BRITISH F3

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Three wins, three fastest laps. Sizzling start to the season by Enaam Ahmed.

The 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season got underway at Oulton Park, in the beautiful lush green Cheshire countryside. All three races of the weekend were held on Monday, April 17, following damage to safety barrier during the Mini Challenge race earlier in the weekend.

Young American racer from Baltimore Cameron Das, the 2016 US Formula 4 Champion, grabbed the pole for the first race of the season.

Das had a ‘Lewis from 2016-season moment’ and was unable to lead the race due to wheel spin. His Carlin teammate Enaam Ahmed took up the charge to hunt down race leader Toby Sowery. With less than five minutes remaining, Enaam was side-by-side with Toby as they approached Cascades, a lock-up and a trip through the gravel trap by Toby handed the lead and victory to Enaam.

The GP2-style reverse grid put Enaam eighth on the grid for the second race. Carnage on the opening lap saw several casualties, including Sowery. A spin by pole man and race leader Omar Ismail elevated Enaam to second place before the race was red flagged.

He made a quick getaway at the restart and took victory again, this time over teammate James Pull. Enaam’s fastest lap gave him pole for the third and final race of the opening round, which he won with ease, and shared the podium with his Carlin teammates, Das was second and Pull third.

An elated Enaam said after the race, “I didn’t think it was really possible to win three races in a weekend, but it is a really good way to start the season. I can’t thank the guys at Carlin enough.”

Enaam leads the championship with 95 points. Pull is second with 71 points, and Das third with 63.

Second round of the British F3 is this coming weekend at Rockingham.

INDYCAR SERIES

ALONSO VISITS BARBER AHEAD OF INDIANAPOLIS 500

A racer is a racer is a racer. If nothing more can be gleaned from Fernando Alonso’s visit today to Barber Motorsports Park – and his plan to race in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 28 – it’s that racers share one goal: to be faster than the rest, no matter the car or venue.

And to do that, they occasionally need assistance from other racers.

The two-time Formula One champion explained that he’ll need help to be competitive at Indianapolis next month, so he’s relying on his five temporary teammates at Andretti Autosport – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato and Jack Harvey – to help him get up to speed.

“I need to learn all of these things,” Alonso said. “To learn them alone would take two years. To learn it with some help would take six months. But I have two weeks. I will need a lot of help.”

Alonso has 32 F1 victories and championships in 2005 and 2006 to his credit. Aside from some Indy 500 warmups on a simulator in Italy, though, he has no experience with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, oval tracks or Indy cars.

“I will need the help to be competitive,” he said. “I’m very open-minded, knowing that the series is completely different, the cars are completely different and superspeedways require a driving technique and a driving feeling that’s completely different and that I don’t have yet.”

Alonso met his teammates Saturday night after arriving at Barber to watch today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by America’s First. From there, he’ll travel to Andretti Autosport headquarters in Indianapolis on Monday for a seat fitting and more time on a simulator. He’ll then travel to Sochi, Russia, for next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix and his fulltime job with the McLaren Honda F1 team before returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a solo test in the McLaren-Andretti Honda on May 3.

That’s when the sorting of the details will commence.

“The setup of the car is extremely important, because the difference is in milliseconds,” Alonso said. “To set up the car for different parts of the race in different wind direction and fuel loads in the car, tire degradation – there are many things that you need to make small adjustments, apparently, that I have no idea about.”

For now, Alonso is just taking as much in as he can and relying on his fellow racers in the process.

“There are many, many things – more than people can imagine,” Alonso said. “There are little things when you’re driving at those speeds and you have all those things going on – the radio, etc. – but we are professional drivers and we should be able to deal with it.”

F1Weekly podcast # 725

NASIR CONTINUES TO CONSOLE CLARK ON THE DISASTER AT MCLAREN. IS BOTTAS JUST A NUMBER TWO? WE HAVE ANOTHER GREAT MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL WITH THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW…INDY LIGHTS DRIVER AARON TELITZ

After winning a dramatic 2016 Pro Mazda Championship, Telitz now sits on the doorstep of the Indianapolis 500. In 2017 Telitz will compete in the prestigious Indy Lights Championship. For the second time in his career Telitz will step up to the next rung on the Mazda Road to Indy with scholarship support from Mazda North America and Mazdaspeed. Only the fourth driver in the history of the Road to Indy to win multiple Mazda scholarships, he looks to follow other scholarship winners into the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Accomplishments
2016
Pro Mazda Championship
Series Champion – 6 wins, 13 Podiums
Series Rookie of the Year Award Winner

2015
USF2000 National Championship
3rd in Championship – 1 Win, 12 Podiums

2014
USF2000 National Championship
Rookie of the year Award Winner
4th in Championship – 1 Win, 5 Podiums
Team USA Scholarship Award Winner
Prestigious scholarship awarded top Jr. Level American driver
Pole Winner – Walter Hayes Trophy – Brands Hatch, England
Pole Winner – Formula Ford Festival – Silverstone, England
2013
Mazdaspeed / Skip Barber Racing Scholarship Shootout
Shootout Champion – $200,000 Mazdaspeed Scholarship
F1600 Championship Series
3rd in Championship, 1 Win, 6 Podiums

2012
Skip Barber Race Series – Winter Series
2nd in points championship, 3 wins, 6 Podiums
Skip Barber Race Series – Summer Series
5 wins, 4 Podiums (scored first win in first weekend)

The Beginning
Aaron began racing karts at age 7, winning several local and regional championships before starting his car career with a scholarship from Mazda and the Skip Barber Racing School.

Career Goals
Long Term – Aaron has two main goals: Win the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship and the Indianapolis 500.
Short Term – To win the 2017 Indy Lights Championship to gain entry into the Verizon IndyCar Series​.

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FORMULA 1

WHILST VJ FACES EXTRADITION… HERE IS FORCE INDIA’S 2017 BAHRAIN IN-SEASON TEST

Sahara Force India brought a week of testing to an end with 130 laps in the Bahrain heat, with Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez sharing driving duties throughout the day.

ESTEBAN OCON – VJM10-03 P6 1:32.142 60 laps
Esteban: “My focus today was on short performance runs. When you test a few days after the race at the same circuit it’s a good chance to make comparisons and feel the improvements to the car. Track temperatures were really hot this morning, but the car felt good in these conditions, which is a good sign.”

SERGIO PEREZ – VJM10-03 P12 1:35.015 70 laps
Sergio Perez: “It was only a half day in the car for me, but it was useful to have a solid afternoon to learn some things away from a race weekend. I worked on our race performance, which is one of our strengths, but there are still areas we need to improve. 70 laps is more than a race distance and we’ve learned some things that will help us in the races coming up.”

TOM McCULLOUGH, CHIEF RACE ENGINEER

“It’s been a very productive day, which allowed us to catch up with the test items that we didn’t manage to evaluate yesterday. This morning Esteban focussed on performance running and in the afternoon Sergio worked on long runs. We have collected a lot of the correlation data which will improve our understanding of the VJM10 in the short and the long term.”

FORMULA 1

RED BULL ON THE BAHRAIN RESULTS

MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: 6th
“I had a good start, Kimi struggled a bit off the line so I passed him straight away and then I went round the outside at turn one and overtook Daniel which put me in a good position. After that I could keep up with the leaders, the car was performing really well on the tyres and the pace was good. I think we made the right call with the pit stop to try and undercut the two Mercedes but then the rear brakes failed on lap 12 and it was race over. These things are all a part of racing and there are definitely positives to take away from today. The car was working a lot better here than the previous two races so it’s just an unfortunate ending as we could have scored some really good points.”

DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 5th, Start Position: 4th
“For me it was a race of two halves really. At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win. That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling. I was at the tail end of the front pack and I could see everyone else in front of me. They were sliding and looked like they were struggling more. It was quite easy for me to stay there and I was looking after my tyres, so at that point I was thinking it could be on today, not only for a podium but for a win. The safety car worked for me in that we jumped up to third but it wasn’t so good for our tyres and that’s where we lost a lot of ground. Even once we settled into a pace and the chaos settled we fell back and I was struggling with grip at the front and rear. We never really got that tyre working for us today.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “After an exciting opening to the race up to the first pit stops, our cars looked in good contention with Max having made a good start. He managed to move up a couple of places and we pitted reasonably early for an undercut but unfortunately shortly after a rear brake pressure issue caused his immediate retirement which brought out the safety car. We stopped Daniel under the safety car but lost some time behind Lewis as he deliberately slowed in the pit lane for which he was later penalized. Nonetheless we were still able to get out ahead of him and at that stage for the restart we were third on the road. It became very quickly apparent that Daniel struggled to warm up the soft tyre compared to our competitors and dropped several places before recovering one against Massa. With the final stint on the supersoft tyre unfortunately fifth place was the best that we could achieve today.”

FORMULA 2

LECLERC STORMS TO DRAMATIC SPRINT WIN

Charles Leclerc made use of an unexpected Plan B to blast to a dramatic win in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship sprint race at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, stopping for fresh rubber from the lead of the race and emerging in P14 before fighting all the way back up for victory ahead of a crestfallen Luca Ghiotto and Oliver Rowland.

With conditions hot but slightly cooler than yesterday thanks to strong winds the teams were looking for options on a circuit renowned for its abrasive surface, but the decision to make a pitstop in a sprint race was one that took most observers by surprise, particularly coming from the lead: the fightback topped off a superb weekend of racing after Artem Markelov’s strong comeback yesterday.

There was drama at the front of the grid before the start when poleman Nobuharu Matsushita failed to make it out on time, forcing the frustrated Japanese driver to start from the pitlane. But when the lights went out his ART teammate pushed front row starter Ghiotto hard from P3, with the Italian braking as late as possible to slide inside and into the lead at turn 1 ahead of Albon, a fast starting Leclerc, Norman Nato, Jordan King, Oliver Rowland and Artem Markelov.

Nato was soon out of the race after a come together with King, and the resultant safety car period gave everyone a breather for 2 laps before going live again, with Leclerc making short work of disposing former teammate Albon, followed almost immediately by Rowland, and then Markelov next time round. The Russian was looking for more after his success yesterday, blasting into the podium positions by deposing Rowland on lap 7 and setting the fastest lap, but 3 laps later he was in the pits, switching from his options to a set of primes as Leclerc led the way, having grabbed the lead from Ghiotto the lap before.

Antonio Fuoco was looking to emulate his teammate: after starting in P9 he was up to P4 on lap 11 by easing past King, giving the hurry up to Rowland. 2 laps later the Briton barged past Ghiotto for P2, leaving the Italians to squabble among themselves, before Leclerc dropped a bombshell by pitting on lap 15, emerging ahead of Markelov and wasting no time in fighting back towards the lead, now held by Rowland, setting the fastest lap in the process.

In a 23 lap race it seemed impossible that the Monegasque driver could force his way back, and the action continued at the front of the race as King snuck past Fuoco, giving him the space to look forward to Rowland instead of in his mirrors. The Briton was falling back towards the Italian as Leclerc broke back into the points positions, and on the penultimate lap the inevitable happened as Ghiotto forced his way into the lead, just as Leclerc blasted by King for P3.

And on the final lap Leclerc on fresher rubber easily dispatched Rowland on the front straight and Ghiotto in the back section of the circuit before cruising to his maiden win ahead of the pair, to the obvious delight of his PREMA team. Behind then Nicholas Latifi had done a superb job of managing his tyre for P4 from P11 on the grid ahead of King, with Nyck De Vries grabbing his first points for 6th from 10th at the start ahead of Albon, and Markelov rounding out the points in P8.

After the first round Leclerc leads Markelov by 36 points to 28, ahead of Rowland on 20, with Ghiotto, Nato and King on 18, while in the Teams’ Championship RUSSIAN TIME is on top with 46 points ahead of PREMA Racing on 38, DAMS on 28, with Pertamina Arden and MP Motorsport on 18 points as they look forward to the next round of the championship in Barcelona, Spain on 12-14 May.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast