F1Weekly podcast # 573

F1weekly podcast number 573

With special Interview British F3 driver Felix Serralles

Felix Serralles began his racing career in karting at the age of ten and was runner-up in the Caribbean Championship in both 2004 and 2005.

After winning a scholarship in 2009 Skip Barber Shootout, Serralles become a Mazdaspeed Development Driver and had a season in Skip Barber National Championship, where he finished third with two wins.

In 2010, Serralles decided to race in Europe, taking part in the Formula Renault UK Winter Cup for Fortec Motorsport as a guest driver. Serralles continued his collaboration with Fortec into 2011 and the Formula Renault Eurocup, scoring eight points-scoring finishes on his way to twelfth place in the series standings. He also appeared in Formula Renault UK in twelve of the season’s twenty races as a guest driver and the Formula Renault UK Finals Series, where he claimed two podiums and finished eighth overall.

Serralles contested the Toyota Racing Series in January and February 2012 with Giles Motorsport, finishing ninth in the championship with a win at the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfield.

On 4 January 2012, it was announced that Serralles had rejoined Fortec Motorsports for a season in the British Formula Three Championship. At the opening round of the season at Oulton Park, Serralles qualified on the front row for the third race of the meeting, and after beating Carlin’s Jack Harvey off the grid, Serralles held his own in the lead and eventually claimed victory, becoming the first Puerto Rican to win in the series. He added a second victory a week later at Monza, winning the second race of the meeting in torrential rain.

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Motorsports Mondial

Renault Sport F1 preview to the Spanish GP 

Spanish Grand Prix facts and figures

The 1km pit straight, where the cars reach over 300kph and maximum rev limit, gives a possibility for a double KERS release as the KERS energy counter resets, which should increase overtaking possibilities. There are several good opportunities for the KERS to be recharged over the course of one lap, including turns 1, 4 and 10.

Wind direction can often change at Barcelona due to its proximity to the sea and mountains. This can make gear ratio selection difficult down the long straight, particularly as there are a couple of bumps down the pit straight, which can cause the engine to hit the limiter.

The track follows the contours of the hills, and therefore undulates over the course of the lap. The up-and-down nature of the track and the length of the corners mean the cars will be subject to high lateral forces. To maximise acceleration without compromising on power, Renault Sport F1 engineers create engine maps that can be used with short gear shifts.

The second sector is more flowing than sector one, but it is nevertheless hard on the tyres due to the long corners and the fact that the drivers run onto the kerbs through this section. Different overrun settings can be used to stabilise the rear under braking, but this can increase fuel consumption.

The long turn 3 is a challenge for the drivers. In qualifying it can be taken almost flat, but in race trim the driver may short shift before the apex to make it easier to control the delivery of torque through the corner, thus preserving tyre life. With up to four stops expected in Barcelona, this could be a vital advantage in gaining track position.

The drivers’ view

Pastor Maldonado, Williams F1 Team

We know Barcelona very well from winter testing; in fact Williams-Renault covered the most kilometres of any team there this year. It is a medium downforce, medium speed track but the changing altitude over the lap plus the length of the corners make it quite a physical race. The first corner is quite representative of this; we accelerate through the mid corner to the exit into the second and third turns, so it forms one long corner. Lateral g-forces are quite high but the corner also goes uphill, so we need the engine to deliver a smooth torque curve but also short shift pattern to give controlled power to counter the high g. Through the final sector, which features the new chicane, we need effective engine braking but also responsiveness as we brake down to round 60kph before accelerating hard onto the long pit straight.

The engineers’ view

Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Barcelona:

We covered more than 10,000km over our four teams in winter testing at Barcelona, so we know this track like the back of our hand. It is around 60% full throttle with a variety of low and medium speed corners, so it makes a very good ‘average’ of characteristics of the other circuits on the calendar, and therefore very good for testing purposes.

With 60% of the track taken at full throttle, we need to deliver response and drive through all the ranges, but particularly the lower end for the medium and slow speed sections in sector three.

We expect to be running higher mileage on Friday as our partners introduce new mechanical and aero parts for the first race of the European season, so we will be fitting engines previously used in race conditions for free practice to not put extra mileage on the race units. The extra test session held at Mugello last week means we got a head start on understanding some of the developments so we can concentrate on optimising all the systems.

After the result in Bahrain of course we are all motivated to keep this momentum going. We also have a target to keep our results up in Spain. Red Bull has won both the last races and over the past 10 Spanish GPs, a Renault engine has finished on the podium seven times so there’s a record to keep!

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: HRT formulaoneteam

Dani Clos will take part in the first free practice session at the Spanish GP

Spanish driver Dani Clos will step into the F112 for the first time on Friday to take part in the first free practice session of the Spanish Grand Prix which will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya. 23 year-old Clos will substitute teammate Narain Karthikeyan for that session and will join Pedro de la Rosa for the first 90 minutes of practice in Montmeló.

It will be history in the making for HRT Formula 1 Team at the Circuit de Catalunya since this will be the first time that two Spanish drivers hit the track forming a part of a Spanish team at the Spanish Grand Prix. It will be a moment to remember for Spanish motorsport and a great opportunity for Clos to prove his worth in front of his home crowd.

