F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

TENTH VICTORY OF THE SEASON FOR FELIX ROSENQVIST

At the Nürburgring sprint circuit, Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) scored an undisputed lights-to-flag victory and thus extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings to 58.5 points. Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) remains second in the drivers’ standings; he finished tenth in the 28th race of the season. In the Eifel, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) finished second from Callum Ilott (Carlin). For both drivers, it was their first podium finish in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. With the two podium results for Rosenqvist and Cassidy, Prema Powerteam also secured an early title in the teams’ standings.

Felix Rosenqvist won the dash to the first corner and immediately took the lead. His main rival was team-mate Nick Cassidy while Callum Ilott slotted into third place. The trio was able to pull clear from Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) in the opening stages already as the rookie from the Van Amersfoort Racing team was driving with a damaged front wing. Behind him, there was a long range of drivers, but none of them was able to overtake Leclerc. Thus, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished in fifth place from Markus Pommer (Motopark), Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Arjun Maini (Van Amersfoort Racing), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi. Thus, the Italian secured one point for the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings and, with five races remaining, now has Charles Leclerc closing up to him in the battle for runner-up spot. The Monegasque is only eight points down on the stalwart. Fourth in the drivers’ standings, Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) also still has chances of winning the title. The Brit retired and thus wasn’t able to score any points. He is now 94 points down on leader Felix Rosenqvist.

For George Russell (Carlin), hopes of another podium finish were reduced to a minimum prior to the start of the race already. The Brit, who had secured second place on the grid in qualifying, was dropped ten positions on the grid due to an engine change. He finished the race in 13th place. On the FIA Formula 3 European Championship debut of his team, Harald Schlegelmilch (ArtLine Engineering) brought the ARTTech P315 to the finish in 32nd place.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “I mainly concentrated on getting a good start, in which I succeeded. I reckon that it was one of my best starts of the season. My car was good from the very beginning and I was able to pull a slight gap right away. Then I held on to it until the finish. At this stage of the championship, it is difficult to ignore the drivers’ standings, but I try not to look at them too often. I want to focus on the races and then, at the end of the weekend, I take a closer look at the drivers’ standings.”

Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam): “I am happy to be on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium for the first time. At Portimão already, I was close to Felix in terms of speed, but I wasn’t able to make it onto the podium yet there. Here, at the Nürburgring, it was my goal to get that done. I am feeling really well at Prema Powerteam, it is very well organised and working together very well and effectively. I am still in the learning process, but since finishing third at Macau last year, I am generally quite happy with my performance.”

Callum Ilott (Carlin): “Being on the podium in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a great feeling. The race was a nice one, I was able to keep up with Felix and Nick in front of me and I managed to pull clear from my nearest rival Charles Leclerc. Only at the start, things got a little bit tighter, but the rest was trouble-free.

FORMULA 1

NICO ROSBERG INHERITS POLE POSITION AFTER KVYAT CRASH RED FLAGS QUALIFYING IN JAPAN

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes returned to form in qualifying. Hamilton was denied the chance to make a final attempt on his team-mate’s time after a bad crash near the chicane involving Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, which brought an early end to Q3. Kvyat was unhurt.

Rosberg, who is 41 points behind Hamilton with six races remaining, said: “I’m very happy. It was a great day and a good comeback for the team after a difficult weekend in Singapore. It’s a great car. We’ve turned things round. I nailed my laps today. I’m pleased with the way it went and I’m in a great position for tomorrow.”

Sunday’s pole will be Rosberg’s first since the Spanish Grand Prix four months ago. He won pole here last year before being beaten by Hamilton in a wet race. He added: “Hopefully it will be a dry race tomorrow. That will help. I didn’t struggle in the rain last year but I struggled on the inter tyre. I was really comfortable with the way the car handled today. Suzuka is the ultimate track and to have a good car here is awesome.”

Hamilton has won 11 out of 14 poles this season but missed out on the last two. He said: “The first lap I lost a bit of time in turn 11 and in the last corner. Nico is driving well this weekend. I felt pretty good on that last lap but the main thing is that Kvyat is OK.”

FORMULA 1

RED BULL  ON JAPANESE GP – FRIDAY PRACTICE  

DANIIL KVYAT 
First Practice Session: Position: 2, Best Time: 1:49.938, Laps: 7
Second Practice Session: Position: 1, Best Time: 1:48.277, Laps: 6  
“The conditions today were tricky. The track was slippery the more it drizzled and Suzuka is a narrow circuit and there are a few corners where the car had a tendency to aquaplane. We have work to do for tomorrow but I think we are ready. The chassis is handling well, cornering in the wet has always been strong for us but we don’t know what the weather will be like tomorrow. For us it would be good if the rain continued, but we will see what happens.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO 
First Practice Session: Position: 13, Best Time: No lap time, Laps: 1
Second Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:49.097, Laps: 10  
“It was a little difficult to get temperature in the brakes, with the weather and the short runs, but not much else happened today. In the few laps we did, I think we got an understanding of the track conditions and if they remain the same for tomorrow, we know which direction we should take with the set-up. But it doesn’t look like the weather will remain the same! In that case, we will have to work efficiently tomorrow to get the car set up and we won’t have much time to change the balance once we get going but we will see how we go.”

