ESTORIL

GP3


ESTORIL

GP3 SERIES RETURNS TO ACTION IN ESTORIL-
 
First of three pre-season tests takes place in Portugal
 
The 2014 GP3 Series gets underway tomorrow with the first official two day test session at the Circuito Estoril in Portugal. GP3 enters its fifth season of existence with racing kicking off in Barcelona in May.
 
The paddock welcomes back many familiar faces, along with some new recruits, all eager to follow in the footsteps of our reigning GP3 champion and current Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat.
 
Current Team Champions ART Grand Prix have brought in the experienced Alex Fontana and Dino Zamparelli and welcome German rookie Marvin Kirchhofer. Arden International (formally known as MW Arden) line-up with the double race-winning pairing of Robert Visoiu and Patric Niederhauser, whilst British driver Jann Mardenborough will make his debut in the Series.
 
Koiranen GP have signed Jimmy Eriksson and GP3 debutant Santiago Urrutia from Uruguay whilst Carmen Jorda will test for the Finnish outfit this week. Carlin has completed their team for this campaign, retaining Luis Sa Silva with Red Bull Junior Team driver Alex Lynn and Emil Bernstorff joining the British squad.
 
This season Marussia Manor Racing will field a trio of drivers who have all competed in GP3, Patrick Kujala and Ryan Cullen both raced in the 2013 season, along with Dean Stoneman who made a very impressive showing in his one-off appearance in the Abu Dhabi season finale to score a podium.
 
Jenzer Motorsport will be reviewing drivers from the test session before announcing their line-up for the 2014 campaign with GP3’s inaugural race winner Pal Varhaug testing for the Swiss outfit and he will be accompanied by fellow race winner Melville McKee and Adderly Fong.
 
Victor Carbone and Roman De Beer represent Italian outfit Trident this season and will be joined by Nelson Mason.
 
Nick Yelloly has switched to the green and black liveried Status Grand Prix this year, whilst former GP3 driver Richie Stanaway and Mexican Alfonso Celis Jr will test for the team in Portugal.
 
Newcomers to the GP3 Series for the 2014 season, Hilmer Motorsport, will make their official debut at the next test session in Jerez on the 10th – 11th April bringing the total to nine teams.
 
The schedule for Day 1 of the test sees the test commence at 09.00 – 12.00 with a two hour break. The afternoon session will begin at 14.00 and end at 17.00.
 
Drivers’ Entry List
CAR
DRIVER
LICENSE
TEAM
1
 Alex Fontana
 SUI
ART Grand Prix
2
 Marvin Kirchhofer
 GER
ART Grand Prix 
3
 Dino Zamparelli
 GBR
 ART Grand Prix
4
 Robert Visoiu
 ROU
 Arden International
5
 Patric Niederhauser
 SUI
 Arden International
6
 Jann Mardenborough
 GBR
 Arden International
7
 Carmen Jorda
 ESP
 Koiranen GP
8
 Jimmy Eriksson
 SWE
 Koiranen GP
9
 Santiago Urrutia
 SWE
 Koiranen GP
10
 Alex Lynn
 GBR
 Carlin
11
 Emil Bernstorff
 GBR
 Carlin
12
 Luis Sa Silva
 MAC
 Carlin
14
 Patrick Kujala
 FIN
 Marussia Manor Racing
15
 Ryan Cullen
 GBR
 Marussia Manor Racing
16
 Dean Stoneman
 GBR
 Marussia Manor Racing
20
 Pal Varhaug
 NOR
 Jenzer Motorsport
21
 Melville McKee
GBR
 Jenzer Motorsport
22
 Adderly Fong
CHN
 Jenzer Motorsport
23
 Victor Carbone
 BRA
 Trident
24
 Roman De Beer
 RSA
 Trident
25
 Nelson Mason
CAN
 Trident
26
 Nick Yelloly
 GBR
 Status Grand Prix
27
 Richie Stanaway
NZL
 Status Grand Prix
28
 Alfonso Celis Jr
 MEX
 Status Grand Prix

