Tag Archives: Monza


Pierre Gasly tops Day 1 at Yas Marina

DAMS quickest in opening pre-season test day
The 2015 GP2 Series pre-season tests got underway today at the Yas Marina Circuit. Day one of the three day test saw all twenty-six drivers eager to try out the brand new DRS on their cars. When the pitlane went green, Alexander Rossi was the first man out soon followed by the rest of the field for their installation laps on a dirty track and in windy conditions.
The first two hours were studious with teams focusing on aero testing. With one hour left on the clock, the session was suspended for thirty minutes for software adjustments. When it resumed, Jordan King went quickest, but his time was bettered first by Rene Binder and then by Rossi.
In the closing stages, the session was red flagged after Stockinger stopped on track at Turn 5. With eight minutes left on the clock, the track went live again and the cars enjoyed a cleaner track with Rossi topping the timesheet at the chequered flag with a laptime of 1:50.845 ahead of DAMS’ pair Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn.
In the afternoon, Zoel Amberg fed onto the track first, but it was Stoffel Vandoorne who topped the timesheets in the first hour, dipping under 1m50s. Gasly went quicker in a 1:49.760 – 3 hundredths better than the Belgian driver. Halfway through the session, Mitch Evans found some extra pace to clock the circuit in 1:49.598. Rio Haryanto also improved, moving up to P2, but he remained 2 tenths slower than the New Zealander.
There was a red flag period in the final hour after Julian Leal stopped at turn 17. The proceedings resumed with 30 minutes left on the clock. King went top ahead of Sergey Sirotkin, but Gasly went even quicker to snatch P1 with ten minutes remaining with a laptime of 1:49.089. Arthur Pic broke into the 1m48s, but so did Gasly who remained top ahead of the Campos man with a laptime of 1:48.897.
At the chequered flag, Gasly and Pic were P1 and P2 ahead of Trident’s duo of Raffaele Marciello and Binder who moved up to third and fourth respectively in the dying minutes. Sirotkin finished fifth ahead of Evans, Haryanto, Rossi and Lynn.


Honda Racing confirms driver line-up for 2015 BTCC

  • Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal team up for sixth consecutive season at Honda Racing
  • Former BTCC Champions revved up for title battle
  • Consistency a key factor ahead of unpredictable tin-top campaign 

Honda Racing will enter the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with consistency firmly on its side, after confirming an unchanged driver line-up of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.

Renowned for its innovative and creative approach, Honda boasts an impressive track record in the BTCC – the UK’s premier motor sport series – with no fewer than 22 titles to its credit.  Over the 20 years that Honda has been involved in the fiercely competitive series, the constructor has claimed four outright drivers’ crowns and six overall team championships.

With the forthcoming season speeding rapidly into sight, both drivers are champing at the bit to take to the track and show the opposition just what they are capable of – and are confident of celebrating the manufacturer’s 20th birthday in the championship in fine style.

“We’ve shown over the past few seasons that we’re never afraid to push back the boundaries and come up with something different and new that really engages the fans,” underlined 2012 BTCC Champion Shedden, who finished third in the drivers’ standings last year with three victories to his name. “The Civic Tourer was fantastic for us and created history in many ways, and I’m sure what we have planned for this year will generate a bigger buzz still!

“We approach every new season with optimism, and the goal remains the same – to try to win the championship. The priority as ever will be the manufacturers’ championship for Honda, followed by the teams’ title for Team Dynamics – and of course, both Matt and I are keen to get to the last round and still be in with a shout of lifting the drivers’ crown.”

Neal endured a more challenging 2014 campaign, finding himself plagued by ill-fortune and all too often on the receiving end of rivals’ mistakes, but as a three-time title-winner, he knows exactly what it takes to win in the cut-and-thrust of the world’s toughest touring car championship.

“The anticipation surrounding Honda’s new car for 2015 is immense and we can’t wait to show it off,” he enthused. “I’m confident it will be a step forward in every area and a very potent weapon.

“We had a difficult season at times in 2014, but that only gives us renewed motivation to climb back to the top. We still have massive self-belief in our ability to build and run a front-running touring car, and we are ready to put up one hell of a fight!”

