Known for its on-track show and the good behaviour of its young drivers, the Formula Renault Eurocup draws a significant share of its success through the seamless organization of its competition structure. We now meet the race director.
The founding principles
As the man heading the race director, Tamas Zettner Jr has worked for several years in close collaboration with the race stewards at each event. Always very vigilant to even the smallest of on-track situations, he explains his role in detail.
“It is my responsibility that the event runs smoothly”, he explains. “As such, I have to ensure that the drivers behave correctly and are in total safety in every session. If I see an infraction, I inform the stewards, who determine if an investigation is warranted. If this is the case, the competitors are notified and the stewards will make a ruling using a range of tools at their disposal.”
A well-oiled process
Concretely, all investigations follow a pattern that has been proven over time and experience. “If I see something that requires an investigation, I will submit a report of the incident to the race stewards. They then take over. All the officials work as a team and talk about what would be the fairest and most consistent decision possible. We constantly question ourselves in order to draw the necessary conclusions of certain investigations.”
Often under the spotlight at the highest levels, the Formula Renault Eurocup race stewards rely mainly on three people: a president, one or two international stewards and one from the host country’s federation. And they have all the means at their disposal to avoid any ambiguity or altercation.
“We have many more viewing angles than the spectators”, continues the Hungarian. “Thanks to CCTV covering the entire track and onboard cameras, we don’t miss a thing. The recordings are available to the stewards post-race if they want to open an investigation and they can even call on the category’s technical delegate in the most sensitive cases. We can also collectively take the decision to neutralize a session and stop the race if live information suggests it. There are a number of parameters to consider and you have to know how to be responsive while anticipating the delay when removing a car, choose between a full-course yellow or a red flag…”
Since last year, this effective process has welcomed a new member, still with the goal of making the fairest decision possible. Runner-up in the 1992 French Formula Renault Championship before going on to have a fine international career, Franck Lagorce provides a different point of view in each investigation thanks to his vast experience.
“My role as a driver advisor is to help the race stewards in their analysis of incidents with my regard as a former open-wheel driver”, confides Lagorce. “I also try to transmit my experience to the young drivers, through informal chats and to also explain to them how they must behave on and off the track, in different kind of situations.”
Collaboration at every level
"Most of the potential difficulties are discussed beforehand during the driver and team manager briefings ", concludes Tamas Zettner Jr. “We discuss what took place at the previous meeting and the last time we came to the circuit where we are racing, but also the different protocols in place so that everyone is on the same page… And that the drivers do what we expect them to do: act safely and sportsmanly! In all cases, we use the open door policy. If a driver or team manager wants clarification, we welcome them to discuss the slightest detail and remove all doubt. "