FIA Formula 3 European Championship, round 4, Brands Hatch (GB)

Three pole positions for local hero Alex Lynn…

At Brands Hatch, with 1.929 kilometres the shortest track on the calendar of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam) was unbeatable in both qualifyings. The 19-year-old Brit, who is only living 30 minutes down the road from Brands Hatch, claimed all three pole positions. His team-mate Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam), the current points’ leader in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, will be starting next to him from the front row of the grid into all the three races.

Due to the large field, there were two qualifying groups, with two qualifying sessions for each group. The outright fastest driver of the two groups is starting from pole position, with the drivers of his group lining up behind him according to the relevant qualifying result. The drivers of the other group are starting on the other side of the starting grid behind their fastest driver. 

Starting grid for race 1
In the group of the odd starting numbers, a duel for the top position emerged halfway through the 20 minutes’ session, involving Sven Müller (ma-con, 0:41.395 minutes) and Harry Tincknell (Carlin, 0:41.425 minutes). The two youngsters inspired each other to ever-faster lap times and at that time were significantly faster than the other drivers. Soon after that, Raffaele Marciello (0:41.310 minutes) started his attacks on the front-runners and moved up into the lead with six minutes remaining. Müller remained second from Tincknell, Michael Lewis (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 0:41.704 minutes), Jann Mardenborough (Carlin, 0:41.731 minutes) and Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam, 0:41.756 minutes). 

In the group of the even starting numbers, Alex Lynn (0:41.098 minutes) came out on top, having moved up into first place eight minutes before the end following a duel with Tom Blomqvist (Eurointernational, 0:41.267 minutes) and having defended this position until the end. He was followed by Lucas Auer (Prema Powerteam, 0:41.147 minutes), Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, 0:41.182 minutes) and the three Brits Tom Blomqvist, Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsports, 0:41.367 minutes) and Jordan King (Carlin, 0:41.458 minutes). Thus, four Brits managed to qualify in the top six of this group for their home round.

Lynn will be starting the first race from pole position, because his lap time was faster than Marciello’s.

Starting grid for race 2
In the ranking of the second-fastest laps, Marciello (0:41.367 minutes) also claimed the top position in his group. The following positions were taken by Sven Müller (0:41.477 minutes), Harry Tincknell (0:41.486 minutes), Michael Lewis (0:41.725 minutes), Jann Mardenborough (0:41.777 minutes) and Eddie Cheever (0:41.799 minutes). Alex Lynn dominated group B. With a fastest time of 0:41.189 minutes, the Brit secured himself first place, followed by Lucas Auer (0:41.224 minutes), Felix Rosenqvist (0:41.247 minutes), Tom Blomqvist (0:41.282 minutes) and rookie driver Josh Hill (0:41.374 minutes), plus William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport, 0:41.505 minutes).

Starting grid for race 3
In second qualifying, Marciello (0:40.846 minutes) also was the benchmark in his group and claimed first place with a margin of 0.206 seconds. Harry Tincknell (0:41.052 minutes) had to make do with second place in his second home race of this year, followed by a strong Måns Grenhagen (Van Amersfoort Racing, 0:41.245 minutes) and Sven Müller (0:41.247 minutes), who confirmed his performance from first qualifying. At the start of the session, Müller was on top, but then dropped back to fourth. Jann Mardenborough (0:41.285 minutes) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Double R Racing, 0:41.322 minutes) were fifth and sixth in group A. After an accident by Michael Lewis with 1:40 minutes remaining, the session was red-flagged and did not resume. The American was taken to the medical centre for a routine check. 

After a break, the second group – all drivers with even starting numbers – took up their second qualifying. Alex Lynn (0:41.845 minutes) moved up at the start of the second half and was able to gradually improve his lap time. Eventually, he ended up with a fastest lap time of 0:41.845 minutes, one thousandth of a second faster than Marciello had been in group A. Thus, Lynn secured himself his third pole position of the weekend. Lucas Auer (0:40.970 minutes) secured second place in this group from Felix Rosenqvist (0:40.982 minutes), Jordan King (0:41.206 minutes), Josh Hill (0:41.257 minutes) and Tom Blomqvist (0:41.260 minutes).

Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam)
“The car was simply fantastic. My team really has done everything and after the good free practice, we were fully confident for qualifying. Having claimed three pole positions is just great. I couldn’t have been in a better situation for my home round. We are confident that we can score some valuable points in the three races.”

F1Weekly podcast # 627

The F1weekly pundits recap the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and the now infamous pit stops. We also have some commentary on the needs of more testing for young drivers in F1 by Gian Carlo Minardi…

Private testing: YES or NOT? This is the great dilemma Formula 1 is focusing on. To cut off costs the Circus decided to ban private testing. Private testing is still a controversial subject for the Circus who has different opinions about it. On the one side some teams like Ferrari want to reintroduce them into F.1, on the other side teams like McLaren don’t stand up for them.

Gian Carlo Minardi is one of the strong supporters of private testing. The former Minardi Team owner competed in the top series for more than 20 years, running 340 GP; he has always dealt with young drivers, helping them to hone their talent and enter the world of F.1 “I’ve always supported private testing, because I think this is the right way to hone drivers’ racing skills. If costs have to be cut off, private testing shouldn’t be involved. The more a young driver has the chance to practice, the more he knows a F.1 car and has the opportunity to draw attention on himself.”

Minardi focuses his attention on another important subject: preparatory formulas. “If we don’t give fast drivers the chance to enter the world of the top series, it won’t make sense for lower formulas to exist. It won’t make sense to compete in an expensive championship such as GP2 if the series’ winner isn’t awarded a prize. This is what happens now in all other racing categories. Serious solutions should be found.”

“The project Ferrari Driver Academy is carrying on is the result of a cooperation work between ACI CSAI and FDA itself. Antonio Fuoco has made his debut into Formula Renault 2.0 and he’s drawing attention on himself and Prema Powerteam’s driver Raffaele Marciello is leading the F.3 Euroseries Championship. All these results are a good omen for the future. This means that all the efforts made over the last few years are bearing fruits. It is important to teach young drivers a working method, but if they don’t have the opportunity to enter the top series, all the work done will turn to be useless!”