Niklas Krütten has strong showing at Monza in grand finale of Euroformula
Niklas Krütten completed the last of three race weekends in the Euroformula Open at Monza. The ADAC Sports Foundation protégé had his first race outing at the wheel of a Formula 3 single-seater at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza instead of in a Formula 4 car. Krütten went on a strong charge up the field in both fixtures at the high-speed circuit. Motopark’s driver crossed the finish line in the Top Ten on Saturday and Sunday.
Krütten was unlucky in both qualifying sessions. A dubious stop-and-go penalty dropped him down into 14th place on Saturday morning while a technical problem in the second race against the clock on Sunday morning bumped him down the field into last place on the grid. Starting out from that position, the only thing to do was push hard and gain as much ground as possible in both races.
In the first race on Saturday, he moved up into ninth on the first lap, but another competitor then forced him to run wide into the gravel trap and he dropped to the rear of the field again. From P18, he fought his way up into eighth place with a series of strong overtaking manoeuvres.
In Sunday’s second round, Krütten moved up from P18 to seventh despite a long safety car period. He received a five-second penalty after the race, which subsequently dropped him back down into eleventh place. However, that does not detract from the strong performance shown by the Formula 3 newcomer, who pulled off the most overtaking manoeuvres in only his third race weekend in the Euroformula Open and matched the front-runners for lap times.
Four questions for Niklas Krütten
That was a magnificent charge in Sunday’s race! How did you manage to push so far forwards?
The car’s pace was superb. It just felt great. I fought my way up through the field from last place on the grid. Unfortunately, I had a contact with another competitor just before the end, for which the stewards retrospectively gave me a five-second penalty. That cost me seventh place ultimately. As far as I’m concerned, it was a clear-cut racing incident, but I’m not complaining. The race was still very enjoyable in spite of that.
But you also had a heart-in-the-mouth moment, didn’t you?
Yes, indeed. Two drivers collided directly in front of me and one of them rolled his car. I didn’t know at first which way to turn to get out of the way. Fortunately, everything went well. We then had a couple of laps behind the safety car, during which I had to break off from my charge, but what’s more important is that neither of them was injured in the crash.
You had some bad luck in both qualis. What happened?
We had an issue with an electrical component on Sunday morning and I could only post a few laps with the engine in safe mode. On Saturday, I suffered as a result of a problem that is typical for Monza where slipstreaming is crucial for a hot lap time and everyone tries to find the best position for their flying lap. I was driving slowly next to the racing line, within the rules, but a fellow competitor was also travelling quite slowly actually on the racing line, and unfortunately, both of us were handed stop-and-go penalties. I had more than my fair share of bad luck in qualifying at the weekend, but the team did a top job and gave me a superb car to use in both races, one in which I was able to really attack. The races were great fun!
What conclusions would you draw from your three weekends, racing in the Euroformula Open?
It’s been a good move for me. The car puts much greater demands on a driver than in Formula 4 and I’ve learned a great deal in a very short time. The field is extremely competitive but I can go up against the best. This series is absolutely ideal for me in my current stage of development.