross the line in 14th – the end result leaving her wondering what might have been without the earlier incident.

Race three would end with a similar result despite a mid-race excursion at the final corner, leaving Louise 16th in the championship standings at the end of the weekend. “After a great weekend at Croft before the summer break, this one has been tough and to be honest, I think we just need to try and draw a line under it and look forward to the next round at Knockhill,” she said. “Qualifying was difficult as I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the car and struggled to make much progress, but the team made some changes for race one and it felt much better.

“Unfortunately, races two and three just didn’t go my way. In race two, I was making a move on Florescu when he closed the door and I spun in avoidance, and then in race three, the car snapped under braking for the final corner and I had a spin across the grass. It’s disappointing that we weren’t able to build on the podium at Croft with some similar results here, but we’ve shown what we can do in previous events and will just put this weekend behind us and come out fighting in Scotland.”

Team-mate Ollie Pidgley had looked well set for a solid race weekend after qualifying 15th on the grid in the sister car, with the single-seater rookie running well in the midfield pack through the opening six laps of the opening race.

Unfortunately, his race would then be brought to an early end when heavy contact from one of his rivals at the Montreal hairpin on the seventh lap left his car extensively damaged and forced him into retirement.

With the car repaired, Ollie lined up at the back of the field for race two but having made solid early progress, he was then forced to pit for further repairs after being hit again at the same corner. Whilst the deployment of the Safety Car minimised his losses, he dropped off the lead lap and was left down in 19th place as a result.

Despite the car not being at its best, Ollie then picked up a 15th place finish in race three, leaving him to reflect on a weekend full of missed opportunities; with the results of the three races being an unfair reflection of his performance on track.

“Qualifying went well but sadly it turned out to be the only decent session of the weekend for me,” he said. “We could probably have gone even quicker but we looked good going into race one and I was racing with the pack for the first time. It was going well and I felt comfortable, and then I was hit going into the hairpin and that was it – game over.

“In race two, I was hit again at the same place by another driver from the same team and in both cases, they were deemed to have been at fault. I know that I’ve made mistakes myself in the past, but this time around it was just really bad luck for me to be caught up in two incidents that were caused by others. Because of those two incidents, and the fact we picked up some debris, the car wasn’t at its best in race three and the performance wasn’t what we’d hoped for. Overall, it’s been a frustrating weekend where we could have had so much more.”

Ford-powered racers revved up for Snetterton

  • Ricky Collard leads the MSA Formula title hunters to Norfolk
  • Louise Richardson hoping to capitalise on her first podium finish

31 JULY, 2015 – The long summer break is almost over and for the contenders in the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship next weekend’s (8/9 August) resumption of racing action at Snetterton in Norfolk cannot come soon enough.

With 15 races run and 15 to go, just 25 points separate the leading contenders seeking the inaugural MSA Formula crown – and the FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain title which accompanies it. With three race wins under his belt and five second-place finishes in addition, Ricky Collard, son of BTCC star Rob, starts the second half of the season in the box seat.

Collard, who turned 19 yesterday (Thursday), has been a cool and consistent finisher all year, but he knows that he will need to maintain his recent improvements in qualifying form if he is to maintain his championship lead, which is under threat from 15-year-old Lando Norris, who has yet to qualify outside the top two and who has gone on to record four race victories for the Carlin team.

The tussle between Collard and Norris will be complicated by a host of other drivers looking to get in on the act. The first half of the season saw seven different race winners, with TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell, JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding and Fortec’s Dan Ticktum claiming two victories each. Brazilian ace Matheus Leist (Double R) and Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith (Fortec) took a win apiece, and all of the above have the speed and opportunity to claim further silverware.

A number of the frontrunners have been keeping their eye in during the MSA Formula season break by racing around the world. Fielding is due this weekend to make his UFS2000 Championship debut at Mid-Ohio, while Leist will be in action for the Double R team at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ticktum last weekend made his Formula Renault 2.0 NEC debut, claiming a pair of top-15 finishes at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Meanwhile, law student Louise Richardson has been busy working as an paralegal intern during her break from racing. The 22-year-old is keeping her focus on the top step of the podium after her season turned a corner in June at Croft, where she scored her maiden podium, bracketed by a brace of top-five finishes at the wheel of her Richardson Racing-prepared car.

“Croft went really well,” said Louise. “We were all a bit disheartened after the Oulton Park rounds because we had such a miserable weekend there, so we were not looking forward to Croft as much as would have normally. But the team worked so hard on the car and changed so much on it… The attitude was ‘if it doesn’t work, then we have nothing to lose and at least we tried…’ but it did work.

“It was a combination of changes: I went to a simulator before Croft, which helped the driving side, and so many things were changed on the car. The combination gave us such a strong package and hopefully we can keep it up for Snetterton. We are still testing and trying new things, still working away at it and finding more time, and I need to continue to drive like I did at Croft. I quite like Snetterton, so hopefully the fact that I enjoy the circuit will help.” Louise’s regular team-mate, Ollie Pidgley, will be in action in Norfolk also and seeking to net a top-10 finish.

There will be plenty more talent on the Snetterton grid… Norris’s Carlin colleagues Colton Herta and Petru Florescu enjoyed their most competitive showings of the year last time out with 15-year-old Californian Herta following Smith home for second place in the Croft reverse-grid race and Romania’s Florescu taking an overall fourth and his maiden Rookie class win.

Falcon Motorsport duo Jessica Hawkins and Darius Karbaley will be looking for further strong results, as will the trio of quick drivers from JTR: Dan Baybutt, James Pull and Ameya Vaidyanathan. Jack Barlow is set to return with MBM after skipping a meeting, and then there is Double R’s Tarun Reddy, who will be buoyed by scoring his first podium finish at Croft, Jerseyman Jack Butel, now racing with Fielding for JHR Developments, and the TRS Arden team’s third man, kart champion Enaam Ahmed. Rafa Martins will meanwhile be hoping for a return to the form which brought him a podium finish at Thruxton and a top-four result at Oulton Park for the SWB Motorsport team.

The Snetterton action begins with two timed official test sessions next Friday, followed on Saturday by qualifying and the first of the weekend’s three races. Sunday afternoon’s finale will be screened live on ITV4.

Snetterton timetable
Fri 7 Aug: 1040 & 1440 Testing
Sat 8 Aug: 1100 Qualifying, 1510 Round 16
Sun 9 Aug: 0920 Round 17, 1520 Round 18 (live ITV4)