 

malaysia-09

Formula 1


malaysia-09

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW DRIVER QUOTES–

Daniel Ricciardo: Despite the eventual outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance in the race and throughout the weekend. Obviously it would be nice to get the 18 points, but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling. I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia. One thing you have to take into account there is the heat. I first drove at Sepang when I was 16 in a four-day Formula BMW test and you couldn’t really say I was prepared for it! ! Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you. I was drinking six litres of fluid a day and I still suffered. It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races. If you’re not correctly prepared then the last 20 laps of a grand prix will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages. And so you train, train and train! The race is back to back with Bahrain. I’m not certain what effect two weeks of pre-season testing there is going to have when we race there. Everyone’s had a bit of a chance to get their set-up dialled in, so that may bring the field closer together. The circuit isn’t one of my favourites, as you can’t get a brilliant flow there, but there are a couple of technical turns to put us drivers and the cars through our paces. The RB10 surprised us in Australia by being more competitive than we thought in the dry and the wet, so let’s see what the next two races brings

Sebastian Vettel: We still have a lot of work to do with the car but it was encouraging to see that our pace was better than expected in Australia – hopefully we can build on that and start collecting some strong points in the next two races. Next stop is Kuala Lumpur, which I like as a city. Downtown can sometimes seem sterile, but then you turn a corner and the streets burst into life with the night markets. Whenever I have time I try to go there and see what they have to offer. Looking to the track, the two overtaking possibilities are the first corner and before the last corner, which in both cases is after a long straight; my favourite corners are five and six. Beside the challenge of the circuit, you have to cope with the tropical heat. We can be driving in humidity of up to 90%, while big thunderstorms in the afternoon are not uncommon. From there we go to Bahrain, where we’ve recently been for winter testing, so it will feel quite familiar and after the high humidity in Malaysia it will be nice to go to dry heat. Because the circuit is in the middle of the desert, sand can be blown up in the wind on to the racing line. The circuit has a nice combination of fast, slow and medium corners and is pretty technical to drive. I also like the rosewater they have instead of champagne!

Romain Grosjean – Heat, humidity and the usual rain storms 

Although clearly not happy with the frustrations of getting his race car where he wants it to be in the shortest possible time, Romain Grosjean is quick to see the positives and potential as Lotus F1 Team heads to the second race of the 2014 season in Sepang, Malaysia, this weekend.

What will be the main challenges at Sepang?

The first challenge in Malaysia will be the heat, humidity and usual rain storms at 4pm! For us as a team, the target is to move forwards and improve. The race in Melbourne was basically a good, long test. It wasn’t easy for the guys but I’m happy we did a lot of laps in the race. We gathered some useful data and we will now improve using that data. The aim now is to have a straightforward weekend at Sepang, working through our proper schedule in free practice, then carrying the benefits from that over to qualifying and the race. Sepang is one of my favourite circuits and I’m looking forward to it.

There was a big step up on race day in Australia. Does that give you faith that more progress could follow?

Whenever we solve a problem we make a big step forward, whether it is with set-up, the engine or any other developments. We’ve seen this happen with other teams too. We are feeling greedy at the moment. We want to keep making big progress like in Australia, not just one or two tenths, but big chunks of time and of course better reliability. We’ll prioritise and work as hard as we can to achieve that. The mechanics definitely deserved a rest after Australia though. They worked long hours all weekend and still did some of the fastest pit stops in the race. The guys were excellent and with a work ethic like that there is no reason why we won’t get on top of this car soon and exploit the huge potential of the E22.

How different is the driving experience in a Grand Prix now after the technical changes?

It is not quite as pleasant as before to be honest. There is a lot of energy recovery to deal with and optimise. You cannot drive most of the Grand Prix at 90 per cent as before, sometimes now it is only 30 per cent. We just have to get used to it. When you win you love it and when you retire, you don’t. At the moment it feels a little frustrating as a driver but these are the rules, we will adapt and make the best of them.

We saw quite a bit of drama in Australia, how do you think the season will progress?

It will not be easy for anyone. We have seen some of the favourites going out or having problems and others that we were not expecting to be up there make an impression. It’s a bit unpredictable at the moment and not easy to know where everyone stands. I think Mercedes is looking good, as is McLaren. Our task is to get up there and amongst them.

What did you learn in Australia?

That we still have a lot of work to do! Other than the early finish, the Australian Grand Prix was positive. We learned more about the car in 44 racing laps than during the whole of winter testing! The team has done so much work and each of the changes have been in the right direction. It was looking good in the race and then we had the same problem as Pastor: the MGU-K shaft. But at least there is no mystery about what happened and we are working with Renault Sport F1 to solve the problem.

