F1Weekly podcast # 559

Michael Doodson

Aintree, 1955. At the age of fourteen Michael is taken to his first motor race by his father. The sound of racing engines would steer him to a career in motorsports; from a flag marshal at Oulton Park to Press Officer at Colin Chapman’s Lotus team to world renowned F1 journalist.

In a Ford Transit van he traveled to the first international race meeting at Jarama in Spain, ‘polishing’ Brian Redman’s car.

Jochen Rindt, F2 maestro who would also win the F1 crown, once invited Doodson to dinner in Vienna, and sent his driver to pick him up from the hotel. The driver was none other than Jackie Stewart!

Doodson developed a good friendship with Ayrton Senna before he reached Formula 1. Doodson also enjoyed and endured the exploits of Murray Walker and James Hunt as part of the BBC Grand Prix coverage team.

F1Weekly – on podcast # 559 – invites you to listen and enjoy F1 stories from one of the most experienced Grand Prix journalists. The best is saved for the final question.

Satisfaction guaranteed!


— Nasir Hameed.

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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

F1weekly friend Alexander Rossi Confirmed as Caterham F1 Team Test Driver

Alexander Rossi has today been confirmed as Caterham F1 Team’s Test Driver, joining Race Drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, and Reserve Driver Giedo van der Garde in the Anglo / Malaysian team’s driver line-up. In his F1 role he will be taking part in FP1 sessions in 2012, helping him to gain further experience at the highest level of global motorsport and further embedding him within the Caterham F1 Team.

In addition, Alexander has confirmed today that he will be competing for the second year in World Series by Renault 3.5, the championship in which he finished third in his rookie season. In 2012 he will be driving for the newly formed Arden Caterham team, aiming to fight for the outright championship victory from the first race in Motorland Aragon, May 5th / 6th.

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal of Caterham F1 Team: “Today’s announcement marks an important next step for Caterham F1 Team and Alexander’s career. As our official F1 Test Driver, Alexander is a  key figure in our long-term plans  and the investment we are making in him now will help him make the most of the natural talent he has at his disposal. We see 2012 as an important year for Alexander as he will be combining a full calendar in World Series by Renault, a championship he has a very good chance of winning, with his Test Driver role and giving him the chance to take part in FP1 gives him the platform from which he can grow into an even bigger F1 role.”

Alexander Rossi: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to make this dual announcement today. My goal to be in Formula One is one step closer after being signed as Test Driver for Caterham F1 Team. I want to thank Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and Riad Asmat for their trust in me and long term commitment to my career. The Caterham F1 Team support, coupled with the efforts of my management and investors, has brought my goal of reaching an F1 race seat one step closer.

“In the past year I have spent time in Hingham at the factory and built solid relationships right across the team. I feel really comfortable with everyone and am looking forward to growing as a professional with Caterham and acquiring as much experience as possible from Friday Practice, the F1 simulator and time with the team.

“Winter training has been very good as Pro Performance, Caterham F1 Team’s physios, are looking after all my fitness and nutrition, preparing me for this season and my next step to F1. I am fully ready for the task at hand. I have not been in a car since the F1 rookie test in Abu Dhabi last November, but have been on the simulator. I am very eager for World Series by Renault testing to begin next week and get down to work, where I’ll be running with Arden Caterham in the classic green and yellow colors. The 2011 season was good, but now I have that experience under my belt and I’m determined to fight for the championship throughout the 2012 season. This is going to be an incredible year!”

F1Weekly podcast # 558

The Next Super Swede

Photo. GP2 Media

Marcus Ericsson. Ronnie Peterson’s victory in the 1978 Austrian Grand Prix is, to this day, the last Formula 1 victory by a Swedish driver.

The Kumla Kid, Marcus Ericsson, is aiming to change that in the near future.

The 21-year-old embarks on his third GP2 season with Paul Jackson’s I Sport International team. With Formula BMW UK and Japanese F3 Championships in his bag, Ericsson is one of the pre-season favorites. Championship glory in GP2, the official feeder series of Formula 1, will greatly enhance his chances of entry in the top tier.

Ericsson is managed by Kenny Brack, the only Swede Indy 500 winner.

F1Weekly would like to wish Marcus Ericsson all the best in his GP2 campaign this season which starts at Sepang this month.

The Marcus Ericsson Fan Club

Marcus and President of his fan club, Bowe Bovenius, would also like to invite you to join the club on Facebook. Bowe’s day job is air traffic controller and he gladly will give priority clearance to F1Weekly listeners who are coming in for landing at Linköping.

Please enjoy our conversation with Marcus Ericsson and Bowe Bovenius on podcast # 558.

— Nasir Hameed


Greetings and Skyping regards from California.

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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: gp2media

Lotus GP driver ends final pre-season test with another fastest laptime

Esteban Gutiérrez set the quickest laptime again in today’s final pre-season test in Barcelona. The young Mexican set a laptime of 1:29.154 in the morning session ahead of last week’s fastest man in Jerez, Davide Valsecchi. In the afternoon session, it was Frenchman Tom Dillmann at Rapax who finished top ahead of Stefano Coletti.

The final 2012 pre-season testing day opened in Circuit de Catalunya in sunny conditions. After a quiet first half hour which saw Nigel Melker leading the way, Fabrizio Crestani was the first man to dip under 1m29s. The proceedings were red flagged after Fabio Onidi ran wide at Turn 4 and stopped in the gravel bed. At the restart, Crestani was still in control of the timesheet ahead of Melker and Luiz Razia. A second red flag occurred after Simon Trummer stopped on track at Turn 10. When the track was live again, Dillmann went quickest leading from James Calado.

With one hour left on the clock, yesterday’s quickest man Esteban Gutiérrez headed the timesheets again with a 1:29.154, 0.1s faster than Valsecchi. In the dying minutes of the session, Johnny Cecotto caused a third red flag after he spun and stopped on the track. At the chequered flag, Gutiérrez remained top ahead of Valsecchi, Dillmann, Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde, Calado, Crestani, Melker and Onidi.

After a one hour break, the drivers took to the track for their final runs. Dillmann was quick on pace and clocked a 1:29.705 laptime to put him on top of the timesheets early on. Trummer caused a red flag after he ran off the track on cold tyres ending his day prematurely. At the restart, teams resumed with their programmes which included long runs and pitstop practices. A second red flag halted the session after Julian Leal stopped on track. Another brief interruption occurred shortly after the restart when Felipe Nasr stopped on track as well.

In the final hour of the session, Dillmann was still leading the way, 0.6s ahead of Crestani. Stefano Coletti closed the gap with the Frenchman when he also dipped under 1m30s. At the chequered flag, both men led ahead of Crestani, Nasr, Jon Lancaster, Marcus Ericsson, Valsecchi, Onidi, Jolyon Palmer and Ricardo Teixeira.

The thirteen GP2 are now headed to Malaysia where the season opener will take place in two weeks.

Motorsports Mondial

 Shahaan Éngineer

 Photo. Shahaan Éngineer Facebook page

Shahaan Engineer is a 16-year-old racer from Mumbai. He is currently testing with Fortec Motorsports in preparation for the Michelin Formula Renault UK Series.

F1weekly would like to wish him continued success in his racing career, and thank him for answering our questions while on active racing service in New Zealand last month.

Q. How is the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand going for you?

A. It’s going very well and I am getting some amazing experience against some of the top drivers in the world from many categories, all the way up to GP2. I think this is the only series in which such a broad range of experienced drivers can compete together.

Q: A1GP raced at Taupo, looks like a beautiful location?

A. It’s the nicest location of a racing circuit I’ve been to so far, especially because of the stunning lake nearby and the wide variety of activities one can take part in like parasailing and water skiing.

Q: You also took part in the recent Formula Renault ‘Finals Series’ in UK; please compare the two cars and depth of competition in each series?

A. They are very similar actually and I would say the Toyota Racing Series car has more power than a Formula Renault. I have also been told that the top speed is more than an F3 car.

The Formula Renault UK ‘Finals Series’ had nearly a full grid of 29, with top drivers who have previous racing experience in the Formula Renault, BMW and Ford categories. I found it to be an extremely competitive series.

In the Toyota Racing Series, even though the grid is slightly smaller, most of it is made up of some of the best F3 and GP3 drivers. Only a few drivers are from junior classes so it’s quite a tough series.


Photo. Shahaan Éngineer Facebook page

Q: What are your racing plans for the rest of 2012?

A. I will take part in the Formula Renault UK championship with Fortec Motorsports

Q: Your hometown is Mumbai; how popular is motorsports in India and what facilities are in your town for karting?

A. Motorsport is quite new in India and is expanding fast, with a huge boost thanks to the newly built Buddh international circuit in Greater Noida which hosted the first ever Indian Grand Prix last October. In Dubai, where I have lived for the past 12 years, the Autodrome has a beautiful karting circuit where I practice regularly. We also have the Al Ain International raceway, which hosted the Rotax Max Karting World Finals last year and also in 2007.

Q: How did you develop interest in motor racing?

A. At the age of 11, I went rental karting for fun with a few friends and in between our 15 minute sessions there were ‘owner’ sessions, in which people who had competition go-karts were practicing. When I saw that, I really wanted a go in one of them so I asked my dad if he could buy me one and soon I was going to the track every day to practice – even on New Year’s Eve, I was addicted!

Q: How long were you in karting?

I started competing internationally in 2008, although over the course of three years I only had about a year’s experience and I stopped in March last year to begin testing single seaters.

Q: Karting to single-seaters, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make in your driving style?

A. You have to be a lot smoother with a car and respect it much more; you can’t just throw it around and expect it to work. You can push it, but when you go over the limit that’s where karting is friendly and open wheelers aren’t. It also takes a few laps to warm up a racing car, especially at the beginning of the day when all the parts and the tires are cold, whereas a kart just takes half a lap to one lap depending on the circuit length.

Q: Are you in touch with Narain and Karun and take racing guidance from them?

A. I have met Karun once in the UK briefly, and I talk to Narain and have met him in the UK a few times.

Q: Who is managing your career?

My father.

Q: You are now based in Dubai, how involved are you in the local karting scene?

A. Not very, I just go to practice, especially on a Thursday before the UAE championship rounds because the track really grips up and I get some good exercise and endurance training.

Q: Have you considered the American racing landscape? There are some good series for young drivers like USF2000 and Star Mazda?

A. I have thought about it, but America is very far from home and it would be difficult to make any commitments.

Q: India now has a Grand Prix and its own i1 Super Series. What is the best way to promote motorsports among young people in your country?

A. I think for motorsport to grow in India, like anything, it will take time. It was great to see the Indian Grand Prix, which has no doubt substantially improved the popularity and awareness of motorsport in India, and with the i1 Super Series set to begin in 2013 I can see the motorsport scene in India rapidly expanding in the next few years.

Q: Shahaan Éngineer, the young man not the racing driver. Your taste in music, food and what other sports you enjoy watching?

A. I love all sorts of music, including jazz, because I used to play drums from about the age of eight for four years until I discovered racing. During that time I learned how to play different styles, including swing, and once I got in the groove of playing it I also loved listening to it.

I enjoy spicy foods, and that’s probably because of my Indian background! I love all types of foods though, especially Chinese and sushi. Due to my strict diet (part of my racing career) I have to eat very healthy, which usually means nothing too tasty!

For more information we invite you to visit www.shahaan.com


—  Nasir Hameed

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: gp2media

Fabrizio Crestani sets the pace in Barcelona

GP2 Series 2012 pre-season testing resumed this week at Circuit de Catalunya. Four new faces joined the field: Giancarlo Serenelli at Venezuela GP Lazarus, Ricardo Teixeira and Sergio Canamasas at Rapax, and Jon Lancaster at Ocean Racing Technology.

Fabrizio Crestani proved today that new team Venezuela GP Lazarus is already on the pace in comparison with the rest of the field after he set the quickest laptime of the day in the morning session whilst Max Chilton at Carlin was fastest this afternoon.

The three-day session opened in cool temperatures. Although most drivers took to the track early for their installation laps, it was a slow first hour with only six racers to clock in a laptime, Crestani being the quickest in a 1:30.271. As the temperature rose slowly, drivers went out for their first stints and Esteban Gutierrez was the first one to dip under 1m30s, one tenth faster than Chilton. But the Briton improved and bettered the Mexican’s laptime by one tenth of a second.

Halfway through the morning session, Giedo van der Garde took control of the timesheets with a 1:29.750, but with one hour left on the clock, Stefano Coletti went top, 0.037s faster than the Dutchman. Crestani’s efforts in the final thirty minutes were rewarded with a laptime of 1:29.420, two tenths clear from his closest rival Jolyon Palmer. In the dying minutes, both Julian Leal and Nathanaël Berthon stopped on track prompting a red flag. The session was not resumed and Crestani finished on top ahead of Palmer, Stéphane Richelmi, Rio Haryanto, Coletti, Davide Valsecchi, Leal, van der Garde, Chilton and Simon Trummer.

The afternoon session saw James Calado set the early pace. A first red flag interrupted the proceedings after Felipe Nasr ran a bit too wide and stopped in the gravel bed. At the restart, van der Garde went top and another red flag stopped the session following Fabio Onidi spinning at the exit of Turn 9. The remaining of the session ran smoothly. Coletti was the first driver to dip under 1m30s, but his laptime was bettered by Chilton. Carlin’s Briton set a laptime of 1:29.479 with one hour left on the clock. He stayed unchallenged until the chequered flag, Leal ending a shy 0.01s behind Chilton. Ericsson, Coletti, Calado van der Garde, Valsecchi, Gutiérrez, Johnny Cecotto and Trummer completed the top 10.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast