Mällinen Continues Development with Watkins Glen Charge
Liberty Lake, WA –Hidden in his pair of results from the F1600 Formula F Championship Series races at Watkins Glen was Max Mällinen’s carving through the highly competitive field. Learning the track during Saturday’s qualifying after a Friday washout, the youngest racer in the F1600 field advanced six positions in the first race and five in Sunday’s F1600 round, toward an 11th place result.
Mällinen showed poise in his No. 10 Spectrum/Honda from Swan Motorsports, without a test day and a rained out practice, improving position dramatically during two action-packed F1600 races.
"I had two good races. I moved up 11 positions during the weekend and the most of any driver in Sunday’s race,” said Mällinen. “This was my first time at the Glen. I had to learn the track during qualifying because our practice sessions were rained out. This put me at a disadvantage in my race start position that I needed to make up for during the race. I knew what I needed to do and I made it happen in each race."
On Saturday, gaining five positions to finish 14th, Mällinen nursed a damaged Spectrum chassis home. A tight field meant large groups of cars vying for position, with Mällinen bending suspension parts on his No. 10 while fighting it out with others cars in a competitive 24-car field.
"I want to win every race and based on my fifth place qualifying position in Atlanta, I know I am fast. However, I need to keep reminding myself that I am 15, the youngest competitor in the field, and that each track is new to me. My number one goal is to continue my development as a driver,” continued Mällinen.
The twin event at Watkins Glen made up rounds three and four of the 14-race, seven-weekend 2014 campaign.
Improving dramatically with each session at Watkins Glen, Mällinen looks poised for continued forward progression under the Swan Motorsports awning. Better yet, the Series will return to Watkins Glen for the season finale in mid-October.
"I really enjoyed racing at the Glen. I like the track. The course flows well, it is fast, and very rewarding when driven well. I look forward to come back in October. My lap time from Sunday would have put me sixth on the grid for Saturday’s race. I intend to qualify high and fight for the win in October," Mällinen noted.
Before then, however, the 15-year-old is targeting a top-10 qualifying effort and top five finish as F1600 heads to the recently-repaved VIR course, June 6-8.
"My goal for VIR is to quickly learn the track and improve my qualifying position. This will put me in a good position to fight for a top finish."
Bringing home 14th and 11th place results at Watkins Glen, Mällinen improved a total of 11 spots over the weekend.