Overall we are happy with the chassis, the aero balance for the changing fuel load, the driveability of the engine and the fuel economy. Of course there is work to do with energy management and recovery and we know Renault Sport F1 is responding to this. On our side we know more about the set-up and the direction we must go in order to make the car better. Braking for example was not perfect, but that is also to do with the tyres. The new tyres are really hard and their handling characteristics have changed. We are not getting the best out of them yet, but we will. There are plenty of areas for us to play with, but we now have a clear base set-up for Malaysia.

Pastor Maldonado – Whatever it takes 

With his Lotus F1 Team Grand Prix debut completed, Pastor Maldonado looks forward to the challenge of one of the toughest races of the season.

What are your thoughts looking to Sepang?

Sepang is a good track and I really like the challenges it presents us with. It’s very interesting from the car point of view, especially the aerodynamics, but also the tyres because the asphalt is very aggressive. Hopefully this event will go more smoothly for us compared with Australia. We know we need to work very hard to achieve our aims and objectives for the E22. We know where our main focus lies and as a team we are determined to get there.

The weather can be quite interesting at Sepang…

We know the weather at Sepang can change a lot; in fact it is usually either extreme heat or extreme rain, so very tropical and we’ll need to be ready for everything. Also the extreme temperatures are hard on the cars in terms of reliability and from the driving point of view it is quite stressful as well. All round, I would say Sepang is one of the toughest races of the year. We’ll need to be strong in all areas.

How much were you able to learn from your laps in Australia?

A lot. It was the longest stint I’ve done so far and that’s very important for the engineers who can now work through the data and find improvements. Naturally, our immediate priority is to finish the races, but in Formula 1 you never stop searching for more pace as well.

There was a lot of progress made during the Australian Grand Prix. Does that give you faith more progress will follow?

Yes, the whole weekend was pretty incredible. To be honest I’ve never seen anything like it. We started nowhere and we kept on having problems. With these cars, even little problems can take a very long time to fix. Some of the problems are very difficult to diagnose as they are electronic or software related. These all require so much time and focus. The efforts put in by everyone at Lotus F1 Team were amazing. Especially from the mechanics at the track, who worked all day and night, more than 24 hours straight, then still did really fast pit stops in the race. It was inspiring and makes me very proud to be part of this team. The season has not started the way we want, but I know everyone is working tremendously hard to ensure we get the team back to the top end of the grid.

What were the positives after Albert Park?

We made clear improvements during the weekend. The team has shown it is ready to do whatever it takes. This is good because my philosophy to racing is the same and I will do whatever it takes as well. Now we can go through the data and improve step-by-step. It is a long season and we need to be positive because we saw one Renault-engined car finish on the podium after the race. So we know our engine can fight for the podium and now we need to work harder than the other teams. This gives us a lot of motivation going forward. Australia was obviously a very disappointing weekend, but if you look at the positives we did more laps than in the pre-season which is quite encouraging as we have more data which is very important for making progress. We had a very negative free practice but we did plenty of laps during the race which is very constructive for the team. It shows that we’ll keep pushing and the hard work will eventually pay off.

What about the car itself?

The E22 has a lot of potential and is feeling better to drive every time we go out. We’ve had a lot of initial issues with the car, but this has been the same up and down the pit lane. I’m impressed every time I look at the packaging of the car and I know that the work going on at Enstone and with Renault Sport F1 will make the E22 into a podium contender very soon indeed.

Nico Hulkenberg: Looking back on Melbourne, did the weekend unfold as you expected?

“I tried to be open-minded going into the race and in reality it was all quite straightforward. It almost felt like a normal race from last year with no major surprises. There were no concerns for us with the fuel management, which was helped by the extra parade lap and the early safety car, and we ran reliably during all the sessions, which is a big positive to take forward.”
 
Now that we’ve had a race weekend, how did you find the car to drive?
“Again it’s not too dissimilar to last year. It’s a bit slower because of the regulations and you feel the loss of downforce compared with 2013. Overtaking also seemed to be quite difficult, unless you are following a car that is really struggling. For example, you could see that Fernando [Alonso] couldn’t really make a move on me.”
 
Were the tyres a bigger factor than you expected in Australia?
“We had issues with front left graining in the race, which we didn’t have all weekend. I think it was due to the cooler temperatures and it cost quite a bit of performance in the first two stints on the soft tyre. On the medium it was pretty good.”
 
Based on what you learned in Melbourne, what kind of championship can we expect this year?
“This year we’ll see bigger jumps and changes in the pecking order during the season. There are still some teams that need to sort out their issues and they will probably become stronger. All teams, including us, will have room for improvement and development is going to be very fast.”
 
What can we expect in Malaysia this weekend?
“Malaysia is going to be a tough challenge with totally different track characteristics and higher temperatures, which always leads to higher tyre degradation. It should be a good test of the new cars because it’s much more open than Melbourne with a nice variation of high and low-speed corners, plus two long straights.” 
Sergio Perez: You were unlucky in Melbourne with a first lap puncture. How would you sum things up?
“It was really a shame. We had a good start and a great first few corners, and we were up to tenth place. Then Gutierrez locked his rears and came from nowhere. I actually saw him in my mirrors, but I was already turning into the corner. Once he hit me I was just a passenger; there was not much I could do, I got a puncture and had to pit.”
 
How did your race unfold after that?
“The safety car helped us and we managed to recover some positions. But the main issue of my race was the time spent behind Adrian [Sutil], which cost me a lot. I think the pace was definitely in the car to score more points, but when you have to fight from the back it puts you in a difficult position.”
 
How would you assess the overall competitiveness of the VJM07?
“I think as a team we are moving in the right direction and there were lots of positives to take away from Australia. It was the first race and we, as everyone else on the grid, are still learning a lot about the new car. We have seen some encouraging signs and collected a lot of data that can be put to use for the next few races, starting in Sepang.”
 
What are your expectations for this coming weekend?
“I believe Malaysia can be a very good race for us. Let’s see how we can perform there. I think Melbourne was a more difficult one for us and with a hotter track and more rear tyre degradation for everyone we can be stronger. I’m counting the days to Malaysia to recover what we couldn’t achieve in Australia. I have good memories of this track and I want to build on my previous results there.”
Rio Haryanto quickest on Day 2

F1Weekly podcast # 651


Rio Haryanto quickest on Day 2

Clark and Nasir go over the Australian Grand Prix and both reveal their lack of enthusiasm for the new 2014 F1 cars. And here are the results of day 2 of GP2 testing in Bahrain…

Rio Haryanto quickest on Day 2
 
Indonesian driver sets fastest laptime at Bahrain International Circuit
The second day of testing at Bahrain International Circuit opened this morning under overcast skies and in cooler temperatures. Jolyon Palmer, Takuya Izawa and Stoffel Vandoorne were quick to take to the track, but it was Conor Daly who topped the timesheets on soft Pirelli tyres early into the session. Fellow countryman Alexander Rossi became the first man to dip under 1m41s today, but Daly went even quicker and lapped the track in 1:40.233. It was then Mitch Evans who found some extra pace to break under the 1m40s barrier. His laptime was bettered by Palmer by two hundredths, the Briton clocking in a time of 1:39.854.
A few drops of rain fell over the track, but most of the field opted to put on the softer compounds and it was Rio Haryanto’s time to shine: the Indonesian driver managed to set a blazing laptime of 1:39.129 – three tenths quicker than last year’s pole position. Haryanto’s teammate Rossi went out on track for another attempt at topping the timesheet but ended a hairsbreadth away from the Indonesian. In the final stages, Julian Leal edged Raffaele Marciello out of third. Behind the Italian, Palmer, Evans, Vandoorne, Stéphane Richelmi, Rene Binder and Kimiya Sato rounded out the top ten.
After the lunch break, the temperatures rose and Daniiel De Jong was the early pace setter. He remained top for most of the session as drivers focused on race simulations and pitstop practices. With one hour left on the clock, Daniel Abt went quickest on Hard compounds, but De Jong on Soft Pirelli tyres soon improved on the German’s laptime and regained control of the timesheet.
In the closing stages, laptimes started to tumble down and the fight for the top spot saw Jon Lancaster, Vittorio Ghirelli and Johnny Cecotto successively hit the front, but at the chequered flag, De Jong reclaimed P1 with a 1:40.508 – two tenths quicker than Cecotto (also on Soft compounds). Leal was able to find some extra pace on Hard Pirelli tyres to move up to third in the dying minutes ahead of Ghirelli, Lancaster, Simon Trummer, Facu Regalia, Abt, Felipe Nasr and Arthur Pic.
The final day of pre-season testing will start again at 9am local time.
Morning results
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:39.129
32
2.
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:39.173
31
3.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:39.538
22
4.
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
1:39.704
33
5.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
1:39.854
31
6.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIA TIME
1:39.870
15
7.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:39.913
32
8.
Stephane Richelmi
DAMS
1:40.045
29
9.
Rene Binder
Arden International
1:40.126
15
10.
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
1:40.154
25
11.
Nathanael Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:40.190
18
12.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:40.191
18
13.
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:40.233
10
14.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Rapax
1:40.250
19
15.
Andre Negrao
Arden International
1:40.314
19
16.
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
1:40.678
30
17.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:40.786
26
18.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:40.840
24
19.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
1:40.842
15
20.
Vittorio Ghirelli
Trident
1:40.991
25
21.
Daniiel de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:41.041
10
22.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
1:41.106
22
23.
Jon Lancaster
MP Motorsport
1:41.166
40
24.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:41.586
29
25.
Facu Regalia
Hilmer Motorsport
1:43.748
39
26.
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
1:43.796
30
Afternoon results
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Daniiel de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:40.508
19
2.
Johnny Cecotto
Trident
1:40.779
19
3.
Julian Leal
Carlin
1:40.882
21
4.
Vittorio Ghirelli
Trident
1:41.235
14
5.
Jon Lancaster
MP Motorsport
1:41.277
17
6.
Simon Trummer
Rapax
1:41.436
29
7.
Facu Regalia
Hilmer Motorsport
1:41.476
25
8.
Daniel Abt
Hilmer Motorsport
1:41.746
10
9.
Felipe Nasr
Carlin
1:41.998
24
10.
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
1:42.354
38
11.
Rene Binder
Arden International
1:42.393
31
12.
André Negrao
Ardent International
1:43.007
29
13.
Mitch Evans
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:43.839
27
14.
Artem Markelov
RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:43.877
26
15.
Jolyon Palmer
DAMS
1:43.910
32
16.
Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:43.179
32
17.
Conor Daly
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:44.276
31
18.
Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:44.381
24
19.
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
1:44.458
46
20.
Raffaele Marciello
Racing Engineering
1:44.632
17
21.
Stefano Coletti
Racing Engineering
1:44.818
26
22.
Takuya Izawa
ART Grand Prix
1:44.895
46
23.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Rapax
1:45.151
38
24.
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:45.240
33
25.
Kimiya Sato
Campos Racing
1:45.348
33
26.
Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:45.443
35

