Max Verstappen wins his home race

 Season round: 13 of 33

Track: Spa-Francorchamps
Winner: Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Pole position: Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: sunny

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing), the son of ex-Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen, scored his second season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at the 7.004 kilometres long Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. The 16-year-old Dutchman with residence in Belgium won the 13th season round from Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), the nephew of ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger. Jake Dennis (Carlin) claimed third place. Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) remains in the lead of the drivers’ standings. The French Lotus F1 junior driver retired following a collision with Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam) on the opening lap.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 5, race 1, Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)

Max Verstappen already moved up into the lead at an early stage and didn’t lose his position after a safety car intervention. The safety car was deployed on lap six after 16-year-old Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational), who is making his series debut this weekend, and Italian Antinio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) had collided and retired. Verstappen’s victory was only briefly in jeopardy on the final lap when Lucas Auer started an attack. Verstappen turned this off successfully and took the chequered flag ahead of his opponent from Austria.

British rookie driver Jake Dennis crossed the finish line in third place. The Carlin driver overtook Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) for third on the final lap and got to climb on the podium for the prize-giving ceremony as a reward. The Swede dropped back as far as seventh due to a broken fuel pump. Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) claimed fourth place from Antonio Fuoco and Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing), who scored his best result of the season in sixth place. Felipe Guimarães (Double R Racing) was classified eighth behind Rosenqvist and also scored his best result in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to date. Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Jordan King (Carlin) rounded out the top ten after an action-packed race.

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing): “My start was okay and I was third into Eau Rouge. On the long straights, I then had such a good slipstream that I was able to go into the lead. Until the safety car, everything went fine, but my car started to oversteer in the closing stages. The two final laps were really tough, but eventually, I managed to bring first place home and I am really happy.”

Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport): “My start wasn’t particularly good, but at least I had a good slipstream after that. In the next laps, I was able to follow Max, but I couldn’t attack him. That changed only on the final lap: I made a move on him, but it wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, it was a nice battle for victory with Max.”

Jake Dennis (Carlin): “Moving up from eighth on the grid to finish third doesn’t happen every day. At Spa, however, this is possible. My start was already good, but I also benefited from the collision between Esteban Ocon and Antonio Fuoco. Thus, I was fourth after one lap already. After that, I was able to pull away from the driver in fifth place until the safety car came out. Eventually, Felix Rosenqvist had problems. I took the opportunity and took over his third place. Third place is a good result.”

Formula 1


The first practice sessions for the eighth race of the season took place today in Spielberg, Austria. 

• Lewis Hamilton set the best time of the day, closely followed by Nico Rosberg in their F1 debut at this circuit
• The Silver Arrows were the only two cars to post a lap time under 1:10 today, both in the second session
• Nico required a change of ERS cooling pump between the two sessions, which was completed successfully
• The drivers completed a total of 138 laps today, equivalent to nearly two race distances

Lewis Hamilton
It didn’t feel bad out there today considering this is a new track to me. Already after the first few laps I was feeling comfortable and always seemed to be finding time with new lines and improvements. To be as quick as I was considering others have already driven this track is a great feeling. It was very windy out there today, but we got a lot of running and we feel set for the race on Sunday. The high speed corners were working the rear tyres hard but they seemed to cope well. The feeling was good for both sets of tyres, even in the long runs, so if the car is like this for the race, I’m in a good place. The goal for tomorrow will be pole position but there is still a long straight up to turn two so anything can happen in the race.

Nico Rosberg
I did a lot of laps today and on a new track every lap is important for the learning process, so I’m quite happy with that. In general it was a complicated day for me, so there is still some lap time to find compared to my teammate and there is a lot of work required from me tonight. My car is bouncing a lot down the straights and that continues into my braking zones, so it was difficult there. But I’m sure we can improve on that. It is really great to be back on this wonderful track again, thanks to Bernie and Mr. Mateschitz. Austria definitely needs an F1 race. There we so many fans out there already, which is great to see.

Toto Wolff
First of all, it is a fantastic feeling to be back racing in Austria. My compliments go to Dietrich Mateschitz on a fantastic facility, which is a great international showcase for our country. It feels like a home race for our team, too; for myself and Niki of course – but also because of the fantastic support we have seen from the passionate F1 fans here in Spielberg. I am sure we can expect an incredible atmosphere tomorrow and especially on Sunday. We had a good day out on track – the car is competitive and both drivers seemed pretty comfortable out there. But it wasn’t a trouble-free day, with some small issues that cost us track time on both sides of the garage. It’s always better to find these things on Friday than Sunday, of course. But we will be working hard to make sure there is no recurrence so we can get both cars to the chequered flag as safely and competitively as possible.

Paddy Lowe
We covered the work we needed to do during first practice and, although the session was slightly disrupted by light rain showers, we managed to run the car at both high and low fuel levels. This is a great circuit and, as expected, is proving hard on brakes; similarly, the effective loss of downforce experienced from running at altitude meant lots of drivers were struggling to put together consistent laps. Nico and Lewis were both happy with the car today and able to set competitive times. Nico suffered a problem with the ERS system in P1 which we were able to fix for the afternoon. We then had to cut Lewis’ afternoon session slightly short as a precaution after he experienced a different ERS issue. The weather forecast predicts dry conditions across the rest of the weekend, so we will be working tonight to prepare the cars accordingly for tomorrow and Sunday.


Julian Leal leads the way at the Red Bull Ring

Carlin’s Julian Leal has opened the fourth round of the season in fine style: the Colombian set the quickest laptime of this morning’s free practice session in a 1:15.652 ahead of Racing Engineering’s teammates Raffaele Marciello and Stefano Coletti.
The session opened on a treacherous track as light rain fell on the Austrian circuit. The twenty-six drivers however all opted to get a taste of the Red Bull Ring on Pirelli Medium tyres. Series leader Jolyon Palmer set the early pace, but as the drivers got to grips with this new venue, the laptimes rapidly tumbled down and after ten minutes it was Alexander Rossi who was sitting pretty at the top in a 1:16.544.
Halfway through the session, Palmer was able to find some extra pace to move back up to P1 but his time was immediately bettered by Coletti whilst Marciello moved up to second. Felipe Nasr was the first man to break under 1m16s, but Ferrari’s protégé Marciello went quicker to edge the Brazilian out of the top spot. In the dying minutes, Leal put his head down and was able to set the best laptime of the session, one tenth quicker than the Italian. At the chequered flag, the rain picked up again and no one improved on their last attempt. Leal, Marciello, Coletti, Nasr, Johnny Cecotto, Mitch Evans, Daniel Abt, Rene Binder, Stoffel Vandoorne and Palmer completed the top ten.
With the weather being unpredictable and everyone still fairly new to the track, this afternoon’s qualifying session promises to be interesting.
Spielberg – Free Practice
Julian Leal
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
Felipe Nasr
Johnny Cecotto
Mitch Evans
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
Rene Binder
Arden International
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
Jolyon Palmer
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Stéphane Richelmi
Sergio Canamasas
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Simon Trummer
Daniiel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Facu Regalia
Hilmer Motorsport
Artem Markelov
André Negrao
Arden International
Tio Ellinas
MP Motorsport
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus

Formula 1

F1 Lotus Team Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Federico Gastaldi  Deputy Team Principal-

Deputy Team Principal Federico Gastaldi heralds the potential excitement as Formula 1 returns to Austria as well as giving a frank assessment of the state of play following a double retirement in Canada

What’s the outlook heading to Austria?

We have potential which is still to be fulfilled. Canada was a kick where it hurts for everyone at the team but we took stock, identified the issues and have taken action to avoid any repeats. The last thing you want is both cars sat in the garage at the end of a race, but that’s what we had. Thankfully it is very rare for us. A rear wing issue for Romain was something unforeseen. We’ve analysed what went wrong, found a fix and it won’t happen again. A power unit issue for Pastor was not something new so we’re spending more time with Renault Sport F1 to do everything possible to avoid a repeat of this. It was an issue with a power unit sensor. Just a small thing, but something that had terminal repercussions.

Do you think a return to more conventional permanent tracks this summer will tap in to the latent potential of the E22?

Yes that is the objective. We saw that on a level playing field at Barcelona we can be fighting for big points. The E22 when running cleanly can be a potent proposition but the bugs must be ironed out and we have to start scoring points with both cars to move our way up the points table to where we think we should be.

What do you think about Formula 1 returning to Austria?

It’s good to see another race on the calendar and it exposes our sponsors and partners to another market. For the drivers and engineers it presents a different challenge. It’s quite a short track, but one with plenty to think about. The racing could well be very good.

What do you make of one company having two Formula 1 teams and one Grand Prix?

It’s an interesting situation which shows the commitment of one multi-national organisation to the sport. It’s been a little while since we had a new European race on the calendar so that is great to see. We’ve seen organisations own more than one team before, so that’s nothing new.

Canada was quite an exciting race?