“We are delighted to re-confirm ‘Flash’ and Matt for a sixth season at Honda Racing,” added Honda UK Managing Director Philip Crossman. “They have demonstrated time and again that not only are they ultra-committed racers and proven winners – champions, indeed – but also that they are consummate team players.

“Their strong working relationship will be pivotal over the coming months as we seek to reclaim the manufacturers’, teams’ and drivers’ crowns for Honda – and we can’t wait to show off the new car in which they will take to the track in 2015.”

Honda’s 2015 BTCC challenger will be officially unveiled at the championship’s Season Launch at Donington Park on 24 March. The opening three rounds of the season will take place at Brands Hatch in Kent over Easter Weekend (4/5 April).


2015 pre-season GP2 tests start at Yas Marina

First three-day test session opens tomorrow in Abu Dhabi
The opening GP2 Series pre-season test session of the year kicks off tomorrow at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. For three days, teams and drivers will work on the eleventh season of the category which will open on April 17-19 at Sakhir, Bahrain, alongside Formula One.
The new season of the category will see a new challenge as the GP2 cars now carry the DRS – with the same functionality as the one used in Formula One. It will be the first time that the thirteen teams will test it on their machines. The drivers will be able to use it as they please in the two designated DRS zones, both located in sector 2 at the exact same place as the ones used during the F1 Grand Prix held on this track.
This year, the paddock welcomes some new faces mixed with familiar ones. Reigning champions DAMS will count on two promising rookies to help them retain their crown: Red Bull Junior and FR 3.5L Vice Champion Pierre Gasly will be partnered with 2014 GP3 Champion and Williams F1 development driver Alex Lynn. Carlin have kept Julian Leal who pocketed two podium finishes for the British squad in 2014. The Colombian will be teamed up with GP2 race winner and Lotus F1 test driver Marco Sorensen.
Last season’s GP2 Vice Champion and McLaren F1 test driver Stoffel Vandoorne remains at ART Grand Prix together with newcomer and Japanese F3 Champion Nobuharu Matsushita. Racing Engineering have put their faith in GP2 returnee and race winner Alexander Rossi, and rookie Jordan King whilst RUSSIAN TIME have decided to keep the same line up as 2014 with GP2 race winner Mitch Evans and Artem Markelov.
Trident have bet on GP2 race winner Raffaele Marciello and Rene Binder to take them to the top of the standings this year. Also a race winner in GP2, Arthur Pic has decided to stay at Campos for a second season. He will be joined by GP2 podium finisher Rio Haryanto. Daniel De Jong also remains at MP Motorsport for the season. The Dutchman will be partnered with Vittorio Ghirelli for this test session. Two rookies form the Rapax duo as Sergey Sirotkin and GP3 graduate Robert Visoiu move to GP2.
Arden International put their trust in André Negrao for a second season. The young Brazilian will team-up with rookie Norman Nato. Newcomers Status Grand Prix have already confirmed debutant Marlon Stockinger for the season. The Filipino driver will be joined by another rookie, and GP3 race winner Richie Stanaway who will be testing for the Canadian squad at Yas Marina. Sergio Canamasas and Axcil Jefferies will be testing at Hilmer Motorsport this week. Finally, Lazarus will once again line up with Nathanaël Berthon. The Frenchman will be partnered with rookie Zoel Amberg this week.
Pirelli have selected two different compounds for these three days: Medium (Prime) and Super Soft (Option). Each driver will be supplied with five sets of Prime and two sets of Option.
The session will start tomorrow at 09:00 local time and will run until 12:00. After a two hour break, the proceedings will resume until 17:00.
Drivers’ Entry List
Pierre Gasly
Alex Lynn
Julian Leal
Marco Sorensen
Stoffel Vandoorne
ART Grand Prix
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
Alexander Rossi
Racing Engineering
Mitch Evans
Artem Markelov
Raffaele Marciello
Rene Binder
Arthur Pic
Campos Racing
Rio Haryanto
Campos Racing
Vittorio Ghirelli
MP Motorsport
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Sergey Sirotkin
Robert Visoiu
André Negrao
Arden International
Norman Nato
Arden International
Marlon Stockinger
Status Grand Prix
Richie Stanaway
Status Grand Prix
Sergio Canamasas
Hilmer Motorsport
Axcil Jefferies
Hilmer Motorsport
Nathanaël Berthon
Zoel Amberg




Heading into his fourth full season with Lotus F1 Team, Romain Grosjean predicts an exciting and intriguing first race of the year at Albert Park.

