Motorsports Mondial

Formula Renault 3.5 Even closer to Formula 1

A new chapter in the history of Renault Sport opens with the launch of a third generation of the Formula Renault 3.5. This new single-seater stays true to the philosophy that made previous models so successful, namely providing exceptionally high performance, cost-efficiency, reliability and technical fairness. Renault Sport Technologies has drawn on its experience in the field and worked with the best partners available to produce this particularly impressive vehicle, which is even faster than before but still has affordable running costs.

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series, flagship discipline of the World Series by Renault, will see the launch of a new car for the 2012 season. The new Formula Renault 3.5 is designed to prepare the brightest young driving talents for life in Formula 1 and features various technological innovations, particularly in terms of aerodynamics and safety.

To keep costs under control, a third of the components from the previous model have been retained. The carbon chassis, designed and built by Dallara, is an evolution of the previous frame. On a visual level, the cockpit, front and rear wings are all radically different.

The rear spoiler features a drag reduction system (DRS) that can be activated by the driver. This system disrupts the airflow in order to increase straight-line speeds. Designed using computational fluid dynamics and later tested in a wind tunnel, DRS is a low-cost way to improve aerodynamic efficiency and increase performance. It also encourages overtaking, which in turn helps to make races even more spectacular.

Performance is also achieved via a new 530 bhp V8 engine, developed by Zytek Engineering and connected to a new semi-automatic gearbox with pneumatic clutch.

Aside from increasing power (50bhp more than the previous model), the engineers at Renault Sport Technologies have also worked hard to reduce the new car’s weight. Despite stricter safety rules, which require, notably, the use of anti-intrusion panels, the new Formula Renault 3.5 is 15kg lighter than its predecessor. This is thanks in no small part to an innovative electronic system, which requires neither a battery nor a starter.

The Formula Renault 3.5 is a springboard to F1, as the likes of Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Jaime Alguersauri and, more recently, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne have all proved so brilliantly. This new version of Renault Sport’s top-of-the-range single-seater will allow young drivers to acquaint themselves with the various technologies used in F1.

The development programme, carried out in 2011, took place on several European circuits, with Romain Grosjean, Andy Soucek and Ben Hanley behind the wheel. The new Formula Renault 3.5 immediately demonstrated its speed and reliability.


F1Weekly podcast # 555

Aditya Patel

The Chennai Express

Aditya Patel is a young Indian talent who is quietly but successfully building his racing credentials on European circuits. His racing career started with victory in his first ever kart race and a podium finish on debut in international competition; the Formula BMW Pacific Championship.

Patel was plucked from the Indian racing scene to race in VW Polo Cup in 2009 courtesy of the German manufacturer. Past two seasons he has raced in the Scirocco-R Cup and was placed fifth in the final standings last year.

Impressed by the competition in tin-tops and enthusiasm of European racing fans, “They bring photos of me for autographs racing in India that I have not seen,” Patel said.

This season he will race for Audi in GT3 category with help from their Indian division.

F1Weekly is very pleased to present our conversation with Aditya Patel on our weekend special podcast # 555.

For more information please visit his


— Nasir Hameed

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F1Weekly podcast # 554

F1weekly podcast number 554 with two special interviews:

Peter Nygaard from Grand Prix Photo and Young and upcoming American driver Ryan Tveter.

Denmark’s Peter Nygaard studied law at Copenhagen University but during his vacations travelled to Formula 1 races to take photographs, working for his local newspaper in Haslev, in the southern part of Denmark.

After graduation in 1982 he established the Grand Prix Photo company and has since attended more than 350 Grands Prix. Today he not only takes photographs but also writes and commentates about the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The company covers every Grand Prix and many other international and national events and with contacts all over the world can supply photos from almost any motor race. In addition to current photography the Grand Prix Photo archive is one of the biggest in the world, Nygaard having acquired the archives of a number of F1 photographers, notably Italian photo-journalist Giancarlo Cevenini and France’s Dominique Leroy plus a portion of Australian Nigel Snowdon’s collection. Grand Prix Photo has 25,000 photographs on its website and millions more in its offices, which are decorated with a Tyrrell 021, which Peter acquired from Ken Tyrrell in the 1990s.

Ryan Tveter, a 17 year-old from Oyster Bay, N.Y., has been impressive in extensive private testing, and has produced notable results in his first foray into the ultra- competitive world of open- wheel racing. In 2011, making his professional open-wheel racing debut, he finished 10th in a field of 44 cars in the Quebec-based Formula Tour 1600 support race at the

Montreal Grand Prix. He followed that up with an 11th-place finish on the famed, and highly technical, Trois-Rivières street circuit at the GP3R in a field of 30 cars. Later that same year, making a big step up into the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda, he finished 8th in a field of 19 cars at the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.

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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: DPPI

Alain Prost four-time Formula 1 champion is becoming ambassador of Renault.

More than 30 years after the start of the relationship between the four-time F1 champion and Renault, the two partners have decided to give a new dimension to their collaborative effort. By accepting to become a brand ambassador, Alain Prost will place all his technical expertise, professionalism and renown at the service of Renault and its products. Throughout the year he will take part as a Renault driver in sports demonstrations and also as a representative at events organized or attended by Renault.

“Renault’s history is intimately linked to that of motorsport and I have a deep attachment to the brand, with which I achieved some of the greatest successes in my sporting career, Alain Prost said. I accepted this mission with pleasure and I intend to accomplish it with professionalism.”

“We are delighted that Alain Prost has accepted the role as our brand ambassador. Carlos Tavares, Chief Operating Officer said. As a four-time Formula 1 champion renowned the world over for his technical expertise, Alain is without a doubt one of the most demanding ‘customers’ that Renault has ever had! He is the best-qualified personality for talking about the progress made by Renault in the last few years on quality, technological innovation and performance.”

Alain Prost has taken the wheel of a Renault Duster on 23 February at the Race Stars in Moscow. The event marks the first appearance of the “Professor” as an ambassador of the Renault brand.

Alain Prost and Renault in a few dates

1976: Formula Renault French champion.

1977: Formula Renault European champion.

1981: Formula 1 driver for Renault-Elf Team. First podium finish at the Argentine Grand Prix. First victory at French Grand Prix.

1982: Victory in first two Grand Prix races of the season. Fourth-ranked driver.

1983: Second in Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

1993: World champion Formula 1 driver with Williams-Renault.

2009: First Trophée d’Andros race in Dacia Duster.

2012: Victory in Trophée d’Andros at the wheel of Dacia Lodgy “Glace”


Motorsports Mondial

Photo: forceindiaf1

Force India on top on day two of testing.

Nico Hulkenberg: “We started the day with some aero work – trying some constant speed runs and collecting more data. Then, the rest of the day was spent working on the balance of the car and trying out all four tyre compounds. I did some short runs, long runs and just got a feel for the tyre characteristics and how the car reacts to them. Once again the car has been very drivable all day and our baseline set-up has proved to be a good starting point for running all the different compounds.” 

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer

“Nico’s second day in the car saw a continuation of the programme we started yesterday with aero runs, balance and set-up work, and a full day of tyre comparisons. We got through all the items on the job list and once again the car has run faultlessly, which is a credit to the design team at Silverstone. Nico’s feedback on the handling of the car continues to be positive and we now have a good feel for the set-up directions we need to take to extract even more performance.”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

Caterham completes day two of testing at Barcelona.

Vitaly Petrov: “I think that was a pretty positive day. We completed 69 laps and got through most of what we had planned. This morning we had a couple of issues with the seating position and the brakes, but you expect that from a new car and they were little things that we were able to fix quickly. In the afternoon we put in a few more long runs and that’ll give us a lot of data to work on tonight and I think tomorrow it will be more of the same.

“Physically I feel really good. It’s obviously been a while since I’ve been in a car, but I’ve kept up my fitness levels and I enjoyed myself on track, so it’s a good first day back. One thing I have noticed is that this car behaves a little differently from my previous experience and I think I may have to adjust my driving style to get the best out of it – I’ve been quite aggressive before, but I think this car responds better to smoother inputs, so that’s something I can work on, and work with the engineers on. Let’s see what we can come up with for tomorrow.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “A very reasonable first day with Vitaly in the car. We spent some time this morning getting him acclimatised, focusing particularly on the brakes, but he has settled in well and did exactly what we asked of him today. We have a few points to work on tonight, one of those being to understand how to give him a setup he feels most comfortable with, so tomorrow we expect to be able to continue to progress when he’s back on track for the second day.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham Group Chief Executive Officer: “A good way to introduce Vitaly to the team on track. He acquitted himself well today, putting in a decent number of laps and working well with us to fine-tune the basic setups we need to give him so he’s comfortable in the cockpit. As first days go this was pretty much faultless, and that’s exactly what we wanted from him.”

Lotus GP’s Aaro Vainio quickest in day two of testing in Portugal. 

Finnish driver Aaro Vainio ended the first official GP3 Series pre-season Test as fastest man on day two in Estoril. His best laptime was one second quicker than the benchmark set by Nico Muller yesterday. Vainio had been within the top four quickest drivers on day one and continued his good form into the second day. After heading the morning timesheets, Vanio remained unchallenged for the rest of the day.

It was another glorious day at the Circuito do Estoril for the second and final day of testing for GP3 Series. The early morning pace setter was Mitch Evans, until Vainio claimed control of the session after around thirty minutes. The Finn remained top of the standings. Seven drivers broke into the 1’30s barrier, making a significant improvement on the times set on day one.

Antonio Felix Da Costa was hot on the tails of Vainio’s best efforts and was closely followed by Evans and Conor Daly. Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas then produced a fine effort to shoot up to second fastest and the Marussia Manor Racing star maintained his second quickest time, less than a tenth behind the Lotus GP driver.  

Hungarian Tamas Pal Kiss repeated his day one form with the sixth fastest lap, whilst Patric Niederhauser made massive steps from his best of 16th on day one, to seventh at the close of the morning session. All three Jenzer Motorsport drivers completed times within the top ten, with Mathéo Tuscher the 15 year old, again impressing with the eighth fastest lap ahead of Robert Visoiu in tenth. German driver Daniel Abt in the Lotus GP split the Jenzer Motorsport drivers posting the ninth fastest time. 

The session was briefly red flagged twice when new recruit to GP3 Series, Vicky Piria, spun and stopped on the circuit after testing the limits whilst getting to grips with her second time testing for Trident Racing. 

The afternoon session was eerily quiet for the first hour and then the action began to hot up. Matias Laine took control and was joined by Da Costa at the top of the timesheets. Micki Weckstrom then snuck into second position. Within the last hour Ellinas jumped from third to first while Swiss driver Niederhauser progressed to second. 

Da Costa was third with Marlon Stockinger for Status Grand Prix in fourth. Laine, Kiss and Weckstrom were next in fifth, sixth and seventh. Italian David Fumanelli was eighth fastest ahead of Evans and Nico Müller. Times were around a second slower compared to the morning session.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast