WORLD SERIES BY RENAULT SEASON BEGINS NOW!
Following intense preparations during the collective test in February, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will get underway at Monza on 11-13 April. On the fastest circuit on the calendar, who will be the first drivers to win in the 10th season of the headliner category of the World Series by Renault?
After the tests at Motorland Aragón and Jerez, the teams and drivers of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series are now ready to begin the 2014 season, which looks to be one of the most competitive ever. Organized outside the World Series by Renault, which begins at Motorland Aragón on 26 and 27 April, this first confrontation on the Autodromo di Monza should live up to all its promise, especially as cars badged Renault Sport Technologies always put on a great show.
With a minimum of six race winners per year since the creation of the championship in 2005, each season has been extremely competitive. The winter tests confirmed the trend with five different drivers setting best time during the six days of testing.
Among the favourites are the Fortec Motorsports drivers. Second in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 last year, Oliver Rowland is the only competitor to have dominated two days of testing. However, the Englishman will have to keep on team-mate Sergey Sirotkin. The Sauber F1 Team reserve driver was often at the sharp end of the testing time sheets.
They will have to contend with members of the Red Bull Junior Team. After contesting the second half of the 2013 season, Carlos Sainz inherits Kevin Magnussen’s seat at DAMS and hopes for the same destiny. Winner of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Pierre Gasly (Arden Motorsport) is making the most of the scholarship awarded to the champion to move on to the next level. The Frenchman will try to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors Robin Frijns and Stoffel Vandoorne, who both battled for the title in their first year in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Among the outsiders, Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) was consistently quick during winter testing, as was Jazeman Jaafar (ISR). The only driver in the field to have already triumphed in the category, Marco Sørensen (Tech 1 Racing) can’t be over-looked.
Right off the rear wheels of Kevin Magnussen at the end of the 2013 season, Will Stevens (Strakka Racing) will give all he has to solidify the confidence that has been placed in him. His team-mate Matias Laine will have the same objectives. Norman Nato (DAMS), William Buller (Arden Motorsport), Marlon Stöckinger (Lotus), Zoël Amberg (AVF) and Nikolay Martsenko (Comtec Racing) all want to move up the hierarchy this year.
Among the newcomers, pundits will keep an eye on the progress of Luca Ghiotto (International Draco Racing), winner of the Formula Renault 2.0 Pau Trophy last year. Matthieu Vaxivière (Lotus), Roman Mavlanov (Zeta Corse) and Meindert van Buuren (Pons Racing) are the other candidates for rookie of the year honours, as well as Beitske Visser (AVF). The native of Holland is the first woman to take on the challenge of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series since Pippa Mann in 2008.
The two Formula Renault 3.5 Series races will be aired live on Eurosport International and Eurosport 2 France.
“To come to Monza for the start of the season is always a pleasure’’, details Renault Sport Technologies Competition Director, Arnaud Boulanger. “The ‘Temple of speed”, is a true challenge that all the competitors await. The last few times we were here it was spectacular on the track and very advanced in terms of the set-ups. The little downforce and the use of the DRS highlight the skills of the talented drivers. It was not by accident that last year Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and Antonio Felix da Costa raced for the win before battling for the title.’’
The Driver’s Eye
Marco Sørensen (Tech 1 Racing): “I am really looking forward to Monza. The history and atmosphere there is just amazing and it makes you proud to think about all the famous drivers that have been driving on it. The Parabolica is properly what I like most. It is so important to have a good exit speed out of that corner, and for to do that you need to have a very stable car. You need to be very careful when you are driving in the rain at Monza. The track doesn’t leave you any space for mistakes, and the visibility is always very bad. The water keeps hanging between the trees, so you always need full concentration.’’