Niklas Krütten masters debut weekend in the Euroformula Open
For Niklas Krütten, last weekend was a quartet of firsts. The teenager from Trier (Rhineland-Palatinate) contested his first two races in the Euroformula Open, went for his first competitive outing in a Formula 3 car, made his debut at Silverstone, and drove for his new team, Motopark, for the first time. And the only preparation the ADAC Sports Foundation protégé had for all this was a single test day at Oschersleben.
Krütten emerged from the two free practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday in eleventh place. In the first qualifying session on Saturday morning, he showed himself to be a fast learner by booking seventh place on the grid. At the start of his first Formula 3 race, the 16-year-old initially lost two positions but rapidly regained them. However, a small mistake at the middle of the race then cost him seventh place. Krütten still managed to chalk up his first points in the Euroformula Open with a P8 finish.
In the second quali, he put the number 18 car on ninth. Krütten experienced bad luck with the timing of a red flag and had only a few minutes left for one hot lap on new tyres. Krütten finished his second race in this hard-fought series in eighth place. The newcomer has thus already scored eight points on only his debut.
His next appointment with the Euroformula Open comes on the weekend of 21st/22nd September at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Three questions for Niklas Krütten
What are the differences between a Formula 4 and a Formula 3 car?
There are considerable differences, but I’m getting used to them with every passing session. I had only one test day before coming to Silverstone. The Formula 3 car is much faster than the Formula 4 that I’ve been competing in so far. Driving it is much more fun. The car has a lot of downforce, which allows extremely high cornering speeds but makes overtaking more difficult.
I don’t suppose the opposition will be giving you an easy time…
The series is highly competitive, and the gaps are small. A minor error or element of bad luck makes a lot of difference. In the second qualifying, for example, some of the other drivers had already set their lap times on new tyres when the red flags came out. I only managed to get out there on my new tyres when there was very little time left. My lap time was obviously not optimal, because the tyres weren’t quite into their operating window.
How would you sum up your first race weekend in the Euroformula Open?
I learned a lot. It wasn’t just the series and the car that were new to me but also the track. Silverstone is one of the most technically demanding circuits anywhere, but I coped with it well. I knew that the weekend wasn’t going to be easy. Ultimately, though, I’m very happy with my progress. Now it’s all about continuing to learn and to make progress. The upcoming tracks should be a bit easier. I don’t know Barcelona yet, but we’ll have one day of testing there ahead of the race weekend. I’m already familiar with Monza from the Italian Formula 4.