FORMULA 1

SAHARA FORCE INDIA CONFIRMS SERGIO PEREZ FOR 2016

Sergio Perez will remain in Sahara Force India colours next year with the 25-year-old Mexican confirmed for the 2016 season. 
Since joining the team in 2014, Sergio has continued to build his reputation as one of the most exciting drivers on the grid. The extension gives both Sergio and the team valuable continuity moving forward and the opportunity to build on the success of the last two seasons.
 
Sergio Perez: “I am very happy to confirm that I will be staying with Sahara Force India. It means I can simply focus on the important stuff – driving the car and scoring points for the team. Since coming here I’ve really grown as a driver and I feel I’m performing at my best. I’ve always said I want to establish myself in a team and it’s the right moment to announce my commitment for the future with Sahara Force India. I can feel the potential in the team and there is a good energy, which gives me confidence for next year. I think we can continue to deliver strong results and I will do my best to help drive the team forward. I also want to say ‘thank you’ to Telmex and Telcel for their continued support, which has played an important role in my journey over the last ten years.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director of Sahara Force India: “I’m very happy Sergio has committed his future to Sahara Force India. He’s done a fantastic job for us already and when we give him a competitive car we know he can get the job done. He’s also got a great attitude and never gives up – it’s that fighting spirit which fits well with this team. You only have to look at his results in the last three races to see that he is performing at the top of his game. It’s an exciting time for Sergio, especially with the upcoming race in Mexico next month, and with our close connections to the country I’m sure it will be a highlight for everybody in the team.”

FORMULA 1

PASTOR MALDONADO ON HIMSELF AND THE JAPANESE GP

Pastor Maldonado talks about the confirmation he continues with Lotus F1 Team for 2016 as well as the challenge and fun of the Suzuka circuit.

Congratulations on the confirmation of your continuation with the team, this must help you focus more on the rest of the season?

It’s one less thing for my management team to worry about. It’s true that we did have a contract for next year but as we’ve seen before, Formula 1 is sometimes not too friendly towards contracts. It’s great for the team to be able to confirm their faith in me and I’m really looking forward to continuing our relationship and racing with them for a third season. Before that we have another six races to go in 2015 so that’s my focus now, starting with Suzuka this weekend.

How much do you look forward to racing in Japan?

Very much indeed. It is always nice to know you are going to be challenged by a circuit. If everything gets hooked-up then Suzuka is a pleasure. I really hope we can have a good weekend because at Suzuka it makes it even more of a pleasure to get it right. I think that for a driver it is at least comparable with Spa, maybe even better on some corners. I just love racing at Suzuka and indeed in Japan as a whole.

What are the highlights of driving a lap at Suzuka?

There are so many. The start of the lap is incredible with the sweeps up the hill, right-left-right-left. It is really fast and you need a very good and nimble car to change direction quickly. They are really challenging corners where you need maximum concentration and bravery. The run-off is quite small, so it is really satisfying to get them right. When I first drove this track in 2011 it was a big deal for me because I knew that I could find a lot more time in the car. The corners are like this because you never get them 100% right the first time, you learn and learn which is what a great race track should be like I think. Then you have the Spoon Curve which is magnificent and 130R which is still challenging despite being flat-out now. All in all a great, great circuit and with some really steep gradients too. Almost a perfect track!

What is the best memory you have from Suzuka?

Well apart from the first time I actually drove the circuit, it was when I had a really good race in 2012. I qualified down in 14th but managed to overtake quite a few and get some points for eighth position. I remember having a good fight with Nico Hülkenberg in the Force India all race long.

How do you evaluate your Singapore Grand Prix?

If you look at where we started we did make good progress through the field and looked to have some good opportunities. Unfortunately, after the contact from Jenson my rear diffuser was damaged and the downforce helps work the tyres better. This meant we weren’t able to preserve the tyre performance as long as we hoped and we made an additional pit stop. It was a good race from the car, with some fun battles.

Jenson wasn’t happy with the contact?

No driver’s happy if there’s a car in front of them and they want to get past, especially if it damages their car trying to overtake. We both got damage to our cars; he was behind me trying to get past, I was defending my position. That’s racing, The stewards reviewed it and determined that there was no further action necessary.

FORMULA 1

LOTUS F1 TEAM CONFIRMS PASTOR MALDONADO FOR 2016 $!

Lotus F1 Team is happy to confirm the continuation of its existing contract with Pastor Maldonado for the 2016 season. Pastor will continue as a race driver for his third year with the Enstone team after joining at the start of 2014.

Gerard Lopez, Chairman and Team Principal, Lotus F1 Team:
“It’s a positive for the future of Lotus F1 Team that we are able to confirm publically that Pastor remains with us for next season. Everyone at Enstone will testify that Pastor is a terrific person to work with and we all know the performances he is capable of on track. Pastor joined us with a multi-year deal so this confirmation is a reiteration of our belief in him. We hope to be able to make further positive announcements regarding the team in the near future.”

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team, race driver:
“It’s great that the team can confirm my position as race driver for 2016. Obviously, there has been a lot of speculation about the future and whilst I have remained focused on my job on track it is also positive to know that my future is confirmed. This season has presented us with some challenges but the quality of the squad at Enstone is clear to see. I really feel part of the family at Enstone and I’m looking forward to building on the work done this year to deliver better results in 2016.

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