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Rossi GP2 test 2014

GP2


Rossi GP2 test 2014

ALEXANDER ROSSI LEADS THE WAY IN SAKHIR.
American driver quickest in Day 1 at Bahrain International Circuit
The final GP2 Series pre-season test session opened today at Bahrain International Circuit on a dirty track. There was one change in the drivers’ entry list compared to last week as Vittorio Ghirelli joined Trident in car 22. Pirelli provided every driver with five sets of Hard compounds and two sets of Soft compounds for the three days of testing.
Stoffel Vandoorne was the first driver to feed onto the track as soon as the lights turned green, but it was Jolyon Palmer who set the early pace. The first half of the session was pretty quiet as drivers waited for the track to get cleaner. Kimiya Sato was the first man to set a laptime inside the 1m42s with Daniel De Jong first and then Julian Leal bettering the Japanese’s time to snatch the top spot. Facu Regalia broke the 1m42s barrier along with Mitch Evans, but the Kiwi remained two tenths slower than the Argentine driver. Rio Haryanto found some extra pace to set a laptime of 1:41.400, but Felipe Nasr went even quicker and with one hour left on the clock, the Brazilian sat pretty at the top of the standings. Regalia was on a mission and improved on Nasr’s laptime by five hundredths. Twenty minutes before the end of the session, a red flag briefly halted the proceedings as Takuya Izawa stopped on track. The action resumed but a second red flag happened soon after when Simon Trummer hit the kerb at Turn 10 and stopped on track. In the dying minutes, Arthur Pic moved up to P1, but at the chequered flag it was Daniel Abt who dipped under 1m41s and finished the session at the top, five tenths ahead of Pic. Abt’s teammate Regalia, Nasr, Haryanto, Alexander Rossi, Stéphane Richelmi, Evans, Johnny Cecotto and Jon Lancaster completed the top ten.
The afternoon session saw Palmer taking to the track first, but it was Vandoorne who set the early pace in a 1:41.916. As the clock ticked down, the top spot was claimed successively by Richelmi, Raffaele Marciello and Nasr. Evans became the first man to go under 1m41s and stayed on top of the standings until there were thirty minutes left in the session. Conor Daly went quickest in a 1:40.734, but countryman Rossi was able to go one tenth faster to snatch P1. Abt moved up to P2 just before the session was shortly red flagged. The session was restarted with only ten minutes left on the clock. Evans moved up to P3 on his final attempt and at the chequered flag, Rossi remained the quickest man of the day ahead of Abt and Evans. Behind the trio, Daly, Palmer, Cecotto, Marciello, Ghirelli, Nasr and Vandoorne completed the top ten.
Tomorrow’s session will start at 9am local time.
Morning results
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:40.676
17
2. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:41.192
17
3. Facu Regalia Hilmer Motorsport 1:41.327
15
4. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:41.352
12
5. Rio Haryanto EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.400
13
6. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:41.460
13
7. Stéphane Richelmi DAMS 1:41.631
14
8. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:41.663
16
9. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:41.671
12
10. Jon Lancaster MP Motorsport 1:41.711
12
11. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:41.739
27
12. André Negrao Arden International 1:41.849
15
13.
Julian Leal Carlin 1:41.986
15
14. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:41.995
15
15. Nathanaël Berthon Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:42.122
