FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 9, Nürburgring (GER)


Max Verstappen unbeatable in the rain

Season race: 25 of 33
Track: Nürburgring
Pole position race 1: Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing)
Weather: rain

In qualifying for the 25th season race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 1:37.036 minutes) came out on top and claimed pole position on a rain-soaked track. The 16-year-old Dutchman, who was appointed a member of the Red Bull Junior Team only a few days ago, completed the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit 0.649 seconds faster than second-placed Edward Jones (Carlin, 1:37.685 minutes). Santino Ferrucci (Eurointernational, 1:38.079 minutes) claimed third place, his best classification in a FIA Formula European Championship qualifying to date. The youngest driver in the field was 0.074 seconds faster than Lotus Formula 1 junior driver Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam, 1:38.153 minutes), who had to make do with fourth place.

Max Verstappen dominated the entire first qualifying and eventually claimed first place. Edward Jones only moved up into second place in the final seconds of the session. Santino Ferrucci also set his personal fastest time in the closing stages and moved up to third place. As a result, Esteban Ocon, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship points’ leader, dropped back from second to fourth place just before the end of the session. Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam, 1:38.262 minutes) and Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:38.375 minutes) also lost two positions in the closing stages. They ended up fifth and sixth respectively.

Seventh place behind Austrian driver Auer went to Italian Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:38.501 minutes), who scored his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win at the Red Bull Ring a fortnight earlier. His team-mate Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, 1:38.610 minutes) was classified eighth from Roy Nissany (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:38.728 minutes) and Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 1:38.735 minutes).

Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing): “My qualifying was quite good, but it wasn’t too difficult. I like the Nürburgring and I really like to drive here. On top of that, my car was perfect, the only thing I had to do is drive it without any accidents. Claiming pole position in my first qualifying as a Red Bull Junior Team member is a great feeling.”

Romain Grosjean

Formula 1


Romain Grosjean looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

Did you have ‘des bonnes vacances’?

Yes, very nice. I spent time with my wife and baby son (Sacha), who celebrated his first birthday just after the Hungarian Grand Prix. We had a great time with our families and holidayed. It is nice to switch off even just for a short time. I come back to the paddock refreshed and with energy restored for the next phase of the season.

What is your mind-set as we go into the second part of the season?

Despite the difficulties so far, I feel positive for the rest of the season to come. We have seen that there have been many issues since the start of the year and even before, but as with everything in life you have to look forward and this is exactly what I am doing. This is now my third full season in F1 and although the disappointments always hurt, I am also mature enough to know that when things get tough you are able to learn more and to try and work toward being successful again. I really hope we can do that together as a team for the remainder of the year. That is the aim.

Spa is a great place to start afresh for the second part of the 2014 season isn’t it?

Yes it is. Spa as we all know is one of the best tracks we go to, if not the best of them all. As a driver it is like a dream circuit with elevation change, quick corners, medium speed technical corners and some good straights for overtaking. It’s a circuit with a soul. I always enjoy racing here, as do most of the drivers. What I find memorable about Spa is not only the track but also the beautiful surroundings in the Ardennes forest. From the cockpit you get a very real sense of being at a living, breathing track at Spa and the fans are really close to the action. You can almost smell the frites!

There is no hiding from the fact 2014 has been tough so far. Going forward what can be achieved in the remaining races?

Well, at the end of the day, all we as drivers can do is to do our best every time we get in the car. It has been a very hard year so far but you have to keep looking ahead and hoping that all of the bad luck, issues and tough times get paid back through our determination to make things better. Ever since I have been at Enstone I have seen this determination to succeed and it will help us. When you match these qualities to the skill of the technical team then we should get some rewards in the remaining races. We need to build some momentum and I will be going all out to make sure we get more points and exploit the best of the E22 for the rest of the season.

Is the target to add more points at Spa?

As always, yes. Since Monaco we have had a succession of really hard races where for many reasons we have not been in the position to claim any points. For Spa I am hoping that there will be some improvements so we can show the potential which has been seen on a few occasions, like at Barcelona. We have to reverse the problems that have held us back and I believe that if we get that then we can post more points on the board.

Pastor Maldonado


Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix

What have you been doing in the summer break?

