F1Weekly podcast # 604




Points leader Shedden qualifies behind chief rival Plato ahead of title-decider

Tom Onslow-Cole has achieved pole position in a sensationally close Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit in Kent.
eBay Motors BMW driver Onslow-Cole had been at the top of the timesheets in the closing stages only for Andrew Jordan to go faster in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic as the chequered flag fell.
But just seconds later, Onslow-Cole, on his final lap as well, flashed across the line with an even better time of 1m31.615s to reclaim top spot on the starting grid for the first of tomorrow’s title-deciding final three races of the season.
Significantly, Onslow-Cole very nearly didn’t take part in the session – earlier on his car’s throttle cable broke near the end of a fast lap. Luckily he was able, just, to coast back to the pit lane where his WSR crew rapidly fixed the problem.
New Malden’s Onslow-Cole commented: “I’ve got my team to thank so much. Firstly for the fix on the throttle cable which enabled me to get back out there. Then for the communication on that last lap – I didn’t realise how close it was with Jordan and all I could hear on my radio was my engineer screaming ‘keep pushing!’ Unbelievable…”
Lichfield’s Jordan, who is hunting a maiden Independent Drivers’ title, said: “I knew Tom was close behind me and that he was the big threat so even when I’d crossed the line I delayed any celebrating just in case. Still, at least I held pole for a brief moment and I’m still on the front row of the grid.”
Defending Champion Matt Neal was third in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic ahead of Onslow-Cole’s team-mate Robert Collard who, on his final lap, bumped Jason Plato down to fifth position. Honda’s Gordon Shedden, who Plato is chasing for the outright drivers’ crown, was seventh behind Adam Morgan in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
Plato’s session, meanwhile, ended with a spin into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend as he made one last effort to improve.
A sensational eighth on his debut was youngster Aaron Williamson in Team HARD.’s older S2000-spec Honda Civic.
Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, aiming to become the first Scottish driver to win the BTCC since John Cleland in 1995, said: “There was nothing left in the car – that was the most I could get from it with the extra success ballast on board. It makes it interesting for tomorrow, eh?”
Oxford’s Plato, sensing a third drivers’ title, added: “I’m slightly frustrated – I was two and half tenths of a second up on my best lap but ballsed it up at Clearways. At least I know the car is capable of going a bit quicker so it will be maximum attack tomorrow.”


F3 Euro Series


For Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam), his home race at the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg fully went according to plan: the rookie scored his maiden race win in the Formula 3 Euro Series. With his second-place finish in the race, Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) moved up to second place in the Euro Series’ standings. He is currently 13.5 points down on points’ leader Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam). With his third place, rookie driver Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport) scored the maiden podium result for his team URD Rennsport in the Formula 3 Euro Series.

Starting from pole position, Lucas Wolf took the lead and held on to it until the ninth lap. Then, Sven Müller attacked his compatriot and went past. Another two laps later, Raffaele Marciello took second place from Lucas Wolf, who dropped to third. The trio took the flag in this order. The best-place guest driver, Lucas Auer, Gerhard Berger’s nephew, finished fourth. As points’ leader Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) retired with technical problems, the decision for the title in the Formula 3 Euro Series has been postponed to tomorrow’s final season round.

Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam): “The race was great. Partly, I really drove in full attack mode, because I definitely wanted to win. However, I have to admit as well that my rivals played it fairly. My wish was to win a race this year, and that is what I had been working for, and now, I am really happy.”

Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam): “My start was one of the best of the entire season and the race was very good, too. Lucas Wolf was fair when I attacked him and left me enough room. For tomorrow’s race, I hope to have an equally good start and to fight for the title with my team-mate Daniel Juncadella.”

Lucas Wolf (URD Rennsport): “I can’t describe the feeling of being on the Formua 3 Euro Series podium for the first time, and that in my home race and in front of my friends and my family. I had never expected to lead the race for nine laps. But like this, I continue my tradition to score at least one podium finish every year.”



 Hockenheim. Fans can look forward to a thrilling DTM finale at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg. In qualifying for the final DTM round of the season, there was another entertaining head-to-head duel between the two main title candidates Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) and Bruno Spengler (BMW). Paffett was a little bit faster and and ended up second in qualifying, one place ahead of Spengler. His advantage was only seven thousandths of a second.

BMW driver Augusto Farfus from Brazil secured his second consecutive pole position. “I really had hoped for a top five result, but of course, being on pole is the icing on the cake,” Farfus said. The third remaining title candidate Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) failed to make it into the final session of the four-heat shoot-out qualifying and will be starting from tenth place. As a result, his chances of winning the title are merely mathematic.

Gary Paffett was very happy after qualifying, “I am really very relaxed. We have worked hard on the car and prepared everything for the finale. It is great to drive. Even though I am surrounded by two BMWs at the start, I am not worried. They are all fair racing drivers, who want to win as well, but surely will behave correctly.”

Bruno Spengler was also very confident: “I an in the best position to overtake Gary. I am only one place behind him and, of course, I will do everything to be in front of him at the end. I am really looking forward to the race, it will surely be an interesting battle.”