The season start is with us already Ð are you ready to go?

I am ready! On the one hand it seems like it was ages since the last race in Abu Dhabi, on the other, it seems like we’ve only just seen the new car and pre-season testing finished so quickly!

What are your thoughts when you think of Albert Park and the first race of the year?

Albert Park is still one of my favourite Grand Prix circuits, so it will be good to get there and get the season started and there’s always a great atmosphere. It’s a fantastic track and the changing scenery as you drive through the park is incredible. Of course it’s a great country and I always enjoy visiting Australia, although as someone who loves their sleep, I still haven’t found the perfect strategy to counter jet-lag!

Is it a challenging venue for the first race?

It is, and not only because of the jet-lag! We know it can be a tricky circuit; it’s not a permanent track so the surface and its layout gives us plenty to think about.

We’re still quite early in our understanding of the E23 and how it works so we’ll be kept busy finding the correct set-up and getting everything working as we want it to. The weather can make things pretty difficult too Ð three years ago we had lots of rain and even had to finish qualifying on Sunday morning! Hopefully the weather will be good this year! You can say that everyone will be in the same position of not knowing what to expect, and with all the car changes I imagine there will be a few surprises! For us the weekend will be maximising the time on track, aiming to finish the race and getting the best result possible.

This will be your fourth full season with the team – what are your goals?

This season will be very much about reminding people how good Lotus F1 Team and Romain Grosjean can be! People have very short memories in Formula 1 and it’s true we had a tough fight for results in 2014 so some people have forgotten the performance we showed in 2013 and 2012. We have a lot more potential for strong results this season so we’ll be pushing to show that at every race, and what better a place or time than at Albert Park?

Where’s your ‘head at’ coming into the season opener?

I’m in a good place. I’ve had a great winter where I’ve been able to spend time with my wife and son. I’ve done plenty of training. I’ve been at the factory and I’ve been out in the new car so everything’s been going well in the pre-season build-up. I head to Australia very eager to jump in the car and get out on track.

How much change do you expect there to be through the field relative to last season?

Certainly for us there is a lot of change! This time last year we were nowhere, so this year is particularly positive. For sure, we still have work to do and our car’s not perfect, but we have a great platform from which to build and I’m sure we’ll have lots of good developments to come with the E23.

The Australian Grand Prix can be quite an eventful race with numerous incidents over the years: how frustrating will it be if things don’t go to plan?

It’s the nature of motorsport that results don’t always go your way, but we’re approaching this race like any other; trying to achieve the very best result we can. It’s one race in twenty, but it’s always nice to start the season with a strong result, let’s hope we can get that in 2015.

Pastor Maldonado 

Starting his second season with the squad, our Venezuelan squeeze readily recognises that 2015 offers great potential for strong results in the E23 Hybrid.

How excited are you heading to Australia?

I’m very excited and I can’t wait to start racing again. We have a new car, it’s a new season, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been before, so we’re all eager to get back to action.

How happy are you with the team’s pre-season preparations?

I’m happy with what we’ve learnt this winter, and it’s a completely different situation from last year. We’re much stronger and better prepared for 2015. We’ve done more than 4500km in testing so it’s interesting what we’ve learnt and we’ll be able to put everything into practice in Australia and with the development of the car.

What are your impressions of the E23 Hybrid?

My feeling is this car is much better that last year’s car and not just in one area but with every aspect of the car. Obviously, it’s been good to work with the Mercedes power unit, but that’s just one part as the whole package is very promising and it looks to have good potential for the rest of the year.

What do you think of Australia?

It’s a great country and Melbourne is a wonderful city. It’s just great. I always love races that are close to the city because you have more people coming and it really feels like you are involved and part of their life for the short time you are there. There are all the benefits of the city to appreciate and the fans really get behind the event. It’s maybe one of the best races of the year.