Relaxing as much as possible by spending time with my family and friends. The F1 season is intense with travelling, and time seems to go so fast. It is a much needed break but at the same time my brain is always thinking about the team and the car, so part of me is always focusing on the second half of the season, starting at Spa.

It is important to have this break and to refresh ourselves as a team. I think that being away from the track for a short time is healthy and actually helps get some perspective of where we are and hope things can improve for us going forwards.

Is there a sense of re-focusing now on a strong end to 2014 after a tough first half?

Yes there is. It has been a very hard season and one in which there have been lots of issues. But now that is behind us and we have to believe that we can get some points on the board and complete the season strongly. That way it will give some good momentum to start afresh in 2015 with a whole new exciting package.

What are you targeting now for the rest of the season?

It would be difficult to give a clear aim other than improvement and fighting for points every race. We have seen flashes of big promise from the E22. If everything is running right and the team continues to push then we can get more points for sure. As a team we will stay together with a clear mission to achieve the maximum. That way we will come back stronger and become a force in 2015. But first we are hungrier than ever to get back in to the mix for points again in 2014.

Spa is a legendary place. What makes it so special for you the driver?

Where do you start with Spa? It is an amazing circuit and for sure one of the best on the planet. The sensations a driver experiences at corners like Eau Rouge/Raidillion, Pouhon and Blanchimont are not like you feel anywhere else in the world. It is unique in every way and to think you are competing on parts of the track that were used back in the first Grand Prix season in 1950 makes it very special indeed.

What are your favourite memories of Spa?

Spa is the type of track where you get great memories whenever or whatever you are racing. But of course the ones that really stick in the memory are the victories and I am lucky that I have won here a few times.

I first raced at Spa in 2004 in Formula Renault. In 2006 I won in World Series by Renault at Spa, taking pole, fastest lap and the victory. Then in 2008 I won in the GP2 Series for the first time. Then I took another win in my championship year in 2010 which was a sweet moment. In Formula 1 I qualified sixth in 2012. So all in all I have great memories of the track and feel that I have a special relationship with it going back many years.

With a vast variety of corners at Spa how do you think the E22 will perform there. 

We hope it’s good there. If we can have a clean weekend technically, without any power unit or other issues, then we will be in a good position to challenge for points. Spa always throws up some variables with the weather being the obvious one. It would be nice to be higher up than the last few races. If we can achieve this and we have a good package then I believe we can come away with something very positive from Belgium.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 7, race 3, Nuerburgring (D)


The Eifel: The hunt for championship leader Ocon to be continued

Venue: Nürburgring
Track length: 3.629 kilometres
Lap record FIA Formula 3 European Championship: Raffaele Marciello 2013 (1:22.559 minutes)
Distance: 25 laps

This weekend at the 3.629-kilometre Nürburgring, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is going to contest its ninth race meeting of the 2014 season. Esteben Ocon (Prema Powerteam), a protégée of the Lotus Formula 1 Team, travels to the Eifel as championship leader, with his lead over second-placed Dutchman Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) amounting to 94 points. Nonetheless, the two rookies mustn’t rest on their laurels as Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) are determined to give their very best to close in on Ocon and Verstappen and pass them in the overall standings. Austria’s Auer wants to do so at the wheel of his Dallara-Mercedes entered by kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, the only German team on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 6, race 2, Norisring (GER)

In time for the home race of his team, with 24 races contested, Lucas Auer proved to be in good shape. In his own home event, at the Red Bull Ring, the Austrian young gun secured two podiums, thus reducing the gap to the leaders, Ocon and Verstappen. While Esteban Ocon encountered a race weekend to forget, in Styria. For the first time this year, he had to leave a race venue empty-handed. Max Verstappen also failed to shine and had to settle for adding just 27 points to his tally while Tom Blomqvist delivered in great style: the Briton won a race and finished runner-up in the other two to pass Auer in the overall standings for third position. Blomqvist’s entire team, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, was extremely competitive in Spielberg. His team-mate, Antonio Giovinazzi, secured two poles and in race three, the Italian celebrated his first FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win.

Thanks to this success and the 61 points scored by Blomqvist with his three podiums, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin now holds second position in the team ranking behind Prema Powerteam. Right behind the Britons, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport follows in third position. With its three drivers Lucas Auer, Felix Rosenqvist and Roy Nissany, the Berlin based squad’s gap to Jagonya Ayam with Carlin amounts to just 22 points.

Antonio Giovinazzi was the seventh driver to have won a FIA Formula 3 European Championship race, this year. 26 drivers succeeded in scoring points, among them Tatiana Calderón (Jo Zeller Racing), the only girl racer on the competitive grid. The Colombian who secured four top-10 results, to date, secured her best result in the season so far by finishing fifth at Spa-Francorchamps. She is determined to continue her upswing and keep on adding points to her tally, in the Eifel.

Tatiana Calderón (Jo Zeller Racing): “I’m really happy with my season so far. I had a difficult start as I joined Jo Zeller Racing really late but from Spa-Francorchamps, things ran really well for me. I scored my first FIA Formula 3 European Championship points at the Belgian circuit and afterwards, I succeeded in demonstrating that this success wasn’t a nine-day wonder. I’m delighted with having secured my best grid positions in regular conditions, at the Red Bull Ring, by qualifying 12th twice. I hope that I will be able to also score points at the Nürburgring as it is one of my favourite circuits. Last year, in the British F3 Championship, I even made it to the podium, there. I hope to be able to repeat this feat, this weekend – but to do so in a series as competitive as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, everything must run absolutely perfectly.”

British F3 speeds back into Thruxton this weekend (16-17 August) for the first time in four years.


Thruxton F3 return will separate men from boys, says ex-F1 star Webber

  • F3 back at Thruxton after four-year absence
  • Title battle set to rev into overdrive as championship heads south
  • Mark Webber pays tribute to ‘fast-and-flowing’ Hampshire circuit
The Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Championship returns to Thruxton for the first time since 2010 this weekend (16-17 August), as the Formula 1 stars of tomorrow prepare to go wheel-to-wheel around the fastest track in the country – one that Mark Webber contends will really separate the men from the boys.
F1-turned-sportscar star Mark Webber who competed at Thruxton in British F3 in 1997 – describes it as the ultimate challenge.
F1-turned-sportscar star Mark Webber who competed at Thruxton in British F3 in 1997 – describes it as the ultimate challenge.

F3 has long been a successful breeding ground for future grand prix-winners and world champions, propelling more drivers than any other series towards the pinnacle of international motor sport.

As a case in point, the last time the championship visited Thruxton four years ago, two of the races were won by current Scuderia Toro Rosso ace Jean-Eric Vergne – whilst Jenson Button tallied his breakthrough F3 triumph around the sweeping, high-speed Hampshire circuit in 1999.

Rewind a bit further, and in 1983, a certain Ayrton Senna was crowned British F3 Champion at Thruxton at the end of an epic season-long duel with current Sky Sports F1 commentator Martin Brundle.

The 2014 campaign has thus far been dominated by F3 stalwart Fortec Motorsports and its dynamic duo Matt Rao and Martin Cao. Rao leads the points table arriving at Thruxton courtesy of a brace of victories to-date, but the ultra-consistent Cao is only four markers adrift and poised to pounce. Fellow British single-seater heavyweights Carlin and Double R Racing will similarly be represented on the grid.

F1-turned-sportscar convert Webber – who was denied a podium finish in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours this year by late-race mechanical woes – reckons the current crop of British F3 competitors will truly be put to the test this weekend, after competing at Thruxton himself in Formula Ford and F3 in 1996 and 1997.

“I didn’t have much success here in F3, but my memory is of a very daunting and quick track in the junior categories,” recollected the nine-time grand prix-winner. “The first time I drove Thruxton, I was amazed by just how fast-and-flowing it was – there might be only a handful of corners, but they are all very quick! You need a good engine, because you’re at full-throttle a lot of the time.

“It’s evident straightaway that you need to be extremely confident with the car through the fast corners. It’s also a very bumpy track, which is something you have to respect, and you always need to be near the slipstream in qualifying. My engineer used to say to me, ‘No tow, no front row’ – and that was certainly the case at Thruxton.”

Race fans can famously get close to the action at Thruxton, and with not just British F3 but also Classic Touring Cars, Ferrari Classic and a number of other popular support series on the schedule this weekend, Group Managing Director Bill Coombs reflects that it will be non-stop high-octane entertainment throughout.

“British F3 will generate the fastest four-wheeled racing at Thruxton all year, as the best young drivers of the moment bid to prove their mettle around the most demanding circuit in the country,” said Coombs, who competed at Thruxton in British F3 himself in 1985.

