FORMULA 1

HAAS F1 TEAM SELECTS GROSJEAN AS DRIVER

When Haas F1 Team makes its debut in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in 2016, it will do so with an experienced racer in Romain Grosjean.

The 29-year-old Grosjean has competed in 78 Formula One races and scored 10 podium finishes, with the most recent being a third-place result in August at the Belgian Grand Prix. He is currently in his fifth Formula One season with Lotus F1 Team.

Grosjean is highly regarded as a team leader and potential world champion. The Frenchman will get his first drive with Haas F1 Team during the preseason test March 1-4 at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. A second test at Barcelona takes place March 15-18 before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix April 3 in Melbourne.

“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. We found him in Romain Grosjean,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1 Team. “I’ve been involved in motorsports for a long time and learned early on the most crucial component is the driver. Romain has strong credentials and he will be an important asset to Haas F1 Team.”

“What Gene Haas and everyone at Haas F1 Team is building is impressive, and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” Grosjean said. “Formula One is incredibly competitive and the only way to succeed is by finding new ways of doing things. This is a new opportunity with a new team that is taking a very different approach to Formula One. I believe in their approach and they believe in me. While I am committed to giving my absolute best to my current team in these last five races, I am very excited for what the future holds at Haas F1 Team.”

“In addition to being an experienced Formula One driver, Romain is very technically minded,” said Guenther Steiner, team principal, Haas F1 Team. “He gives strong, specific feedback as to how the car performs. As we develop our car in testing and throughout the season, his insight will be crucial.”

Grosjean has won races and championships in every division he has competed as he advanced to Formula One. He transitioned quickly from karting to cars in 2003, winning all 10 races in the Swiss Formula Renault 1.6 championship, handily earning the series title. Another 10-win season in the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship in 2005 secured a second title.

Grosjean moved up to Formula Three in 2006 and competed in the full Euro Series schedule. He also drove in two British Formula Three races that year, taking the pole, the win and setting the fastest lap in both races. A second season in the Formula Three Euro Series in 2007 paid big dividends as Grosjean took four poles and six wins en route to the championship. He graduated to GP2 in 2008 and maintained his title-winning form by earning four wins in 10 races to take the inaugural GP2 Asia Series crown.

By 2008, Grosjean was in Formula One as a test driver for Renault. In August 2009, Renault named Grosjean to its race seat alongside two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

The experience garnered during that seven-race stretch of Formula One races was invaluable, and Grosjean augmented that experience in 2010 by tackling a variety of series. He won the Auto GP championship with four wins, seven podiums and three poles. He also earned two FIA GT1 World Championship wins and two GP2 podiums. Displaying his versatility, he competed in two 24-hour endurance races at Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps, respectively.

In 2011, Grosjean returned to GP2, first winning the Asia Series championship in its final year of existence, and then the GP2 title with a season-best five victories. He also returned to Renault as its Formula One test driver.

With the Renault team under new management and rebranded as Lotus F1 Team for 2012, Grosjean was named to the race seat alongside 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean’s first podium came in the fourth race of the season at Bahrain. Three races later in Montreal, he finished second. A third podium was earned in the 11th race of the year in Hungary.

The 2013 season was an impressive one for Grosjean as he scored six podiums, highlighted by a second-place finish at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

The 2014 season saw the introduction of a new engine formula, with turbochargers returning to the sport for the first time since 1988. The development curve was steep for many teams. Grosjean recorded two eighth-place finishes in Spain and Monaco, but regularly outpaced his teammate throughout the year.

Fourteen races into 2015, Grosjean has shown the form he displayed in 2013, as evidenced by his podium at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

In 2016, Grosjean brings his experience and ambition to Haas F1 Team – the first American-led Formula One team in 30 years.

F1Weekly Podcast # 690

Clark and Nasir go over the Singapore Grand Prix a bit late but always entertaining! Another great Motorsports Mondial and F1W presents a new segment called “Loosh on the Loose” We also can’t help sharing this news from our friends at Citroen the repeat WTCC Champions!

CITROËN CLINCHES SECOND FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 - SHANGHAI - S.I.C. - CHINA WTCC-25/09/2015 TO 27/09/2015 - PHOTO :  @World. 37- Jose Maria Lopez – Citroen Total WTCC” style=”float:right; margin-left: 10px;” /><span style=– By taking pole position and winning both races at the Shanghai circuit, Citroën has retained its FIA WTCC title*.

– In Race 1, the Citroën Total team took all three podium places, thanks to José María López, Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb.

– Yvan Muller produced a magnificent comeback to emerge victorious in Race 2, with Pechito López joining him on the podium.

– José María López, who scored more points than anyone else this weekend, is now one step closer to the Drivers’ title, which he could make his in Thailand (31 October – 1 November).

The day began with qualifying, postponed from Saturday. The four official Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs all made it through to Q3 to battle it out for pole position. Yvan Muller was the first to go. He made a little mistake in the last sector and it was no surprise when his time was beaten by Nick Catsburg, the only driver to seriously challenge the Citroën boys’ supremacy this season. Sébastien Loeb couldn’t outdo the Dutchman, but Ma Qing Hua managed it two minutes later. José María López then rounded off the session in style by picking up his fifth pole position of the season!

A few hours later, the drivers lined up on the starting grid for Race 1. When the lights went out, Ma Qing Hua was left stranded on the grid, while José María López immediately took the lead. The first lap was chaotic, with five cars forced to withdraw after a number of collisions.

The safety car was brought out and the pack closed up, with José María López, Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb leading the way. After five laps, the pace was stepped up again. Pechito put himself out of reach of his teammates, who in turn moved well clear of Catsburg. In the chasing pack, Ma Qing Hua climbed to eighth position, but was then forced to abandon his race due to a broken transmission.

With a 1-2-3 finish for López, Muller and Loeb, Citroën scored enough points to secure the WTCC title with five races to spare.

After the podium ceremony, the cars returned to the overheated asphalt for the second race of the day. It was Tarquini who took control at the start, with Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb going at it door-to-door behind him. The four-time WTCC World Champion finally got the better of the nine-time World Rally Champion. Lying in wait behind his teammates, José María López took advantage to slip in between them!

Muller never let Tarquini get away, and made his move just after the halfway mark, sneaking past his rival at his first attempt at the end of the long straight. Once he found himself out in front, the man from Alsace soon put himself in an unassailable position.

The battle for second place was far from a foregone conclusion, however. López tried to slip past Tarquini whenever the opportunity arose. But at the finish line, it was the Italian who clinched the runner-up spot by just 0.025s! Sébastien Loeb, who was struggling with a tyre that was in danger of going flat, played it safe and settled for fourth. Ma Qing Hua ended up eighth, just behind Mehdi Bennani. The Sébastien Loeb Racing driver also claimed his second victory of the weekend in the Yokohama Trophy (for independent drivers).

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton (Team Principal, Citroën Racing): “First of all, I would like to thank our drivers for the work they have done and for their sense of fair play. Even with the best car and the best team, you can’t achieve these kinds of results without exceptional drivers. In particular, I would like to thank Yvan, who was the first to join us and made sure we were ready from the very start of the 2014 season. When we talk about Citroën Racing, that also includes all the staff at our technical centre. You don’t see them on the television, but they are an integral part of this World Championship title.”

José María López: “Congratulations to the whole Citroën Racing team: the people who are here, but also those who stay in Versailles while we are at the circuits. As for today’s action, I was a little worried at the start of Race 1. I couldn’t see Ma Qing Hua in my rear-view mirrors and I thought he was next to me. Actually, he had had a problem at the start and I was able to take the lead. After that, I tried to avoid making any mistakes so I could be sure of scoring some valuable points. In Race 2, the battle with Gabriele Tarquini was great. That’s why I love motorsport! I couldn’t get past him, but it doesn’t matter. With a 75-point lead with two meetings to go, I have achieved my goals.”

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/09-27-15f1weekly690.mp3]

 

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

FELIX ROSENQVIST IS THE NEW FIA FORMULA 3 EUROPEAN CHAMPION

Following his third win at the 3.629 kilometres long Nürburgring sprint circuit and his twelfth victory of the season, Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) was able to cheer really loudly: the 23-year-old is the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion. In a race dominated by four safety car interventions, he won from Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam). As Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), runner-up in the drivers’ standings, had already lost all his chances of a top position after a collision and the subsequent pit stop in the opening stages of the race and eventually didn’t score any points after finishing 13th, there is no way to prevent Rosenqvist from winning the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title.

From pole position, Felix Rosenqvist took the lead in the dash towards the first corner from Lance Stroll. Behind the two Prema drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi collided with Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). The Dane retired on the spot, the Italian had to turn into the pits to have his car attended to. Thus, Rosenqvist’s fiercest rival in the battle for the title dropped back to the rear end of the field.