After having completed 377.67 kilometres at the helm of the F111 in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last November and having joined the team as an official test driver in February, Dani Clos will take another step on Friday and will fulfill another vital aspect of his testing role by completing his first laps at the wheel of the F112. A car that will be brining a series of aerodynamic upgrades for this important Grand Prix.

Dani Clos: “I’m delighted to have this opportunity. It’s something I’ve fought for all my life; to make my debut in Formula 1 and, above all, to be able to do it at the Circuit de Catalunya which is something very special for me. Besides, I’m extremely lucky to be able to do it with a Spanish team, alongside another Spanish driver who I admire and at home. I can’t ask for more! It’s the ideal situation and I’m proud to be where I am with the people who have always been with me and still are. I hope to extract a lot of data from this practice session, contribute with positive things to the team and do my job in the best way I can. I feel 100% ready and I can’t wait for the moment I step into the car and hit the track”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal HRT: “I’m very proud and happy that this moment has arrived and that we’ve given Dani the chance to get in the car on Friday’s first free practice session at such a special and important Grand Prix as is a home Grand Prix. In this first contact he will drive next to Pedro de la Rosa and will have the chance to drive the new F112 for the first time. It’s an important session given the short amount of time on track that we have and more so when you take into account the various aerodynamic upgrades which we have brought. Dani is a great driver and I have no doubt that he will do a good job. Besides, this debut also represents another step forward in our desire for HRT to serve as a platform for young drivers to make it into F1”.


Dani Clos was born in Barcelona on the 23rd of October 1988. With a renowned trajectory in karting, Clos made his debut in single-seater racing in 2004 in Formula Renault Italia 2.0, going on to win the Championship in 2006. A year later he joined Renault’s F1 programme and took part in the Formula Three Euroseries. In 2008 he entered Williams F1’s young drivers’ programme and finished in 2nd in the 24H Barcelona race. In 2009 he made his debut in the GP2 series, with a 3rd place finish in Portimao being his best result. In his second year in GP2 he achieved his first win in Turkey alongside various podium finishes. Last year, Dani Clos took one win and two podiums in what was his third season as a GP2 driver. Also in 2011, he took part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi with HRT F1 Team, completing total of 377.67km in one day and leaving a very good impression on the team. In 2012, Dani Clos joins the HRT Formula 1 Team as its official test driver.

Motorsports Mondial

Rubens Barrichello, the most experienced Grand Prix driver of all time, has never raced in the Indy 500 before, but did win at Indy the 2002 US Grand Prix for Ferrari.

His helmet, however, once raced in the Indy 500 when old pal Tony Kanaan and “Rubinho” wore each other’s helmet livery during the Memorial Day weekend of racing.

While Rubinho’s helmet made the rounds at IMS, TK’s helmet was moving around Rascasse and Rivage and going through the tunnel in the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix.

Their friendship goes back to the days when they were kids and racing in karts. TK’s dad at one time worked on Rubinho’s karts.

Dragon slayer. There was a time when Sebastien Bourdais could do no wrong in Champ Car racing, apart from fighting with Paul Tracy. The Le Mans native achieved incredible success with Newman-Haas team before Nicolas Todt negotiated a deal and placed him at Toro Rosso.

Bourdais fell out of orbit with Red Bull’s satellite team and is now back in Indy Cars. Thanks to Peugeot he was also able to take part in his home town’s famous 24 hour race.

Song without words.

F1 Weekly would like to thank our listener and ‘snapper’ Mike Greene for the lovely photographs.


— Nasir Hameed

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: DTMmedia

A dream comeback for BMW: victory in the second DTM race at Lausitzring.

Klettwitz. Sheer joy for DTM returnee BMW. With the BMW M3 DTM, Canadian Bruno Spengler won the second DTM round of the year at Lausitzring and thus secured a DTM race win for the brand from Munich after 20 years. “I can hardly believe it. On Saturday, the first pole after 20 years, today the 50th DTM race win for BMW achieved by me. I had goose bumps all over. I will never forget this weekend”, the 28-year old winner said. Behind second-placed Gary Paffett with the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, who had won the season opener at Hockenheim, Brazilian Augusto Farfus crowned the perfect weekend for BMW by finishing third. In total, 72,000 spectators watched the three-way battle of the premium manufacturers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the Lausitz region.

On the way to the tenth DTM race win of his career, Spengler showed a dominant performance and strong nerves. From the very beginning, he had to withstand the attacks from Paffett, who had overtaken Farfus at the start and from then on kept the pressure on Spengler. “I have tried everything to overtake Bruno, but today, I didn’t succeed. We could have won, but we still extend our points’ lead with this second-place finish, which is great”, Paffett said about his situation.

Mattias Ekström ended up as the best-placed Audi driver. The Swede with the Audi A5 DTM, who finished fifth behind Brit Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz), said after the race: “Today, we couldn’t do any better. Here, we still lacked the pace to win the race. But today, we still have learned a lot again, which is the most important thing. And I have scored further valuable points. The season is still long.”

