Sennan Fielding’s two top-eight finishes in the final rounds at Brands Hatch reinforced his 4th place in the 2015 MSA Formula championship: the top-placed driver on a ‘sensible’ budget.
Driving for Dronfield’s JHR Developments team, Fielding had a mathematical chance of title glory going into the weekend, but it would need some serious misfortune to befall the two chief title rivals.
A good qualifying had the Chesterfield 18 year-old 3rd on the grid for round 28, but fluffing the start dropped him to 5th, he was swamped by the pack, where his front wing got clipped, the race official deemed it to be dangerous and Fielding was forced to retire.
This meant that Fielding had to start round 29 from the back of the grid in 17th, yet in 5 laps he was delighted to claw his way up to 8th place, “a great result”.
However, a five-place grid penalty for the final race after an accidental contact with another car rather soured things.
Somewhat irritated being demoted to 8th on the grid, Fielding was on a mission from the outset of round 30, moving into 4th-place on the second lap, latching on the tail of the 3rd-placed car.
While initially challenging for the final podium place, rear tyre problems meant he fell off the pace in the latter stages, so instead Fielding defended his 4th place, but not for long, being dropped a place on the penultimate lap to be 5th at the flag.
“It was a challenging weekend that started so well as the qualifying conditions played into my hands”, commented Fielding, “but then it has been a rollercoaster year…”.
He ended the season 4th in the championship table, 27 points clear of 5th, but 55 points adrift of 3rd place, having taken three wins, two runner-up’s, and six 3rd places – the most of anyone.
While Fielding has the single-seater experience to score when it matters, he would have been higher up the points table but for repeated gearbox maladies holding him back.
JHR team boss, Steven Hunter is pleased at how the season went for the team, and paid tribute, “Overall, an excellent first season in single-seaters, especially as Sennan is a resilient driver conquering adversity”.
Equally complementary about the team, Fielding said, “JHR did a phenomenal job. When it came together we managed 3 podiums some weekends”.
The championship top-3 had competed on ‘eye-wateringly’ huge budgets: the series winner having spent over a £million this season, whereas Fielding had much smaller resources available to him.
“Compared to how others were spending a fortune, we showed that we can do it on a budget”.
His meagre finances were boosted when Chesterfield Global Brands drinks entrepreneur, Steve Perez decided to sponsor Fielding’s car with his Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer.
Full of praise, Fielding is very grateful for Perez’s generosity in keeping his season ‘on-track’ by providing funds allowing him to participate in vital testing, “Steve Perez coming onboard has provided more than just finance, and I can’t thank him enough for the help he has given me both on and off the circuit – I would not have had the same results in 2015 without him!”
Fielding’s focus has now turned towards where, and in which category, he will be racing in 2016.