“It promises to be an awe-inspiring spectacle with plenty of thrills-and-spills – and keep your autograph books at the ready, too, because history suggests you may even spot a future F1 star in the field…”

For the full event timetable, see:

Tickets can be purchased on the gate for just £9 on Saturday and £14 on Sunday. Children aged 15 and under are admitted free-of-charge. Grandstand seats cost £3 on Saturday and £5 on Sunday.





The Rolex clock is ticking and race teams are preparing for another extraordinary three days of racing at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. From August 15-17, 550 of the world’s most rare and valuable race cars, ranging from a 1911 National 40 that raced at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 to the awesome ground shaking Can-Am machines from the 1960s and 1970s, will provide a colorful “history lesson come-to-life,” with a chapter added for featured marque Maserati. Celebrating its 100th year in grand style, the Iconic Italian marque will showcase its modern cars while the remarkable Maseratis of the past thrill race fans on the raceway.

Though motor racing today conjures up images of huge transporters hauling sponsor-logoed cars to the track, it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when race car drivers would drive their sports cars to the race venue, remove the spare tire and tools from the boot (trunk) and then affix a number to their MG, Triumph, Jaguar, Austin Healy or Porsche and spend the weekend racing it around a set course plotted on public roads lined with trees and enthusiastic spectators.  Places with names like Watkins Glen, Thompson, Sebring, Bridgehampton, Elkhart Lake and Pebble Beach became revered as sanctuaries of speed, and many who challenged these crude courses became heroes to young devotees eagerly awaiting the opportunity when they, too, could don a polo helmet and driving gloves and put their own machines to the test.

In 1950, the first Pebble Beach Road Race was organized at The Del Monte Properties on the Monterey Peninsula. The roads around the Lodge At Pebble Beach were chosen for their tight turns, which challenged the nimble sports cars of the time, and the original 1.8 mile course was essentially an irregular rectangle shape with only right hand turns. To add to the challenge, not all the roads were paved, and drivers had to adjust  their driving style through multiple laps to manage the quick two-lane paved road and then confront the sliding and dodgy braking on loose gravel. Close quarters made the event extremely dangerous not only for the drivers but also for the approximately 10,000 people who lined the roads to witness the excitement.

The magic of vintage racing today is that those historic cars of the 1950s as well as the gems that raced before and afterward can be viewed not in a stationary museum setting but actually racing with thunder, wheel-to- wheel, blasting down the straightaways and sliding through corners at race circuits around the world.

And it just so happens that the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, with its roots in the original Pebble Beach Road Races, has become the premier vintage race in the United States and one of the most revered vintage races in the world.  In addition to witnessing gripping action on the famous turns of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, race fans can view these cars up close in the paddock and speak with their owners and drivers who are happy to discuss their prized machines.

That first Pebble Beach Road Race was won by the immortal Phil Hill in a superbly modified Jaguar XK 120, and when he took the checkered flag, American race fans caught a glimpse of the man who would eventually become their country’s first Formula 1 World Champion. (Hill won this 100-mile race again in 1953 and 1954, driving Ferraris, and his son Derek Hill will drive a lone surviving Maserati Tipo 151 at this year’s Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.)

The cars that raced at the Pebble Beach Road Races were dangerous and the very narrow tree-lined roads ultimately led to tragedy in 1956 when Ernie McAfee lost his life after crashing his Ferrari, thus ending this very popular road race.   Watkins Glen and Bridgehampton both ended their road races because of similar incidents and began construction on purpose-built permanent race courses. The Monterey Peninsula also was awarded an 11-turn, 2.238-mile jewel of a road course, now called Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on California’s beautiful central coast.

Rolex enjoys an historic and privileged bond with motor sport and has been Title Sponsor of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion since it was renamed in 2010. (From 2001-2009, Rolex sponsored the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races, which originally began in 1974, at this venue.)

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957 by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501C(4) corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help put on the races.

F1Weekly podcast # 660

Clark and Nasir try to contain themselves on the results of the Hungarian Grand Prix , we bring you Motorsports Mondial and, 50 words from the F1W forum and…Some results from my favorite series!


photo- José-María López achieved a clean sweep at his home meeting in Argentina, with two race wins and one pole position.
- Yvan Muller, Pechito’s fiercest rival for the World Championship, secured two podium spots, while Sébastien Loeb finished 4th and 6th.
- López’s maximum points haul puts him 60 points clear of Muller in the overall standings.