Ekström’s fellow Audi driver, two times’ DTM champion Timo Scheider, was able to improve from twelfth place on the grid to finish sixth after the 52 lap race. Reigning DTM champion Martin Tomczyk finished seventh and became the third BMW driver to score points. The two Audi drivers Edoardo Mortara from Italy and Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque and Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz) rounded out the top ten.

In the drivers’ standings, Paffett remains in the lead with 43 points from his fellow Mercedes-Benz driver Green (30 points). Spengler and Ekström are tied in fourth place with 25 points each.

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt: “Most certainly, this is a very special moment which we didn’t expect this way. This fantastic victory by Bruno Spengler is the crown on a week, which was quite something. Firstly, we had our strong comeback weekend at Hockenheim, then our maiden pole-position yesterday and today, in only our second race, already the first victory in our new DTM era. This is fantastic, simply unbelievable, absolutely awesome!”

Mercedes-Benz head of motorsport Norbert Haug: “We were very close, our drivers were bumper-to-bumper with the opposition. The important thing is that the DTM is exciting. The three brands are providing great motorsport. Now, we have seen two races with two different winners. Let’s wait and see what it will be like at Brands Hatch, perhaps we will see the third there. Scoring points has never been more difficult in DTM history.”

Audi head of motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich: “Of course, we can’t be happy with this result, because this time again, we couldn’t get the tyres on our cars to work well in the race. Today, Mattias Ekström and Timo Scheider have made the best of their starting grid positions that weren’t optimal and have made up several places, at times with very good lap times. Nevertheless, we have to understand our A5 better and use the full potential. We will work hard on that.”

Motorsports Mondial


Happy Yelloly

Brit Grit. Nick Yelloly fended off a late race challenge from Jules Bianchi to give Comtec team first race victory since 2009.

Surprise winner in season opener at Aragon. Jules Bianchi is close second. Great drives from Kevin Magnussen and Robin Frijns.

Great qualifying position from front row, opening lap mayhem and a determined drive all helped 21-year-old English driver Nick Yelloly to win the opening round of the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 at Motorland Aragon in Spain.

Arthur Pic, brother of F1 racer Charles, grabbed pole position for DAMS after being the pace setter in practice with Yelloly starting second for Comtec.

Row two had two of the favorites for the championship; Estonian Kevin Korjus with Tech 1 and Kiwi Richie Stanaway for Lotus, aka ART.

The second Tech 1 car driven by Ferrari young driver and Force India reserve driver Jules Bianchi was fifth on the grid; American Jake Rosenzweig was sixth for Czech ISR team.

Californian Alexander Rossi, last year third in the championship, qualified 13th with his new team for this season, Arden.

Crash & Casualties

The start was not kind to second row starters. Stanaway stalled and was then hit by the BVM Target car of Italian Giovanni Venturini. Korjus also struggled and while still on the opening lap was involved in a crash which would lead to his retirement and also for Rossi and Swiss Draco driver Nico Muller.

California Cool. Alexander Rossi’s focus is on winning the championship this season after finishing third last year behind Robert Wickens and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Yelloly had grabbed the lead from Pic at the start and was able to maintain his position four laps later after the safety car period was over. Another four laps later pole sitter Pic was out after a collision with Rosenzweig.

The leading trio of Yelloly, Colombian Carlos Huertas and Bianchi pulled away from rest of the field. On lap 16 Bianchi passed the Fortec car of Huertas and began to hunt down race leader Yelloly.

Bianchi brought the gap down to half a second but was not able to make the pass on Yelloly to take the lead, finally settling for second. Huertas’ late race engine woes allowed young Dane Kevin Magnussen grab final spot on the podium.

Frijns benefit. With two championships in past two years Dutchman Robin Frijns is looking for a three-peat in his rookie Formula Renault 3.5 season.

Fortec’s Dutchman Robin Frijns, the quickest driver in pre-season testing, was 17th at the end of the opening lap but charged up the field to finish an excellent fourth. Teammate Huertas was able to salvage a top five finish.

View from the top

The podium finishers as quoted on www.worldseriesbyrenault.fr

Nick Yelloly: “I made the perfect start, something we’d worked on a lot in pre-season testing. The safety car allowed me to save my DRS till the end of the race, though I had to make sure I didn’t make a mistake when Jules Bianchi started to come back at me. It’s a relief to start the season with a win. It takes a lot of pressure off, and it’s great for Comtec Racing, who haven’t won for a long time.”

Jules Bianchi: “It was all happening at the start. I locked a front wheel and brushed against Nick, and then I had trouble getting past Carlos Huertas. I managed it in the end and then went after Nick. I was pretty confident because my tyres were in good condition, but the only thing was I lost engine power at the end. Nick drove the perfect race, so congratulations to him and thanks to my team. This is a good way to start the championship.”

Kevin Magnussen: “You don’t expect to get on the podium when you start in 19th. I picked up a lot of places in the first few laps because there were cars going in all directions. I need to work on qualifying because we won’t run this well in every race. Our race pace was very good, though.”

Race two is on Sunday.


— Nasir Hameed.


All photos courtesy of World Series by Renault.

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