What are the challenges of Albert Park?

To be honest I love the track. The main challenges are that the track surface changes a lot over the weekend, especially from free practice to qualifying. The drivers and engineers need to try to predict how the track is going to evolve, especially for qualifying as this is crucial for the final position on Sunday. Another challenge is the weather as you never know what it will do Ð even during the course of each day.

Where do you expect Lotus F1 Team to be in the pecking order?

Certainly we’ll be in the fight! We’re working hard to improve and we’ve seen that the reigning champions have set a very high standard with their 2015 car. The difference between them and the rest of the field looks quite big after pre-season testing, but behind them the group is getting more compact. There should be a good mix of Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari and us which should make things interesting.

Should the Australian Grand Prix give a good guide for the rest of the year?

In terms of how the car performs, Albert Park is probably not the best gauge as it’s not a permanent race track and it’s unique in many different ways. Certainly, if we go well there we’ll be happy, but if it doesn’t go to plan then that won’t be the end of the world as it’s one of twenty races and it’s a very distinct circuit.

How much potential is there for development of the E23 from its starting point?

It’s quite exciting as it’s our first season with a new power unit supplier so in some respects we’re starting from zero while others are developing more from where they were last year. Our package is much better than last year’s, but against others we have to wait and see; we won’t know where we stand until after the first few races. We’ll try to develop in every way. It’s interesting with the car feeling have improved as well as engine response. A lot depends on how the first few races go, and then we will make developments for the future. 



Von Ryan Racing will return to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this season with a pair of all-new McLaren 650S GT3s to be driven by Andrew Watson/Ross Wylie and Euan Hankey/Salih Yoluc.

The McLaren GT customer squad, which made several guest appearances in 2013, will contest all seven rounds this year following an intensive winter testing programme.

But perhaps of most interest will be the progress of McLaren Young Driver Programme members Watson and Wylie who, at a combined age of just 42, will be eager to prove their worth against a raft of more experienced drivers.

Wylie is no stranger to the championship having won last season’s GT4 title alongside Jake Giddings at the wheel of a Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage, while 19-year-old Watson finished fourth overall in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup.

Team manager Dave Ryan confirmed both were already up to speed after a busy pre-season.

“I have been very pleased with the rate of progress by Andrew and Ross, and they have both come on as drivers so much already through working closely with my team,” he said. “We are confident they are a strong pairing to contest the British GT Championship, and we are looking forward to working with them this season. It is also a true test of the new McLaren 650S GT3 which has shown some real potential in testing.”

McLaren GT Managing Director Andrew Kirkaldy expects the pair to be competitive from the start.

“Andrew and Ross have shown themselves to be extremely professional and motivated since joining the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme,” he said. “The British GT championship has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive national GT series in Europe, and it will be a steep learning curve for them both, but I am confident that they will be a formidable pairing from the first outing in a couple of weeks. They will be working closely with [factory driver] Rob Bell throughout the season, and have access to extensive motorsport knowledge and expertise throughout the Von Ryan Racing team, not least from Dave Ryan, so they will learn a lot just from being around such a professional outfit.

On the other side of the Von Ryan Racing garage will be two British GT debutants in the shape of Hankey and Yoluc. The former’s credentials include scholarship titles in both Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Formula BMW, while his Turkish co-driver will be making a first foray into GT3-spec racing after spending last season in Britcar. The duo already know each other well having claimed SP3 class honours in January’s Dubai 24 Hours.


Fernando Alonso Pulls out of Australian Grand Prix.

Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.

However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.

In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.

Fernando has understood and accepted that advice, and the two McLaren-Honda cars will therefore be driven in Australia by Fernando’s team-mate Jenson Button and the team’s test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.

Fernando’s doctors acknowledge that he feels fit and well, and that he regards himself as ready to race, and, that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already recommenced physical training, with a view to preparing for a return to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting on March 27th, 28th and 29th. Indeed, his doctors are supportive of that ambition, satisfied as they are that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on February 22nd.

All at McLaren-Honda fully support Fernando’s decision in respect of his doctors’ advice

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast