Alpine Academy and F2 driver for Campos Racing, Olli Caldwell, has endured a difficult start to his rookie campaign made even tougher when his teammate was sidelined for multiple rounds due to a neck injury. Speaking to F1 Feeder Series, Caldwell told us about the effect of losing Ralph Boschung as a teammate.
By Tyler Foster
24-year-old Ralph Boschung is in his sixth year of Formula 2 racing after making his debut in 2017 with Campos. After two podiums at the end of last year, Boschung started 2022 very strongly and was a surprise contender in the early stages of the season. A Feature Race podium at Imola was the highlight of this start, however he would unknowingly suffer a neck injury during that weekend which kept him out of the next two rounds.
While Boschung did make a return for Round 6 at Baku, his injury resurfaced and has led to him missing out on the next three rounds including this weekend at Paul Ricard. For rookie Olli Caldwell, this has had an impact on his learning as he lost his main point of reference. He spoke to us about missing Ralph and how his replacement Roberto Merhi has helped continue his development.
“It was really unfortunate with what’s happened to Ralph. He’s had this injury which is very sudden and unexpected, and I really hope that the injury that he has can be fixed so that he can get back to racing and hopefully finish the season.”
One of the reasons I signed for Campos was obviously Ralph was gonna be here and he’s a very experienced driverOlli Caldwell on his move to Campos Racing
“One of the reasons I signed for Campos was obviously Ralph was gonna be here and he’s a very experienced driver. So, it was great to have an experienced reference in the other car as a rookie to show [me] what the car can do. So, to miss him for those few rounds was really tough. Not having a reference going to new circuits that I’ve never driven at like Monaco and Baku, it certainly didn’t help me and I don’t think it helped the team morale either.”
With Boschung sidelined, Campos didn’t replace the Swiss driver and as a result only fielded Caldwell for the rounds at Barcelona, Monaco and Silverstone. However, Campos brought in the experienced ex-F1 Spaniard, Roberto Mehri, to replace Boschung for the foreseeable future. At the age of 31, Mehri utilised his experience to score a podium at the first time of asking in the Feature Race in Austria.
It’s very tough to leave the team mid-season like this but I really need to recover from this injuryRalph Boschung
“It’s been a tough few last months”, said Boschung himself after Merhi was announced as his replacement. “Since after Imola the neck has dominated my everyday and professional life, it’s very tough to leave the team mid-season like this but I really need to recover from this injury and I thank my sponsors and the team for being fully supportive. I wish Roberto the best of luck in Austria, I am happy to give him the chance to drive the MoonMobile, he is a good friend and a great driver.”
“To have Roberto [Merhi] jump in, another experienced driver is really good”, said Caldwell about his new teammate. “He certainly performed well in the races in Austria last round and it’ll take a bit of time for him to settle in in qualifying, but it’s good to have another strong driver back as a teammate.”
Caldwell took advantage of Sunday’s crazy race at Spielberg and scored his first points of the season, with an impressive P6 in the Feature Race. He now sits P19 in the championship with 8 points.
A packed July
After back-to-back rounds at Silverstone and Spielberg, Caldwell spoke to us about what he’d been doing during the one week break that separates those two previous rounds from the next double-header this July at Paul Ricard and the Hungaroring.
“The main thing I’ve been doing is because we travel so much, when I’ve been home I’ve been going into Alpine every day and mainly using the gym there because we don’t get time to train as much when we are on the road. Usually on a Monday to Friday I will go in once a day and do a session every day. That’s really what I’ve been doing is unfortunately spending a lot of time in the gym in very hot weather, which I can’t say I enjoyed.”
“I definitely enjoyed having a lot of race weekends; a lot more than Formula 3 last year. Racing more is always nice and that’s what we are here for.”
Header photo credit: James Moy
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