OLSON MOVES UP TEN POSITIONS IN TEN LAPS DURING RACE ONE, BRINGS
HOME TROPHY; HAS RACE TWO TROPHY SEIZED BY FIA OFFICIALS FOR RULE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2004
Shanghai International F1 Circuit, Shanghai China –
American racer Peter [“Pete”] Olson has finally discovered just how sweet it is to stand on the podium in professional
Despite serious setbacks over the race weekend [article] that included getting hit by another competitor during his
qualifying run on Saturday as well as serious problems with car set-up, Olson flew back to Taipei, Taiwan today carrying
a large gold trophy through the international airports of the exotic far east cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, unable to
walk through Shanghai’s airport without stopping every thirty meters to talk to excited racing fans who had seen
Sunday’s race coverage along with more than one hundred million Chinese viewers on CCTV5, the Chinese national
sports channel. Automobile racing is no less than an obsession in mainland China, and the flamboyant American racer
has already made his mark at one of the most exciting race circuits in the world.
Olson received the trophy as runner-up in race one in the China Formula Renault Race Series, as well as a winner’s
trophy, in front of television cameras, reporters, and more than forty two thousand Chinese spectators that came to
see the opening race day at Shanghai’s new Formula One track.
Olson spent Sunday morning preparing for the afternoon’s races and taking some pictures at the request of Chinese
racing fans, some of whom seem to have taken a liking to the American racer who can be seen in aggressive 260kph F1-
style swerving matches with other drivers on the front straight during Formula Renault races.
“I feel no emotion in a race car anymore, just nothing. You just get used to the speed” said Olson. “The car is an
extension of me, it is so responsive and controllable, when it is set up properly. So maybe I will see someone who it
trying for a run on me, and I just want to show him, it will not be easy for him to try to get by” said Olson. “I think the
crowd loves the danger, that is why they are here, to see some crazy things happen. So maybe they like to see some
real risks. But I don’t do it for them, I do it for my own pleasure, to have a little fun.”
Quite a statement from Olson.
Sunday’s races were an incredible display of driving skills as changing weather conditions demanded the use of rain tires
for the first event, conducted in the drizzling rain of Eastern China.
In Olson’s fourth day ever driving a race car under rain conditions, and without enough time to change the car to a rain
set up, in true Kimmi Raikonnen style Olson started the race’s standing start in the back of the pack but blasted down
the middle of the grid past seven other race cars when the start signal was given.
He spent the remainder of the short ten lap race passing other competitors to finish ten positions ahead.
“I think I could have done better but I was still having problems with car set-up in the morning’s warm-up session, and
the car I was driving did not have a data acquisition computer installed yet, which was a serious disadvantage. But the
rain was a gift for me, We were sitting on the grid for the photo sessions, but I stayed in my car so I could focus on my
plan of attack. I saw the skies open, and in that moment, I looked up through my visor and thanked God for the gift
“I really enjoy racing in the rain and it is a great equalizer” said Olson. “I mean, if your settings are off, it is not as bad in
the wet as in the dry because you are not pulling as many G’s in the turns, even though you can blast down the
straight with good throttle modulation.”
Olson started the second race in dry conditions with high hopes and raced well, only to be admonished after the race in
his first serious dispute with the FIA [Federation Internationale de l’Automobile], the international regulatory authority
for Formula One.
The second race was cut short after several crashes made the track too dangerous to drive as a result of cars blocking
certain sections of the track and a large amount of debris scattered in certain corners.
But when the yellow caution flags were thrown, Olson kept his foot to the floor and passed several cars before backing
off when the safety car came onto the track [Editor’s note: there is no passing allowed under the yellow caution flag].
After the race, Olson took the podium to receive his second trophy but just a half hour later an official came to bring
Olson to a meeting with the race stewards. They admonished him for his overly-aggressive behavior and took away his
winning trophy as the result of a thirty second penalty.
“The seriousness of the penalty is unfair to me” said Olson. “After I passed those drivers, I realized my mistake and tried
to wave them by. I went down to first gear and almost stopped on the track to wave them by and get back into my
position. But no one would go by. I made a proper effort to correct my mistake, but I still had my trophy taken away
by the FIA. To give me thirty second penalty, is too much. I have had one trophy in my career, one good result, and
that was taken from me by the FIA” said Olson [ruling - PDF file].
“Of course, I have had some experiences like this in my life, when people try to take something from me, to make an
example of me. This is a new circuit, and here they are showing everyone this penalty, because of me, to make an
example from it. But I will tell you something – when I was hit and spun out in the middle of the track the other day,
there was a red flag, and people kept driving, I could not get out of my cockpit for fear of being hit by a passing car. I
was watching cars drive around me at 100kph, facing the wrong way, and no one stopped them, even on the red flag,
the danger flag, when everyone is required to pit immediately. So what is this decision about my race? I do not agree,
but of course I cannot do anything about it, I am made to be an example by the FIA.”
However, despite the controversy, Olson still retains his trophy from the first race. “I dedicate this trophy to my
brother Matt’” said Olson. “He may not be on this world anymore, but in the hard times I have no doubt that he is
always there for me. That gives me great strength no matter where I may be, no matter how difficult the challenges.”
We wish him the best of luck in the next races of the series, which will again be held at the Shanghai F1 circuit in front
more than thirty thousand Chinese racing fans and a hundred million viewers, just a few weeks from now.
For more information on Peter Olson/Racing for Children contact:
Christian Children’s Fund
Media Relations Contact Agent for Pete Olson:
Christian Children’s Fund
2821 Emerywood Parkway
Richmond, VA 23294
Olson Motorsports, LLC
Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.
Tel: + 886 9 3567 8609