FORMULA E

RENAULT E.DAMS WIN MARRAKESH EPRIX

Renault e.dams win Marrakesh ePrix

Renault e.dams has won the second race of season three of the FIA Formula E Championship with a robust run up the order from Sébastien Buemi from seventh on the grid in the Marrakesh ePrix. Séb had qualified second at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, only to be given a five-place grid penalty due to an issue with his car’s fire extinguisher, but team strategy allied to efficient energy deployment and exemplary driving saw Séb’s eighth career Formula E win.

Nico Prost drove a strong and mature race too, translating his sixth-position on the grid to P4 at the chequered flag. Nico had earlier been drawn in the first qualifying group and was unlucky to miss out on the final Superpole shoot-out.

Renault e.dams leaves Marrakesh with 74 points in the Championship, ahead of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport and Mahindra Racing who both have 36 points. Sébastian has 50 points in the Drivers’ Championship with his nearest rival, Lucas di Grassi, on 28. Nico Prost is in third position with 24 points.

Renault e.dams, Sébastien and Nico will next be seen in action for the third round of season three, the Buenos Aires ePrix on the Circuito de Puerto Madero in Argentina on February 18, 2017.

#9 Séb:

“My cars were amazing today and the balance was really good. In my first lap I used a bit too much energy but after that we were able to save charge so we could be strong and push when we needed later in the stint, and this really worked for us. We know we have an efficient car and we had to take advantage of that after we started further back on the grid than we wanted. I was able to extract everything I needed from the car and it shows the team is working really well, so it’s been a very positive start to the season.”

#8 Nico:

“I am happy about my race but a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to qualify higher. I showed good pace in practice but Q1 is the most difficult qualifying session to deliver in, even if it was very close to Superpole. I consumed a little bit too much energy in my out-lap, which meant I had to save a little bit in my first stint of the race. Nevertheless, I was able to overtake Daniel Abt and push strongly. Certainly, I would have preferred to have finished on the podium here – and in Hong Kong – but the most important thing is scoring points.”

FORMULA 1

HAAS F1 TEAM, THE FIRST AMERICAN FORMULA ONE TEAM IN 30 YEARS, HAS SIGNED KEVIN MAGNUSSEN TO DRIVE ALONGSIDE VETERAN PILOT ROMAIN GROSJEAN BEGINNING WITH THE 2017 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

Magnussen, the 24-year-old from Roskilde, Denmark, comes to Haas F1 Team with two years of Formula One experience – one with McLaren in 2014 and one with Renault in 2016. Magnussen finished an impressive second in his Formula One debut at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. He has scored 62 points in 38 grand prix starts leading into Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

“From the time we began looking at drivers, Kevin Magnussen was always on our short list,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1 Team. “He’s accomplished a lot in a very short period of time, and we feel like he can accomplish a lot with us. Our second season will bring a new set of challenges, and we feel that pairing Kevin with Romain will help us develop our new car and continue our growth.

“I want to thank Esteban Gutiérrez for all of his efforts. He’s been an instrumental part of our first year in Formula One and we’re looking forward to finishing the season strong with him and Romain.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m very happy to be a part of Haas F1 Team,” Magnussen said. “Obviously, I’m confident in my abilities as a Formula One driver, but I’m also very confident of what Haas F1 Team can do in its second season and every season thereafter. Gene Haas has come into Formula One with a strong vision and a different way of doing things. He’s making it work and work well. I’ve had a good vantage point all season long, and I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of next year’s Haas VF-17.”

Grosjean joined Haas F1 Team in 2016 after spending five Formula One seasons with Lotus F1 Team. The 30-year-old has competed in 101 Formula One races and earned 10 podium finishes and a total of 316 points. He has scored all 29 points for Haas F1 Team to position the outfit eighth in the constructor standings with two races remaining in its debut season.

“A little more than a year ago I made my decision to join Haas F1 Team and it was absolutely the right decision,” Grosjean said. “I’m very proud to be a part of the team’s development and am very happy we can continue to grow and achieve more success in the years ahead.”

“We wanted an experienced driver capable of developing our car and our race team into one that can score points and better itself each race and each season. Romain has done a very good job of that and he’s played a large role in bringing respect and legitimacy to Haas F1 Team,” Haas said. “We have a new set of challenges next year with a new car and a new set of regulations, and his veteran leadership will again prove valuable.”

“As a brand new team with a new car and new personnel, it was incredibly important to have detailed, authoritative feedback of our racecar and our methods so that we could improve. Romain brought a lot of experience to our team and has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today,” added Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “Credit also goes to Esteban Gutiérrez for all of his work. His time with Ferrari was very beneficial as it helped get us acquainted with its methodologies and make the most of our partnership with them. He and Romain pushed each other on the track and together they’re responsible for the success we’ve had in our first season.”

 

FORMULA RENAULT 2.0

NINE TEAMS SELECTED FOR THE 2017 EUROCUP FORMULA RENAULT 2.0 SEASON

The category of reference in the detection of motor racing hopefuls for the past 45 years, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 has chosen nine of the best single-seater teams to participate in the 2017 season.

The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 organizing committee has selected nine teams for 2017. Among them are six that took part in 2016, including back-to-back defending champion Josef Kaufmann Racing. Tech 1 Racing, R-ace GP, AVF by Adrián Vallés, Fortec Motorsports and JD Motorsport will all try to wrest the crown away.

Three teams will join or return to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0: Arden Motorsport, MP Motorsport and Mark Burdett Motorsport. Arden Motorsport will make its debut in the category. MP Motorsports was a stalwart from 2008 to 2015 while Mark Burdett Motorsport has competed in Formula Renault since 2000.

Created in 1971, the category brings together the most promising drivers of their generation to ten of Europe’s best circuits, including Monaco. At the end of the campaign, two drivers, including the season’s champion join the Renault Sport Academy to prepare for the next step in their racing career thanks to the tools provided by Renault Sport Formula One Team.

Teams selected for 2017 :
Arden Motorsport (GBR)
AVF by Adrián Vallés (ESP)
Fortec Motorsports (GBR)
JD Motorsport (ITA)
Josef Kaufmann Racing (GER)
Mark Burdett Motorsport (GBR)
MP Motorsport (NED)
R-ace GP (FRA)
Tech 1 Racing (FRA)

FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING BRAZILIAN  GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

AUTÓDROMO JOSÉ CARLOS PACE
ROUND 20 OF 21
It may be one of the shortest tracks on the Formula One calendar, but the 4.3km Autódromo José Carlos Pace presents a number of challenges to teams. It combines a long sweeping start/finish straight with a tricky infield section, so choosing the right setup compromise is paramount. The high altitude (800m) leaves the power units feeling breathless, whilst the bumps and undulations keep the drivers on their toes. The Brazilian crowd always gives their countrymen a raucous reception, especially Felipe, who will be chasing a sixth podium at his home race, and the penultimate grand prix of his Formula One career.
For Brazil, Pirelli have made available the hard, medium and soft tyres.
Pat Symonds
We are expecting very poor weather in the lead up to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend with a chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday. We are hoping it will be dry, however we could see a situation similar to 2013 when the first real dry running we had was on race day. Interestingly, Pirelli have gone one step harder than last year, as opposed to going a step softer as normally happens, so we have the hard, medium and soft compounds available; the first time we’ve had that combination since 2013. Generally, we expect a two-stop race irrespective of tyre choice. In qualifying the laptime is very low, probably approaching 70 seconds this year, and so this leads to a very close grid where hundredths of a second really count. As a circuit it is quite sensitive to mechanical grip, more so even than downforce, although good aerodynamic performance counts in the middle sector. Whilst straight-line speed is important for overtaking, the preferred pass into turn one comes largely from getting a good exit from turn twelve.
Valtteri Bottas
First of all, I think this is going to be such a cool race for Felipe as he is retiring and it’s going to be his last home race. I hope we can do well there and that he enjoys the weekend. Last year we did a good race and picked up some decent points. Brazilian fans are also always really passionate about Formula One. There is a nice combination of different types of corners on the track and it’s quite technical. The new tarmac that was laid there a couple of years ago has made it very grippy since, so I really enjoy racing at this track.
Felipe Massa
Interlagos is home. It’s the place that I grew up. It will be emotional racing there for the final time on such an amazing track. I’m looking forward to enjoying every single lap and hopefully I can manage to finish the race with a good result. I have won twice at Interlagos and have finished on the podium many times over the years and I hope we can get another one. It won’t be easy, but I will do everything I can for my people and for Brazil in my last race at home.

WEC

ALPINE HITS THE HEIGHTS WITH THE LMP2 CATEGORY WORLD TITLE!

Alpine hits the heights with the LMP2 category world title!
  • One round before the end of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Signatech-Alpine won the LMP2 Teams’ title, whilst Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes secured the Drivers’ crown*.
  • After four race wins and two other podium-finishes, the no.36 crew secured fourth place at the end of the 6 Hours of Shanghai.
  • Competing alongside Paul-Loup Chatin in the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine, Chinese drivers David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung finished their home race in eighth position.

Rounding off an exceptional season that saw the team win four races – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Signatech-Alpine claimed the LMP2 Category Teams’ and Drivers titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship*.

As emphasized by Michael Van der Sande, Managing Director of Alpine, “securing this world title on the track is a fantastic boost for the teams working on the production model, which is due to go on sale next year.”

Indeed, the brand’s return to racing has been very closely linked to the renaissance of Alpine. In 2013, when the Renault Group announced that intended to design a Berlinette for the 21st century, the Signatech-Alpine entered the European Le Mans Series to support this renewal.

This programme echoed the past successes of Alpine in Endurance racing, notably winning the European Two-litre Sports Car Championship for Makes in 1974 and the victory of Pironi/Jaussaud’s A442B at the 24 Hours of La Mans in 1978.

After two seasons full of panache, which saw Alpine claim two European titles, the team decided to fly the flag for France on the world stage as it entered the FIA WEC. The 2015 season, essentially focused on learning about racing at this level, nonetheless saw the Alpine A450b win its first race at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

This year, the team’s ambitions were raised a notch with the entry of two new Alpine A460s: in addition to the no.36, the number assigned to Signatech-Alpine since 2013, the second car was entered on behalf of Baxi DC Racing Alpine.

After winning races at Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, the Nürburgring and Austin, Alpine had a chance of securing the title this weekend at the 6 Hours of Shanghai.

In qualifying, Nicolas Lapierre and Gustavo Menezes finished second in their no.36 Signatech-Alpine. David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung were tenth in the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine.

The race got off a dramatic start, with some enthusiastic racing on display at the opening corner. Whilst Nicolas Lapierre grabbed the early lead in the LMP2 class, Ho-Pin Tung only just managed to avoid a collision right in front of him!

In an attempt to save his tyres in the extremely hot conditions, Nicolas made no attempt to hold off Alex Brundle (no.26), who took over as leader after half an hour of the race.

Shortly before the end of his second stint, Ho-Pin Tung was hit by a GT at the end of the long start-finish straight. The Baxi DC Racing driver came into the pits immediately and the team changed the no.35 Alpine A460’s front hood. Paul-Loup Chatin took over behind the wheel, whilst Gustavo Menezes replaced Nicolas Lapierre in the no.36. Both cars were racing on hard rubber, replacing the medium compound tyres used since the start.

Whilst running in third, Gustavo Menezes was shunted into a spin by Bruno Senna (no.43). Fortunately, the Signatech-Alpine car did not suffer any damage and was able to continue racing, whilst its title rival was handed a penalty.

Following Stéphane Richelmi’s double stint, Nicolas Lapierre took over behind the wheel with 1 hr 30 mins to go. Unable to challenge for the race win, the Frenchman matched the pace of the no.43 car. He was cheered across the finishing line in fourth position by the entire team, gathered along the pit wall! The celebrations were shared by the Baxi DC Racing Alpine crew. Ho-Pin Tung, who had taken over from David Cheng, ended his home race in eighth place.

In four seasons, Alpine has quickly beaten a path to the top of the podium. This French success story shows the capacity of Alpine to take on challenges, both on the track and on the road. In a few months’ time, the unveiling of a modern, elegant sports coupé built in France will be another important step in the renewal of the brand. Alpine is back… and this is just the start!

F1WEEKLY PODCAST # 714

CLARK AND NASIR DO THE MEXICAN HAT DANCE AROUND THE LAST TWO GRAND PRIX, NASIR WITH A FULL REPORT FROM THE US GRAND PRIX AND THE HOST STILL HOLDS OUT HOPE FOR A FERNANDO VICTORY IN 2016. ALSO HERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM FUTURE RENAULT DRIVER NICO HULKENBERG…

Nico: “Definitely not a bad effort today and the best result we could hope for in regular circumstances. I made a great start, but once the pit stops were out of the way, it turned out to be quite a lonely afternoon for me. This allowed me to manage my tyres and my pace. At the end, the battle with Kimi [Raikkonen] was always going to be difficult, because he had a massive tyre advantage over me: I was surprised we could keep him behind for so long. I tried to defend as hard as I could on the inside, but braking on a dirty line with 60-lap-old tyres is quite tricky! He turned in on me and there was no way I could stop the car, so I forced it into a spin to avoid a crash. In the end, it was a good weekend: qualifying was my highlight and we’ve come away with a solid result today. We leave Mexico having strengthened our fourth place in the constructors’ championship, so there is plenty to smile about.

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The Premiere Motorsport Podcast