The next incident occurred on the third lap, involving Nicolas Pohler (Double R Racing), Alessio Lorandi (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Zhi Cong Li (Fortec Motorsports). To allow for Pohler’s damaged car to be removed, race control sent the safety car out. Racing resumed on lap seven. Three laps later, Sam MacLeod (Motopark) spun and Matt Rao (Fortec Motorsports) was unable to avoid the collision. While the second safety car intervention neutralised the racing again, Rosenqvist was still in the lead. At that time, Giovinazzi was back up in 22nd place already.

At the second restart, Felix Rosenqvist remained in front as well, but once again, it didn’t take long for the next incident to happen. Dorian Boccolacci (Signature) collided with Ryan Tveter (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) and had to park his car. The result: safety car intervention, the third. Shortly after the next restart, Alessio Lorandi and Tatiana Calderón (Carlin) collided and slid into the gravel trap at the last corner, which was the reason for the fourth safety car intervention. Eventually, the drivers were able to complete one lap at racing speed before the chequered flag was out. Felix Rosenqvist was first across the finish line from Lance Stroll, Nick Cassidy and Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam). Thus, Prema drivers locked out the first four positions. Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing), who had already secured himself the title of the best rookie yesterday, finished fifth in the 30th race of the season from Markus Pommer (Motopark), the best-placed German in the field. Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Callum Ilott (Carlin), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) and George Russell (Carlin) rounded out the top ten. Russell, who had secured third place on the grid in qualifying, was dropped ten places due to an engine change. As a result, the Brit only started from 13th position.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “I am really happy to finally have won the title after so many years. I have been dreaming about this result for a long time and now it finally came true. This is the most important title in my career so far. The season has been fantastic, we were quick at every track. I was always certain that we would be able to make it, even though we sometimes had bad luck at the start of the season. This race wasn’t too difficult, because there were many safety car interventions during which we had some time to relax. The restarts all worked out well and I didn’t have any other problems either. I just tried to bring it home safely. Now, I am just happy with our result and proud of what we have achieved together.”

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “First of all, congratulations to Felix for winning the title. Nobody deserves it more and in my first season in Formula 3, I have been able to learn a lot from him. I am also happy with my race. In the first corner, one of my rivals hit me, but I was lucky and I managed to stay on track. My pace was good throughout the race and I was able to keep up with Felix. I am really happy with my second place.”

Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam): “I want to congratulate Felix with his success as well, he has had a great season. Personally, I am happy with my second podium finish in only my second weekend of racing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Today, I never had a real chance to attack Lance, but I can live with third place very well, too.

FORMULA 1

LEWIS HAMILTON STEAMROLLS THROUGH THE JAPANESE GP

Hamilton regained his total dominance of Formula One with
his eighth victory of the season here on Sunday. After losing out on pole in the previous two race weekends, and being beaten to the top of the podium by Sebastian Vettel in Singapore last weekend, Hamilton re-established his authority with his 41st victory, to put him alongside his idol Ayrton Senna.

Hamilton said: “I used to watch Ayrton race and to come here and
match his wins is fantastic. We didn’t take our A game to Singapore and it
was important to come back here.”

Second placed Nico Rosberg said: “It’s going the wrong way. I had to win today.”

A year ago here Rosberg won pole and was beaten by Hamilton in wet conditions. On Sunday the sun shone all day but it was the same result, with Rosberg quickly losing his grid place advantage to the more aggressive British driver.

The win takes Hamilton 48 points ahead of Rosberg in the championship with five races to go, with Sebastian Vettel now 59 points behind. It was business as usual. The only moment of worry for him came when he reported “big vibrations” before coming in for his second stop. But by then his lead was up to 10 seconds.

From the moments the lights went out Hamilton was straight on Rosberg’s case, harrying him on the inside before squeezing him wide on Turn Two. Behind the Mercedes a number of drivers made contact as they got away, with both Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo suffering punctures, while Sergio Perez went into the gravel.

Rosberg dropped down to fourth after being passed by Hamilton, with Vettel second and Valtteri Bottas third. But no-one made a serious challenge to Hamilton position, and he was blithely told by his team to increase his advantage to 10 seconds, which he duly did. To make Rosberg feel even worse his team told him he had to look after his engine.

In the end Hamilton’s advantage was 18.9 seconds over Rosberg,
with Vettel third and Kimi Raikkonen fourth. They were followed by Bottas
(Williams) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).

There was more pain for McLaren, who will have Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso back next year, according to the team. Alonso was 11th while Button trailed in 16th. Alonso showed his frustration at one point, immediately after being overtaken by Marcus Ericcson in a Sauber. Later, when he was passed again, this time by the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, he shouted: “GP2 engine! GP2 engine.”

F3 EURO CHAMPIONSHIP

TENTH VICTORY OF THE SEASON FOR FELIX ROSENQVIST

At the Nürburgring sprint circuit, Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam) scored an undisputed lights-to-flag victory and thus extended his lead in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings to 58.5 points. Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) remains second in the drivers’ standings; he finished tenth in the 28th race of the season. In the Eifel, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) finished second from Callum Ilott (Carlin). For both drivers, it was their first podium finish in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. With the two podium results for Rosenqvist and Cassidy, Prema Powerteam also secured an early title in the teams’ standings.

Felix Rosenqvist won the dash to the first corner and immediately took the lead. His main rival was team-mate Nick Cassidy while Callum Ilott slotted into third place. The trio was able to pull clear from Charles Leclerc (Van Amersfoort Racing) in the opening stages already as the rookie from the Van Amersfoort Racing team was driving with a damaged front wing. Behind him, there was a long range of drivers, but none of them was able to overtake Leclerc. Thus, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) finished in fifth place from Markus Pommer (Motopark), Santino Ferrucci (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Arjun Maini (Van Amersfoort Racing), Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi. Thus, the Italian secured one point for the FIA Formula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings and, with five races remaining, now has Charles Leclerc closing up to him in the battle for runner-up spot. The Monegasque is only eight points down on the stalwart. Fourth in the drivers’ standings, Jake Dennis (Prema Powerteam) also still has chances of winning the title. The Brit retired and thus wasn’t able to score any points. He is now 94 points down on leader Felix Rosenqvist.

For George Russell (Carlin), hopes of another podium finish were reduced to a minimum prior to the start of the race already. The Brit, who had secured second place on the grid in qualifying, was dropped ten positions on the grid due to an engine change. He finished the race in 13th place. On the FIA Formula 3 European Championship debut of his team, Harald Schlegelmilch (ArtLine Engineering) brought the ARTTech P315 to the finish in 32nd place.

Felix Rosenqvist (Prema Powerteam): “I mainly concentrated on getting a good start, in which I succeeded. I reckon that it was one of my best starts of the season. My car was good from the very beginning and I was able to pull a slight gap right away. Then I held on to it until the finish. At this stage of the championship, it is difficult to ignore the drivers’ standings, but I try not to look at them too often. I want to focus on the races and then, at the end of the weekend, I take a closer look at the drivers’ standings.”

Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam): “I am happy to be on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship podium for the first time. At Portimão already, I was close to Felix in terms of speed, but I wasn’t able to make it onto the podium yet there. Here, at the Nürburgring, it was my goal to get that done. I am feeling really well at Prema Powerteam, it is very well organised and working together very well and effectively. I am still in the learning process, but since finishing third at Macau last year, I am generally quite happy with my performance.”

Callum Ilott (Carlin): “Being on the podium in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship is a great feeling. The race was a nice one, I was able to keep up with Felix and Nick in front of me and I managed to pull clear from my nearest rival Charles Leclerc. Only at the start, things got a little bit tighter, but the rest was trouble-free.

FORMULA 1

NICO ROSBERG INHERITS POLE POSITION AFTER KVYAT CRASH RED FLAGS QUALIFYING IN JAPAN

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole for Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix as Mercedes returned to form in qualifying. Hamilton was denied the chance to make a final attempt on his team-mate’s time after a bad crash near the chicane involving Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat, which brought an early end to Q3. Kvyat was unhurt.

Rosberg, who is 41 points behind Hamilton with six races remaining, said: “I’m very happy. It was a great day and a good comeback for the team after a difficult weekend in Singapore. It’s a great car. We’ve turned things round. I nailed my laps today. I’m pleased with the way it went and I’m in a great position for tomorrow.”

Sunday’s pole will be Rosberg’s first since the Spanish Grand Prix four months ago. He won pole here last year before being beaten by Hamilton in a wet race. He added: “Hopefully it will be a dry race tomorrow. That will help. I didn’t struggle in the rain last year but I struggled on the inter tyre. I was really comfortable with the way the car handled today. Suzuka is the ultimate track and to have a good car here is awesome.”

Hamilton has won 11 out of 14 poles this season but missed out on the last two. He said: “The first lap I lost a bit of time in turn 11 and in the last corner. Nico is driving well this weekend. I felt pretty good on that last lap but the main thing is that Kvyat is OK.”