He may be 43 points behind in the Championship standings, but Jack Doohan says if he didn’t think he could beat Dennis Hauger to the crown, then he wouldn’t have turned up, insisting that it’s “very much achievable.”
Doohan needs to keep the gap between himself and Hauger below 43 points after Race 1 and then hope that the Norwegian drops points in Races 2 and 3.
At the very least, the Australian will need to replicate his 44-point round at Spa, where he took pole and two wins. Asked whether that’s achievable, he replied: “That’s the only mind-frame that I can be in the moment.
“To win the title, I need pole, and I need to win Races 2 and 3, with the fastest laps. If I am settling for second now, then I may as well not race this weekend. I think that it’s very much achievable. We did that in Spa, bar the fastest laps, so I’m aiming for four more points.
“I am feeling quite good. I don't think there’s much pressure on myself. I’m in a bit of a bubble of my own in second. Dennis has got the pressure of the Championship. It's a bit of a reach, but it's not 100% over. Then the guys behind me are in quite a close battle for third.”
If it weren’t for a frustrating Round 6 at Zandvoort, where he scored 17 points, Doohan would be even closer to Hauger, but the 18-year-old revealed that he was hampered by illness and fatigue in the Netherlands.
“I wasn't really happy with Zandvoort,” continued Doohan. “I wasn't 100% myself, but I am feeling good again, so we'll just try and maximise our potential and take maximum points.
“I don't know if it was the weather in Spa, the constant rain, but I was feeling a little bit ill (in Zandvoort). I was tired, drained, I wasn't sleeping well. I was coming out on track and losing three tenths in Sector 1 just because I was using the wrong gear - that's not something that I’d usually do.
“That’s not where I wanted to be, but I wasn't sleeping well, and I wasn't functioning right. I am feeling well now. I’ve had a couple of weeks at home and gotten back into good shape for this weekend.”
It’s not just the Drivers’ title on the line for Doohan this weekend, as Trident are in touching distance of PREMA Racing in the Teams’ Championship, sitting 25 points behind in second.
It’s further motivation for Doohan, if he needed it, and he says the team have all been “staying longer” to prepare for the season finale.
“Prep has gone really well,” said Doohan. “We just need to continue working and adapt to the circumstances as best as possible. Only a couple of guys have driven here before, similar to Zandvoort, so we are all in the same boat, but most of the teams do sim work.
“We’ve been going to the factory, working with the team for a number of days, staying longer. If I can’t be on the sim, then it’s about being there with the guys and working together, looking at the onboards and the pre-race data from previous years. When I’m at home, I’m watching races and watching the onboard laps that F1 have provided.
“The Team’s championship is a combination of all three drivers, and I cannot control where they finish, but I’ll focus on myself. If I maximise my weekend and have a 48-point round, then that should put the team in a promising position. Hopefully, the other two drivers do a good job as well, but I can only focus on myself.”