The title fight in the 2017-I R4S GP1 season might seem to be settled and done, but with the recent weekend in Monaco, things have turned around drastically. Marc Stwerka, reiging champion, currently lies ahead by a margin of astonishing 150 points of Lucas Murno, yet closest chaser of the pack. In all fairness, this advantage might seem to be unrealistic to cut down for Murno, but Monaco has finally proven that Stwerka is vunerable in 2017 – and his opponents are eager to bring him down from his throne.
Just by the numbers: even someone who joins the championship right now could still become champion. There are 15 races to go, which means any driver could score a maximum of 425 points. Stwerka has currently 361 points on his account. Of course this calculation becomes obsolete considered that Stwerka finished all of his races on both top steps of the podium except for Monaco R2 and R3 in 2017-I. However, the gap between him and his chasers has reduced margin by margin. And now they seem to be up to his pace, finally.
We’ve spoken about Lucas Murno as sole chaser of Stwerka so far, but realistically there are even more to hunt him down: countryman Constantin Grimminger, team mate Cristian Alvarez and Murnos’ team mate Jesús Chirinos are all still up for the fight. And especially Grimminger and Alvarez were extremely quick in preparation for the Red Bull Ring. However, Alvarez always was Stwerkas mercenary and thus should be counted out as potential chaser, although rumours spread across the paddock over the last days that Stwerka has to miss out the Fuji races later this season due to other commitments; giving Alvarez the opportunity to become the Number 1 driver at Repsol Swinegel Racing.
So the pressure lies not only on Murno, Grimminger and Chirinos to chase Stwerka down, but also on Stwerka himself – he needs to show his rivals who is the man to beat after a weak Monaco weekend.
It will get interesting if Stwerka will be able to defend off his rivals on track at the start of the second half of the 2017-I R4S GP1 season on May 7th!