17
16. Simon Trummer Rapax 1:42.189
13
17. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:42.231
17
18. Rene Binder Arden International 1:42.286
14
19. Daniiel de Jong MP Motorsport 1:42.348
15
20.
Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:42.375
18
21. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering 1:42.405
6
22. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax 1:42.600
12
23. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:42.614
19
24. Vittorio Ghirelli Trident
1:43.294
14
25. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix
2:05.004
34
26. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix
2:08.207
32
Afternoon results
Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Alexander Rossi EQ8 Caterham Racing 1:40.604
30
2. Daniel Abt Hilmer Motorsport 1:40.616
26
3. Mitch Evans RT RUSSIAN TIME 1:40.680
25
4. Conor Daly Venezuela GP Lazarus 1:40.734
20
5. Jolyon Palmer DAMS 1:40.769
23
6. Johnny Cecotto Trident 1:40.829
13
7. Raffaele Marciello Racing Engineering 1:40.932
25
8. Vittorio Ghirelli
Trident
1:40.976
21
9. Felipe Nasr Carlin 1:41.022
23
10. Stoffel Vandoorne ART Grand Prix 1:41.041
28
11.
Jon Lancaster MP Motorsport 1:41.045
22
12. Nathanaël Berthon
Venezuela GP Lazarus
1:41.065
21
13. Facu Regalia
Hilmer Motorsport
1:41.131
28
14. Julian Leal
Carlin
1:41.195
17
15. Rio Haryanto
EQ8 Caterham Racing
1:41.275
23
16. Stéphane Richelmi
DAMS
1:41.359
23
17. Arthur Pic Campos Racing 1:41.368
21
18. Stefano Coletti Racing Engineering
1:41.394
23
19. Rene Binder Arden International
1:41.426
21
20. André Negrao Arden International
1:41.438
18
21. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs Rapax
1:41.548
23
22. Simon Trummer Rapax
1:41.709
18
23. Artem Markelov RT RUSSIAN TIME
1:41.726
25
24. Takuya Izawa ART Grand Prix 1:42.013
29
25. Kimiya Sato Campos Racing 1:42.204
23
26. Daniiel De Jong MP Motorsport
1:42.282
19
The huge 2014 grid lines up for the Season Launch at Donington Park

BTCC


The huge 2014 grid lines up for the Season Launch at Donington Park
The huge 2014 grid lines up for the Season Launch at Donington Park

BTCC confirms huge grid for 2014 season

Seven champions spearhead impressive racing line-up

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship has today (18 March) confirmed a huge 31-car grid for the forthcoming 2014 season. Announced at its annual Season Launch at Donington Park, all BTCC machines will run to NGTC (Next Generation Touring Car) specifications for the very first time.

Allocation of the newly introduced TOCA BTCC licences (TBLs), required for teams in order to guarantee participation for the next three seasons, has exceeded the original allowance of 30, with TOCA approving 31 entries for the new season. All TBL holders are obliged to contest every round while TOCA has retained one final TBL, which it may loan to a suitable entry at any stage during the year.

As noted above, the entry list is completely made up of NGTC cars, which completes the planned final transition to the new specification machines since the introduction of the regulations in 2011. Not only does this year’s grid boast incredible strength in numbers, but the NGTC rules have also significantly aided the diversity of cars now seen on the entry list. 14 models from 11 different manufacturers will be represented in 2014, with the total number of cars on-track expected to be the largest in the series’ 2-litre history.

Adding to the impressive numbers and variety in the 2014 line-up, a quality field has also been further enhanced with seven champions making the grid, and a further five drivers having already won BTCC races.

Stability and longevity among its partners and sponsors also remains a key asset to the BTCC with all of its major ongoing commercial partners cemented for multi-year deals. For example, Dunlop has extended its title sponsorship and tyre supply term and ITV will continue to broadcast live coverage of every event until at least the end of the 2016 season. The Haymarket Consumer Media group has also joined the BTCC’s family of partners after inking a three-year deal to provide extensive and in-depth BTCC content across all of its major publications, with Autocar, WhatCar? and PistonHeads.com at the forefront of the agreement.

This year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will again comprise of 30 races across ten events at nine venues around the UK, with the season commencing at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March and concluding on the legendary Grand Prix circuit at the same venue on 10/11 October.

Magnificent Seven

The BTCC field will include an unprecedented seven champions in its ranks, headed by reigning supremo Andrew Jordan who took his maiden title during an unforgettable 2013 season. Jordan fended off four former champions last season and the 24-year-old will defend his title in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.

2012 champ Gordon Shedden fell short of retaining the crown by just seven points last season. The Scotsman and his three-time champion team-mate Matt Neal both remain with Honda Yuasa Racing in 2014, but the duo will be piloting the all-new Civic Tourer model.

Jason Plato has won more BTCC races than any other driver in history and despite the MG driver coming close in 2013, he has just one goal for the year ahead: to win a hat-trick of championships.

Colin Turkington returned to the BTCC in 2013 after a three-year hiatus and produced a stunning effort. The Ulsterman remained in title contention until the final day of the campaign, despite his BMW 125i M Sport only breaking cover on the eve of the season. His eBay Motors squad has a year with the car under its belt and a strong pre-season behind them, so Turkington is confident of contending again.

The two biggest announcements in the off-season proved to be the return of two double-champions in Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi. Menu, a legend of the much loved Super Touring-era will be driving a VW Passat for Team BMR this time around, whilst Giovanardi will be spearheading the challenge from Airwaves Racing.

Variety is the spice of life

The NGTC rules were first introduced in 2011 with the intention to provide greater competition at a reduced cost. The plan was to phase in the new specification cars into the series over a three-year period and that programme is now complete with all cars running to NGTC spec.

The BTCC has one of the most varied grids of any major motor sport championship in the world, with some 14 models from 11 different marques making up the class of 2014.

Official manufacturer entries from Honda Yuasa Racing and MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save are joined by a host of other independent teams entering cars from Audi (AlcoSense Breathalysers Racing, Exocet Racing, Rotek Racing), BMW (eBay Motors), Chevrolet (Laser Tools Racing, Power Maxed Racing), Ford (Airwaves Racing, AmD Tuning.com, Crabbie’s Racing), Honda (Pirtek Racing), Mercedes (WIX Racing), MG (Quantel BiFold Racing), Proton (STP Racing with Sopp + Sopp), Toyota (Handy Motorsport, Houseman Racing, United Autosports, Speedworks), Vauxhall (RCIB Insurance Racing) and Volkswagen (Chrome Edition Restart Racing).

Dunlop extensions and enhancements

The Goodyear Dunlop group has provided title sponsorship and official tyre supplier to the BTCC for a decade, and has further extended its partnership in both areas during the off-season.

The new multi-year deal continues Dunlop’s association with the series since its inception in 1958.

Such a strong partnership does not mean a simple continuation of service, however, as Dunlop continue to develop tyre technology in the BTCC. This year will see the introduction of an all-new compound across all of its Sport Maxx range, which is based on a new construction to offer improved driver feedback and confidence.

As per 2013, every driver will have to nominate one of the three races on each weekend (except Thruxton) in which to run the soft compound instead of the medium construction.

In a new development Dunlop will now reveal each driver’s tyre choice via its social media feeds at 10am on race days, whereas previously spectators and competitors would not find out until the cars had reached the grid. In a joint decision with TOCA, it’s believed that this introduction will provide fans with yet more talking points ahead of the action.

Lights, Camera, Action

ITV will continue to screen around seven hours of live free-to-air coverage from each event on both its ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels as well as the itv.com website. Adding to the coverage are 60-minute edited race highlights repeated three times after each event on ITV and ITV4 as well as their respective HD channels and ‘simulcast’ on itv.com. In total more than 230 hours of the BTCC will be broadcast across the ITV network each season until at least 2017.

Commentators David Addison and Tim Harvey have signed new three-year deals with the broadcaster, as have presenters Steve Rider and Louise Goodman.

The BTCC will also enjoy greater coverage in major print and online publications thanks to its new media partnership with Haymarket.

Autocar, What Car? and PistonHeads logos will feature on the BTCC cars throughout the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons, as well as on official interview and podium backdrops, as the group provides extensive coverage of Britain’s premier motor sport series.

BTCC Series Director Alan Gow said: “Our huge entry list is a clear demonstration of the success of the championship and the NGTC regulations. 31 cars on the grid is a modern-day BTCC record and the quality of the field, including seven champions, is also at a real high. That calibre of driver wouldn’t be here if they didn’t see that the championship is in rude health, but we also have to remember that many of those have the BTCC to thank for making them household names in the first place.

“The long-term value of the NGTC cars, as well as our new TBL system, is also proven. Adam Morgan’s Mercedes for example is made up mainly of internal parts that came from his car last season, whilst Lea Wood will now be using the Toyota shell previously raced by Morgan. This car and its parts originated from one of the first NGTC machines used in 2011, which is testament to the way the rules have allowed some teams to join the championship that wouldn’t have been able to previously. Such has been the success in fact that from this point onwards the term NGTC will no longer be a factor in the BTCC, because the next generation of touring cars are here now.

“Our major partnerships have either been renewed or consolidated over the off-season too. Dunlop has recommitted for a further multi-year term and ITV has re-signed its BTCC commentary and presenter team until at least 2017. The TV audiences and trackside audiences continue to grow, which is yet more evidence why the BTCC is Britain’s biggest and most successful series.

“I have no doubt that 2014 will prove to be one of the most exciting and competitive season’s in the illustrious history of the BTCC.”

Australian GP 2014

THE POINT… BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI


Australian GP 2014

In Melbourne it happened just the opposite of what we could expect. In fifteen days, Formula 1 has been capable to overturn any kind of forecast.

We saw a podium made of three pilots belonging to as many teams: Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren. The only confirmation came just from Mercedes – as a team and engine manufacturer – which affirmed itself to the top.

The W05 of Hamilton and Rosberg confirmed the supremacy both in the single qualifying lap and in the long run, and – much to the benefit of the others – with some reliability lacks. Otherwise they would have scored a double-declutch.

Great comeback for Red Bull, which reveals as the car with the best aerodynamic downforce, even if it suffers the handicap related to the Renault power-unit. Jenson Button’s words during the first tests in Bahrain have been validated by facts. Once the engine issues are overcome, it will be hard to hold them back. On the other hand, the World Champion Sebastian Vettel was let down by that control unit that was able to make the difference just last year.

A rebirth for Mclaren, which perhaps has found in Kevin Magnussen the new Hamilton, with a podium on the day of his debut and a fourth place for Button. A hint of bad luck kept Williams away from a good result: at the green lights Felipe Massa was hit from Kobayashi, at his return in F1, whereas Bottas made a mistake probably caused by an excessive strength in transmitting the power to the road.

Toro Rosso deserves to be praised, as they were able to have both cars scoring points. A great result, if we consider that it sprang not from others’ faults but, on the contrary, has been well achieved on the race track.  Good performance also for Force India with Hulkenberg, a little worse with Perez: Nico is a great pilot, no doubt.

Now it can be useful to analyse the lap times to have a better understanding of the real gap separating the teams’ performance.  Rosberg’s Mercedes has been steadily around 1’32’’-1’33’’ low, whereas all other pilots drove around 1’34’’. Just towards the end Fernando Alonso (fifth at finish) drove around 1’32’’ low, getting close to the fastest race lap set by Rosberg (1’32’’478). Surely an encouraging result, even though a correct interpretation is not straightforward: we should know the data about fuel consumption and strategies too. In the current season the learning curve of teams will be very high: therefore, after each race, we can expect substantial evolutions and important adjustments.

Even Lotus, after closing the first race of the season with two retirements, has been able to gain an experience thanks to the number of driven kilometres during the whole week-end, gathering important data to investigate and find a solution to the problems annoying the transalpine power-unit and the E22.

Mercedes plays the fox of the race, while Ferrari, both as car and engine, is the second force. When RB fully exploits the Renault power, it will be hard to keep the pace. The season kick-start has proved how hard is the dialogue of the 15 control units, but the progresses of the teams with a Renault engine show that these operations can be done indoor as well. The Gap can thus be reduced. Important note: this analysis has been done straight after the finish of the race

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast