Newly crowned in Formula Renault Eurocup, Max Fewtrell joins the likes of Alain Prost, Felipe Massa, Brendon Hartley, Valtteri Bottas, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and Sacha Fenestraz in the category’s record books…In the aftermath of winning the title, the British driver discusses the route that led him to this triumph.
Born in England before growing up in Singapore, Max Fewtrell got his single-seater start in the Renault-powered Asian MRF Challenge winter series. He then went on to win the British F4 Championship.
Spotted by the Renault Sport Academy, Max was placed in the Formula Renault Eurocup with Tech 1 Racing for the 2017 season. Very soon, he confirmed his consistency and speed with 19 finishes in the points, only one retirement and a win at the Red Bull Ring!
Decisive when it counted the most
With the rookie title in his pocket, he wasted no time in announcing his ambitions of returning in 2018 to win the “real” title. Moving to R-ace GP, Max Fewtrell was an obvious favourite and he made good on that prediction at the first meeting of the year.
“My start to the season was nearly perfect”, he says. “At Castellet, I was on pole for both races and despite a perfectible start, I finished second before going on to win the following day.”
Now leading the championship, the Briton was about to experience less luck...
“Monza was a weekend to forget because I was run into by my two future title rivals. I quickly bounced back with a pole and a home win at Silverstone, but a gearbox problem forced me to retire the next day. Monaco was a difficult meeting and despite the points I scored, we dropped to fifth place in the championship.”
Following a two-month break, Max Fewtrell came back strong with a victory and a runner-up finish at the same track he took his first win a year earlier, the Red Bull Ring.
“I thought I had gotten the momentum going in Austria, but I had more trouble at Spa-Francorchamps. From then on, we could only take the races one at a time. Fortunately, we never cracked under the pressure. We were always sure we were the fastest on the grid. This allowed us to remain calm and continue to work hard in the right direction.”
True to his promise, the Englishman became the man to beat in the second half of the season with six consecutive podiums, including three wins on the bounce, to retake the reigns of the championship and go to the season finale in a strong position.
“It was a lot of fun to be in the position of the chaser, especially as the end of season got closer. We didn’t always have luck on our side, but we put everything in place and showed our speed with six poles, six victories and six fastest race laps, which was more than anyone else this season!"
A promising future
Now with the title, Max Fewtrell reveals what saw him to his second overall title in just three seasons of open-wheel racing.
“My team’s approach was totally different to that of last years”, he explains. “They pushed hard and worked all the way, no matter what, in every single area. This year, I also had some extremely talented team mates and that pushed me to go find those last tenths of a second.”
“The Renault Sport Academy was also a lot of help both on and off the track with the preparation programmes, the access to the Enstone facilities and the follow up that we took advantage of to turn up in the best conditions. With four Academy drivers in the field, there was a little pressure. I had to prove that I was the quickest in the field to stay in the programme. Except for two or three races where I could have done better, I think I did it even though Christian pushed me all the way to the end. Fortunately, I just had to manage the championship in Barcelona and that’s why I didn’t resist too much when he took advantage of my little mistake in the last race!"
In seeing the runner-up among the rookies last year battle this year for the FIA European F3 Championship, Max Fewtrell claims he has no regrets and made the right call.
“The Formula Renault Eurocup is among the most competitive categories around and everyone needs two seasons to win it", he answers. “Returning was the best decision. It is an excellent way to learn how to cope with pressure and expectations. This also allowed for building a CV, much more than a decent result elsewhere. For 2019, I think that the logical next step will be the new FIA Formula 3 Championship, but we need to speak some more with the Renault Sport Academy and my partners.”
Meticulous in his preparation and a driver to be reckoned with on the track, Max Fewtrell now has one challenge left this season : win the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. A finalist last year, he hopes to win the award this time, like he did in the Formula Renault Eurocup!