In fourth position, Swede Mattias Ekström was the best-placed Audi driver on Saturday. “I am happy, because I have been trying to find a perfect set-up for qualifying for a couple of races. Today, I managed to do so, the car was spot on. I made the maximum of our opportunities. I am happy to be in the best place to watch the finale between Gary (Paffett) and Bruno (Spengler) tomorrow, right behind the two of them,” Ekström said.

The two Scottish drivers, Susie Wolff and David Coulthard (both Mercedes-Benz) announced their retirement from the DTM and will be starting from the last row on the grid for their final race.



While all eyes are on the championship duel between Jules Bianchi (Tech 1 Racing), Robin Frijns (Fortec Motorsports) and Sam Bird (ISR), Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) and Kevin Magnussen (Carlin) are in no mood to make up the numbers on the final weekend of the season. The Dane and the Portuguese shone in the dry and the wet in Friday’s two collective testing sessions, while the three leaders in the points went about their preparations for the final push of the campaign.

Rain was falling when the 26 drivers arrived for the final two Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing sessions of the season. Among them was Hungarian racer Tamas Pal Kiss, who is making his return for BVM Target. Competing on their last weekend in the category are Franco-Russian outfit Team RFR, who will make way for AV Formula on Monday.

Nico Muller (International Draco Racing) and Sam Bird were the first to settle in the wet conditions, though the session was soon interrupted by a red flag when Daniel Abt (Tech 1 Racing) went off.

On the resumption, Antonio Felix da Costa made the most of a clear track to set a fastest lap of 1:51.961, putting him ahead of Sam Bird and Nico Muller before the red flag came out again, this time when Yann Cunha (Pons Racing) and Tamas Pal Kiss had grassy moments. The Portuguese stayed out front in what remained of the opening session, leading the way from Sam Bird and Nico Muller, with Will Stevens (Carlin) and Arthur Pic (Dams) rounding off the top five.

Slicks were the only option in the afternoon, by which time track conditions had improved considerably. Kevin Korjus (Lotus) set the tempo before a short neutralisation period triggered by Arthur Pic grinding to a halt on the track. Antonio Felix da Costa was at it again on the restart as he went fastest in a time of 1:31.481, with Kevin Magnussen second, just 0.040s off the pace.

Kevin Korjus then barged in front, while Antonio Felix da Costa collided with the track barrier, prompting the red flag to put in another appearance and leading to the Portuguese’s fastest time being wiped, in accordance with the regulations. Then, with just a few seconds to go before the chequered flag, Kevin Magnussen went top of the times with a lap of 1:30.736, the day’s quickest. Completing the top five behind him were Kevin Korjus, Sam Bird, Alexander Rossi (Arden Caterham) and Will Stevens (Carlin).

What they said:

Kevin Magnussen: “I’d rather be involved in the title battle with Jules Bianchi, Robin Frijns and Sam Bird. All the same, this is the type of weekend where there’s always something going on. All in all it’s been a disappointing season because we’ve shown we’ve got the pace and we’ve had the means to do well in the overall standings. We’ve just lacked consistency and success, which is all part of the learning process at the highest level. Even so, I really want to finish the season on a high note.”

Antonio Felix da Costa: “The car went very well in the wet this morning. It started the afternoon well too, but I came across a wet kerb as I was overtaking some slower cars and just lost it. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage. I’m going to drive the same way as I have at other weekends, racing my race without bothering about what everyone else is doing and trying to avoid any kind of contact.”

Jules Bianchi: “I need to look on this as just another weekend and not put any extra pressure on myself. There’s no point in that. We went about our work today the same way we usually do, though I’m still not that happy with the car this afternoon. We need to work out why that is. It’s good to be in the lead, but my main objective is to have a competitive car for the rest of the weekend.”

F3 Euro Series


After the first race of the final weekend at the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg, the title race remains open. With his second place, the best-placed rookie Pascal Wehrlein (Mücke Motorsport) came within 17 points of championship leader Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam) while Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) recuded his gap to Juncadella, who dropped back with a technical problem, to 21.5 points with a third-place finish. Swede Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport) scored a lights-to-flag victory.

Starting from pole position, Felix Rosenqvist took the lead and drove an undisputed victory home. As a reward, he was presented with the trophy by Gerhard Berger, the president of the FIA single seater commission. For a long time, Daniel Juncadella was in second place behind the Mücke driver, which would have been enough for the Spaniard to wrap up the title. However, on lap 22, he suddenly slowed down due to a technical problem and retired two laps later, already having dropped out of the top ten. Juncadella’s margin in the points’ standings over runner-up Pascal Wehrlein is now 17 points, with 35 points still at stake.

Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport): “Initially, it wasn’t easy as my tyres needed time to get to the right temperatures. After that, I was able to control the race. Having also set the fastest lap time is good for my ego. Since Valencia, things have been going really well and finally, I am able to show what I am up to.”

Pascal Wehrlein (Mücke Motorsport): “In the opening stages, I wanted to attack Daniel Juncadella, but I had to be careful not to lose a position to Raffaele Marciello. Then, I was in a safe third place, until Daniel slowed down. In the final two races, I also want to finish on the podium and provide a good show for my friends and sponsors who are here to support me.”

Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good and I was fourth for a long time. After Daniel Juncadella’s retirement, I even ended up third. Here, I am not as fast as on other tracks and therefore, my goal was to score as many points as possible.