The sun was blazing at the Autodromo Termas de Río Hondo, and the atmosphere hotted up further still when young Matias Rossi and his Citroën emerged victorious in the Turismo Nacional race held as a curtain raiser to the FIA WTCC.

Shortly afterwards, José-María López lined up on pole position on the grid for race 1. When the red lights went out, he made the perfect start and hit the first corner in the lead, closely followed by Norbert Michelisz, who had got the better of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb in the opening tussle. As the laps went by, the gaps widened, although Muller was constantly under threat from Loeb.

After thirteen laps completed at a pace worthy of a qualifying session, Pechito López delighted the 40,000 spectators by crossing the finish line as the winner! The two other Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs finished third and fourth, behind Michelisz.

A few minutes later, the cars lined up for race 2. With the top ten from qualifying starting in reverse order on the grid, this second race promised to be livelier than the first!

And true to form, there was turbulence in the pack from the off. Sébastien Loeb dropped back three places, having failed to execute his starting strategy properly, while Yvan Muller opted for a cautious approach amid the traffic. All this proved to be to the benefit of Pechito López, who fought his way through the field to end lap 1 in seventh place.

The three Citroën drivers then enthralled the crowd with an exhibition of overtaking manoeuvres. The prize for pugnacity must surely go to Yvan Muller, who spent nearly three whole laps locked in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Tom Chilton. Sébastien Loeb impressed too, moving past Norbert Michelisz, but the crowd’s favourite was, of course, José-María López, who passed Rob Huff to climb into the lead with five laps to go.

Pechito held that lead to the end, and, exhausted and emotional, was given a triumphant reception by his fans for his twin victories. He was joined on the podium by Yvan Muller, who once again finished third. Sébastien Loeb finished race 2 in sixth place.


Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “This weekend has been one of the most emotional in the history of Citroën Racing. He might not have shown it much, but Pechito was under enormous pressure; he was desperate to do well in front of his home crowd. He dug deep and became the first driver this year to record a perfect score. Yvan did everything he could to stay with him, but the gap in the World Championship standings is widening. That is not to say the rest of the season won’t be interesting, however, as there are new circuits for us to discover. This has been a great day to round off a week spent with Citroën Argentina, engaging in various marketing operations that used motorsport to further the brand’s commercial aims.” »

José-María López: “Some people may find it a bit too corporate to start by thanking everyone, but that’s just what I feel like doing right now. Without my family and without Citroën, I wouldn’t be here. I am proud to be part of Citroën Racing, and to have Yvan and Seb as teammates. My wealth of experience on this circuit helped me a lot, but I was worried about the starts, which remain a weakness for me. Thankfully, this time, everything went OK! Race 2 was really exciting. The car just got quicker and quicker and I managed to work my way up the field into first place. It’s been a perfect weekend, and there’s no place I’d rather have produced a performance like that.”

Yvan Muller: “You should never give up, but I have to acknowledge that José was quicker than me this weekend. Once I realised that, I had to limit the damage and try not to fall too far behind in the World Championship. The team did a brilliant job and I did my best to exploit the car’s full potential. I found race 2 quite fun, particularly my battle with Chilton!”

Sébastien Loeb: “Fourth and sixth isn’t a dream result, but I can take plenty of positives out of this weekend. I managed to work my way through the pack, with a more combative approach and some nice overtaking manoeuvres. All this is great experience for me, as I’m now focusing first and foremost on 2015. I’m nearly 100 points adrift of Pechito, so I consider myself out of the running for the title.”

1. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
2. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
3. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
4. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
Fastest lap: José-María López (1’46’’456)

1. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
2. Rob Huff (Lada Granta 1.6T)
3. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
4. Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)
5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
6. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Fastest lap: José-María López (1’45’’926)

1. José-María López: 310 points
2. Yvan Muller: 250 pts
3. Sébastien Loeb: 213 pts
4. Tiago Monteiro: 146 pts
5. Gabriele Tarquini: 121 pts

1. Citroën Total: 686 points
2. Honda: 454 pts
3. Lada: 247 pts

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The Premiere Motorsport Podcast