There was certainly a lot going on and Canada has produced excitement so many times over the years. It’s great that Felipe [Massa] and Sergio [Perez] were fine after their incident at the end of the race, and only natural that there would be many differences of opinions about how this came about. For Daniel [Ricciardo] it was a wonderful day and he richly deserves that victory. For the championship, there was an exciting battle at the front of the race which wasn’t without a little controversy. This is what Formula 1 is about.

Where do you position Lotus F1 Team in the current order of teams?

It’s a difficult question. We are only seven races in to the biggest rule changes we have seen for a generation so we’re all finding our place. Certainly, we’re learning a lot. I don’t think it’s fair to judge us purely on our results so far this year, and fortunately the championship is 19 races long. Monaco and Montréal were both races which didn’t play to our strengths and additionally we had reliability problems at both of them. Austria looks to be more positive in terms of its potential for us, as well as the next few races too. We’re making improvements all the time so we can tackle all the aspects which cause us a challenge.


Romain Grosjean Lotus F1

Romain Grosjean previews the Austrian Grand Prix, looking forward to a circuit he’s never driven before, hoping to harness the progress made with the E22. 

What’s your outlook heading to Austria?

I am positive. Even though the end result in Canada might not show it, we’ve actually made good progress with the car and it’s starting to feel like a real racer in how it handles and how all the systems feel. This is very important to me as it helps you get the most out of the car through every corner to make the most of every lap. Certainly at the start of the season this new generation of car was not the easiest or the most pleasurable thing to drive, but I’m being won round! The feel of the car is an important aspect of the improvements being made so it’s another piece in the jigsaw.

Have you driven the Spielberg circuit before?

Competing in the Grand Prix will be my first experience there, which is a pretty cool way to get to know a track! It looks like quite a fun lap with some high speed sections and not too much low speed stuff – which hasn’t suited our car so far this year. The track has a bit of undulation too, which is always fun as a driver. A downhill approach to a corner means you have to drive it quite a bit differently than if it’s an uphill approach and Spielberg has both of those. It should be fun.

How do you prepare going to a track that’s new for you?

There’s a lot you can do with simulators, watching on board laps from other people and going through data and predictions with your engineers as well as driving the track on the Xbox! That said, nothing beats getting in the car and actually driving it for real. I’ll be pretty excited at the start of FP1 as that’s when I’ll really know what sort of track it is.

How do you work on set-up at the same time as learning a new track?

You very quickly know what you want from the car and how to put together all the corners which make a circuit that’s new to you. The objective for learning a track and setting up the car is to go as fast as possible so for both it’s all the same goal.

How frustrating was it to retire from the Canadian Grand Prix?

You never want to stop racing so it wasn’t the best. That said, it was a pretty exciting end to the race so it was good to watch it as it happened! Our target is to be part of the battle of fighting for points positions so we need to ensure we don’t have any more problems with the car. We’re making definite progress with pace, how the car feels and generally with reliability too, so it was frustrating that there was an issue with the rear wing. It’s another lesson learnt and we will come back stronger for Austria and beyond.

How competitive do you think you can be in Austria?

We won’t know for sure until we’ve been out on track, but I don’t think the circuit should be as much of a challenge to us as Monaco or Montréal. Certainly there are fewer low speed corners which seem to have been more difficult for us this season and the downforce level could suit us better too.

How has it been working with a new team-mate now you have a good number of races together?

Pastor’s a great guy and easy to work with. We’re both positive and proactive and know what we want from the car and the team. He’s fast too so it keeps me on my toes to beat him!

What are your thoughts on revising the weekend format for Grands Prix?

As long as there’s a Grand Prix and qualifying session, that’s the main thing! Whatever happens, it will be the same for everyone. I quite like the idea of a practice session late on Friday as it means I won’t have to get up so early! Let’s see what happens.

Pastor Maldonado:

Pastor Maldonado Lotus F1

After seeing his first points for Lotus slip away in Canada, Pastor Maldonado is happy to be heading back to Austria for F1’s first visit since 2003…

What are your thoughts ahead of Austria?

I know the track, but it was maybe ten years ago when I last raced there and it will be new for me in an F1 car. I think it should be quite good for the E22. It looks like the circuit doesn’t have too many low speed corners and the downforce and set-up is similar to Barcelona, which should help us. We will work hard to solve the problems we had in Canada so that we can reach our targets in Austria. I’m certainly optimistic Austria will suit us better than the last two rounds.

What were the positives and negatives from Canada?

The main positive was that we were fighting for points, easily. The strategy was quite good: Starting on prime tyres and planning only one stop. It was difficult in terms of grip at the beginning and we lost some places, which we expected because the other guys were on super soft tyres. But the pace came and I was competitive. We started 17th and were up to eighth place. Then we had a power unit problem and had to retire. I know we’ve had retirements before, but this was particularly difficult as we have really made progress and we could have finished well despite starting the race from so far back.

How is your morale after two tough races?

I am very motivated. I think we have some good weekends ahead of us and there are still so many races to go. The European part of the season is very important for us, so let’s push hard, do our best and for sure we will be in the points soon.

Do you like racing in Europe?

I like to be racing anywhere! I have raced for many years in Europe and so many of the junior categories are there. Of course, I would love to race at home too, but racing anywhere is what you want to do as a race driver. I would race on the moon if there was a race track there!

What do you remember about your last race in Austria?

It was in Formula Renault and I finished on the podium. Actually I think I won, but I don’t remember to be honest! It’s a high downforce track. Most of the corners are very quick, especially in the second sector. It’s a lot of fun to race there and I’m happy to be going back.

How is the relationship with the team?

We all know what we have to do and we are all pushing hard. Yes, we can all get frustrated, but ultimately we all want to achieve success so we remain positive. We can see how much improvement there has been with pace from the car and once we have all the reliability issues sorted we’ll be regularly fighting for points. Once we’re there, the next target is to fight for more points and then podiums. We’ve seen that the Mercedes are not perfect and can be beaten. Even they had reliability issues in Canada.

Given the start to your season, does your outlook change?

No, I still keep pushing and it’s still possible to achieve good things this year. We have had a third of the season which has been a challenge – a big challenge – but we still have two thirds of the year to go with many circuits which should suit our car. You arrive at every track with the target of having the best weekend possible and finding as much performance from the car and yourself. This does not change if you’ve had a difficult last weekend in the car.

I can’t wait to get out in FP1 in Austria.


Lotus F1 Team Technical Director Nick Chester explains the special challenges provided by F1’s Austrian return…

How would you categorise the Spielberg circuit?

The layout requires a medium downforce package for the car. In terms of demands it’s similar to Bahrain with some decent straights and then an infield section with medium speed corners. So it’s lower downforce than some tracks on the calendar. Pirelli’s track surface analysis points to a relatively non-abrasive, smooth asphalt which is why we will see the soft and super soft allocation once more.

How much of a challenge is it to understand a new circuit?

It can be quite challenging, although in the case of Austria we have been before. We raced there from 1997 to 2003, so there’s a certain knowledge bank we can dip into. In particular we have information about driving lines which improves the accuracy of our simulations. In contrast, with a brand new circuit it’s more complicated because we have to generate a driving line to be able to run a simulation and without a real driving line the simulated corner speeds will not necessarily be 100%. We’ve already got real data for Austria, so we can do a basic simulation quite easily.

Neither driver has driven the track before as F1 drivers, how does that change our approach?

It biases you towards doing longer runs and much of the first session will be about letting Pastor and Romain learn the circuit. As we haven’t been there for over a decade, things like track surface evolution could be a challenge as we learn how much the track cleans up as the weekend progresses and this has an impact on set-up.

The post Canada debrief can’t have been pleasant?

It’s fair to say we were not happy with our performance in Canada. We had a number of issues with Pastor’s car over the weekend, emanating both from ourselves and from Renault Sport F1 whilst Romain struggled with race pace and experienced an issue with his rear wing. To say we are investigating these issues thoroughly is an understatement. Pastor’s issue in the race was related to a power unit sensor problem. It’s only a small component on the car but the issue had big repercussions. Pastor was on course to finish strongly in the points. With Romain’s car we’ve identified the issue with the wing and taken preventative measures to ensure it won’t happen again. Every time we experience a retirement it hurts every single person at Enstone and all of our partners. We will keep pushing until we return to the exemplary level of reliability we enjoyed over recent seasons.

What are the latest developments for the car for Austria?

We have a number of aero updates and we have some more work to do on braking. There is a good chunk of time still to be found in the braking zone and the key to unlocking this potential is enabling the latest brake-by-wire systems to deliver better feedback to the drivers.

Where does the focus lie between development of this year’s car and work for 2015?

There are no significant rule changes for 2015 so anything we do with this year’s car is beneficial for next year’s car too. We are learning a lot this year, even if there are tough lessons on occasion. We have faith that there is a lot more to come from the E22 and will continue to develop. We are well underway with the design of the E23 which should be a significant step forwards, both in performance and in the area of reliability which has challenged us and Renault Sport F1 so much at the start of this new generation of rules.




A reasonable level of front wing will need to be carried to help reduce understeer in the long med/high speed corners turn 5 and 6.


Simulations show that the rear wing level will be similar to that of Bahrain/Malaysia. A little more than was used in Montreal


A little bit of everything is needed from the suspension, good traction from turns 2 and 3, a responsive car for turns 5 and 6. In the past the cars could run extensively over the kerbs – we will need to asses any changes and adjust settings accordingly.


First 3 corners are preceded by long straights and we can expect speeds well in excess of 300kph before braking down to these slowish corners which will give the brakes quite a workout. However the rest of the lap is medium to high speed corners with light braking requirements. Overall it’s quite an easy track for the brakes.


Once more it will be the yellow soft and red super soft combination of tyres from Pirelli’s range. Not too many sustained high-speed corners to stress or overload the rubber.


The Spielberg circuit may look simple but there are a number of challenging points for power units. The high altitude will cause the turbo to spin at a much higher rate to compensate for the low ambient pressure, while the four straights will mean the ICE runs at full throttle for a high percentage of the lap. These long periods of open throttle require the MGU-H to recover and deliver lots of energy to the ICE to minimize lap time. Likewise the MGU-K will be expected to feed the ICE to deliver extra power, although the low number of braking points will make it difficult to recover significant energy under braking.


Ardennes rollercoaster the next venue for the Formula 3 young-guns

Venue: Spa-Francorchamps

Track length: 7,004 kilometres
Lap record FIA F3: Félix Serrallés 2012 (2:16.123 minutes)
Distance: 16 laps

This weekend, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship teams and drivers will travel to Spa for the 13th to 15th races of their 2014 season. Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3) has particularly fond memories of the legendary 7.004-kilometre rollercoaster in the Belgian Ardennes that is regarded as one of the most challenging racetracks on our planet. Two years ago, the young driver from Puerto Rico won a Formula 3 race there and secured another podium by finishing third in the second round. In that year, Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) came second to join Serrallés on the podium.

Today, Tom Blomqvist currently is the toughest rival of championship leader Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam); on the other hand, the Frenchman’s lead over the 20-year-old Briton already amounts to 82 points. With 12 races contested, 17-year-old rookie Ocon is the only driver on the grid who succeeded in scoring in every single race. Blomqvist, the son of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist, failed to score in two races while third-placed Austrian Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) had to cope with this feat just once.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 3, Pau (FRA)

Currently fifth in the championship, right behind Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam), is Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing). The 16-year-old Dutchman, son of former Formula 1 ace Jos Verstappen, has a very special relationship with Belgium. The rookie was born in Hasselt, Belgium, and still lives in Belgium. So, it goes without saying that the reigning CIK-FIA World Champion who is contesting his maiden car-racing season, this year, would love to celebrate his second Formula 3 race win in his home event in Belgium. At the same time, Verstappen won’t be the youngest driver on the grid of the planet’s most competitive young-driver series, from this weekend, as US American Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational) is making his long-awaited debut, at Spa-Francorchamps. The Eurointernational protégé who turned 16 only on 31st May – the minimum age for competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship – will race the Dallara-Mercedes #29.

Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational): “Having waited five months for it, I’m absolutely delighted with finally having the chance of racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. I already contested two race weekends in the German ATS Formula 3 Cup and even secured a podium. But I raced an older car, there, and the level also isn’t as high as in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. I haven’t got any special goals for Spa-Francorchamps as I don’t really know what I will have to cope with. I just want to do a good job, avoid getting involved in any incidents and learn as much as possible. One of my main goals is to display a proper learning curve. And I would be happy if I should make it to the top 20, every now and then.”

F1Weekly podcast # 657

Clark and Nasir share their excitement on the outcome of the Canadian Grand Prix. We have another great Motorsports Mondial and here is this weeks special bonus interview with Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico, your strong start of the season continued in Montreal…

Yes, we have shown once more to be both competitive and consistent, and to come away with ten points after a very busy race was really positive. I was on a different strategy from everyone else, which meant I was under pressure for most of the afternoon, but I think we were on the fastest strategy for us, even if the early safety car didn’t really help. But everything worked as planned and we came away with a very strong result.

You have scored in every race so far this year; do you see this trend continuing as we enter the summer season?

We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start. There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalise on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge. I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.

Austria is a completely new track for you, how do you expect to perform there?

Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year. The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada. When you go to a new track it’s even more important to maximise the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.

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The Premiere Motorsport Podcast