ROSSI TOPS DAY 2 IN BARCELONA…
ROSSI TOPS DAY 2 IN BARCELONA…
CATERHAM F1 TEAM CONFIRMS GIEDO VAN DER GARDE & ALEXANDER ROSSI FOR ABU DHABI YOUNG DRIVER TEST
Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that it will be running its current Reserve and Test Drivers at the forthcoming Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit from 6th – 8th November. 27 year old Reserve Driver van der Garde will be in the car for days one and two of the test with 21 year old Test Driver Rossi taking over for day three.
Cyril Abiteboul, Caterham F1 Team CEO: “We are delighted to be running both Giedo, our Reserve Driver, and Alexander, our Test Driver, at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test in November. With all the drivers we work with we want to make sure they can see that we can help guide them along a clear path to the top of the motorsport industry. On top of the FP1 sessions both drivers have already run for us, giving both Giedo and Alexander the chance to also test with us in Abu Dhabi is a good example of our ongoing commitment to helping develop talented drivers achieve their long-term goals.
“Giedo has had a very strong year with our GP2 team Caterham Racing, winning twice, in Spain and at the season finale in Singapore, and recording two podium finishes at the showpiece event in Monaco. Alexander has had a decent season with Arden Caterham in Renault 3.5, one of his highlights also coming in Monaco where he finished fifth. Picking Giedo and Alexander for the Abu Dhabi test is a good reward for their hard work in 2012, but it also gives us two drivers who know the team, understand how to get what’s needed from the cars and are familiar with the circuit – the best of all worlds for us in what will be an important test.”
Giedo van der Garde: “By the time we get to the Young Driver Test I will have completed several FP1 sessions with the team and it will be good to be able to extend that more with two full days in the car. I’m sure it will be a very busy couple of days but I want to make sure I continue to learn as much as possible and do what I can to help the team have a useful few days testing before the last two races of the season. I believe I have benefited enormously from the work I have been doing with Caterham this year, in both GP2 and with the F1 team, and the chance to drive in Abu Dhabi is another positive step in the right direction for my career as a professional racing driver.”
Alexander Rossi: “I want to thank Caterham F1 Team for the opportunity once again to take part in the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. I’ve had a good year with the team as Test Driver and, on top of the FP1 I did in Spain, this is another chance to add more F1 experience at a track I know well, having raced there several times in the past. Every time I have worked with the F1 team since I joined the Driver Development Program in 2010 I have had all the support I need to do the best job I can when I am in the car and the team’s commitment to helping me develop, in all areas of my racing career, is a very positive sign that they believe in me and want to help me reach the very top of my sport. For the Abu Dhabi test I’ve already had several conversations with the engineers about what is planned and it’s definitely going to be busy, but I was comfortable in the CT01 earlier this year, and very prepared mentally and physically, so now I’m just looking forward to getting in the car!”
F1weekly podcast number 567 Nasir on assignment.
Limited Running for Rossi and Arden Caterham WSR Team in Barcelona Test
Circuit de Catalunya, Montmelo, Alexander Rossi joined his Arden Caterham Motorsport World Series by Renault team for the second collective FR3.5 test at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona this week. However torrential rain, mixed conditions, mechanical and electrical car issues meant that the newly formed squad made limited progress into its planned running programme on either day of the test.
Day one provided extremely wet conditions from the start, but with Alexander setting the fastest lap time straight out of the box. Unfortunately luck was not on his side and on lap 4 he lost his engine and had to return to the garage. The rookie Arden Caterham team spent the next six hours checking all aspects of the car to ascertain the problem, before the initial suspected engine issue was finally resolved. Alexander returned to the track with only half an hour of the afternoon session remaining, only to be hindered by 23 Red Flags punctuating his valuable track time. In a window where the track had dried out enough, the team sent Alexander out on new slick tyres, but he was only able to complete one lap before the afternoon session was timed out. At the end of the day Alexander had only completed 19 laps to finish 16th overall on the time sheet.
On day two the Arden Caterham team started to make headway in to its morning testing programme when Alexander’s car encountered an electrical issue. Following sometime in the pits whilst his team worked on a resolution, Alexander then set out to complete only 28 laps in the morning session. The afternoon brought excessively changeable weather conditions and with tyres that afforded him grip in either full wet or dry conditions, Alexander and his team struggled to extract the maximum out of his No: 25 car. With several more Red Flag situations coupling the team’s tyre issues, Alexander was unable to improve on his best lap time of 1:49.530 and 10th position overall after completing 66 laps for the day.
Alexander Rossi, Car No: 25, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“It has been a slightly frustrating test as we lost nearly all of day one. With a new car the mileage and accumulated data in testing is invaluable to the team. These past two days have been all about timing and that’s the frustrating part, but it’s a big part of the sport and as a driver you never want to get used to it. In such changeable weather conditions, finding that window of opportunity to run on the right tyres is crucial, and this combined with so many Red Flags made it a tough call when to send me out. We were very quick in the full wet or dry, but in the damp conditions we ran into some teething problems. There were also a lot of positives from the test and things discovered we would not have found had we not had the down time on day one. I feel right at home with the team and work very well with everyone. I’ll spend quite a bit of time in the workshop over the next couple of weeks as we prepare for final test at Aragon at month end. I’m confident with some mileage and dry running that we’ll be in good shape for the opening rounds next month.”
George Commins, Engineer, Car: 25, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“It’s been a productive two days at Barcelona at which we have collated a lot of data and moved forwards with developing the car in the wet. Alexander has integrated very well in to the team, providing fantastic feedback and direction in the challenging conditions. We are looking forward to the final test in Motorland Aragon where we aim to complete a comprehensive test plan in hopefully dry conditions.”
Julian Rouse, Sporting Director, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“Barcelona has been a challenging couple of days, having to deal with technical issues that are frustrating, but not uncommon with new cars. However, Alexander has again done a fantastic job working with everyone on the team, helping to continue to move forward with our understanding of how the car needs to be set up for the damp and wet conditions. Missing day one with technical issues really put us on catch up mode from a performance side, but we have gathered some really useful data on day two that will move us forward in the up and coming events.”
February 4, 2011
American racing driver Alexander Rossi has been confirmed to drive for the Fortec Motorsports Ltd team competing in the 2011 World Series by Renault (Formula Renault 3.5 Series) Championship season.
Rossi has grabbed the attention of the European motorsport community with his winning performances and race craft. A strong World Series debut in Monaco was followed by an impressive performance in the 2010 post season tests in Aragon, Spain, which saw him top the time sheets. Rossi joins the multiple Championship winning Daventry-based team on the back of a strong 2010 inaugural GP3 Series season, where Rossi finished fourth in the Championship with two wins and five podiums.
Fortec Motorsports Ltd was established in 1996 by Richard Dutton. Based in Daventry, UK, the multi-championship winning team has competed in a number of high-profile series including Formula 3, Formula 3000, Formula Renault, Formula BMW and more recently Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The team has an enviable record in motor racing, with eight drivers titles and six team titles to its name.
Rossi, who resides in Marina de Pietrasanta, Italy is currently in Austria as a finalist for the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy Shootout. After which he’ll spend the next four weeks training, working with sponsors and preparing with his team for the first World Series test at Motorland Aragon, Spain on the 8th and 9th March. Following a further three tests in March, Alexander and Fortec Motorsports will kick off the 17-round Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship fight on April 16th-17th at Motorland Aragon, Spain.
Now entering its seventh season, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will feature 13 teams and twenty-six drivers, all of whom will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Jaime Alguersuari and Pastor Maldonado to a race seat in Formula 1.
Richard Dutton, Team Principal Fortec Motorsports, commented; “I am delighted to have Alexander racing with us. I have watched him coming through the ranks since Formula BMW and I was impressed by his speed both back then and also now. His debut in 2010 WSR at Monaco and his pace in the winter testing with ISR showed us that he was one to have this year. Now we all look forward to our 2011 championship assault together.”
Jamie Dye, Team Manager Fortec Motorsports, commented; “The whole team is really excited and highly motivated to have Alexander on board this season. We have a lot to offer and know that Alexander will be right up at the front, challenging for the title from the start. This season in WSR there are some top drivers to beat and we are confident that we can beat them. Good luck to Alexander from his new Team.”
Alexander Rossi commented; “Coming off the back of a number of very strong winter tests in 2010, I was confident that we would be able to find a good solution for the 2011 season. When Fortec approached us to join them for this year’s assault on WSR we were thrilled. They have a long-standing history of success in motor racing. My goals for this year remain the same as in previous seasons and I’ve never been more prepared for Championship winning campaign. I have full confidence in Fortec and their past results are motivation enough to deliver results for them.”
Alexander concludes; “We will be aiming to establish ourselves as front-runners immediately at the first test and work to stay there for the remainder of the season. I am already quite comfortable in the WS car, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be scoring points from the start.”
CHAMPIONS OF 2010
GP3 – ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ
The Lion of Nuevo León
Like the lion roars in the jungle, this young Mexican driver has been rip roaring through the competition. Marking his territory, from Salt Lake City to Spa-Francorchamps.
In three years of racing in the cut-throat world of European jungle, Esteban Gutierrez has claimed two dominant championships. And in 2011 he will enter the final frontier before Formula 1, GP2 with Lotus-ART team.
Esteban triumphed this year in the inaugural season of GP3 Series, created by the same people who are behind the highly successful GP2 Series, Bruno Michel & Company.
GP3 turbo machine.
The Dallara-built car is powered by a Renault-turbo engine while Pirelli supplies the rubber. The car made its track debut in June 2009 at Paul Ricard in the south of France in the capable hands of Romain Grosjean.
The Geneva-born and based banker and F1 aspirant was impressed by the new race car.
“This is a great car! Compared to Formula 3 car, the acceleration is better and speeds in fast corners are similar. The paddle shift on the steering is also a great addition to a car that will definitely prepare GP3 drivers to step into the next category, GP2,” Grosjean commented after the initial shakedown.
Mark Webber, who co-owns MW Arden team in GP3 with Christian Horner, also tested the car in November last year at the same track and was equally enthusiastic.
“I can honestly say it is like driving a small F1 car,” assured the Australian.
Season of domination.
Gutierrez was on the go as soon as the pre-season testing commenced, posting some of the fastest times both at Paul Ricard and Circuit de Catalunya.
The birth of the new series in Barcelona, as a support race to Spanish Grand Prix, saw a difficult wet-dry conditions in qualifying which saw Dutch driver Nigel Melker grab pole position and a surprised Pal Varhaug of Norway sharing the front row with him. Varhaug led the race from start to finish to become the first ever race winner in GP3 Series.
Gutierrez started his charge from the fourth row and was in third place by the end of the opening lap. The remaining laps saw a great battle between Gutierrez and Robert Wickens for second place. The Canadian was able to hold off Gutierrez.
The reverse grid for second race of top eight finishers from Saturday’s event saw Gutierrez start sixth, and he was on the podium again, this time returning the favor and holding off Wickens for third place. The race was won by Gutierrez’s ART teammate from northern California, Alexander Rossi, who started from pole courtesy of his eighth place finish in race one of the weekend.
The Gutierrez gun got blazing in round two. He started the opening race of round two in Istanbul from front row and put in a Pasha performance of complete and utter domination. He led from start to finish and was over 10-seconds ahead of runner-up James Jakes.
Victory also gave Gutierrez the championship lead.
Second race of the weekend saw maiden win for Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto. Gutierrez kept his championship lead despite placing seventh.
The streets of Valencia gave Gutierrez his first pole position of the season, and he made the most of it by leading the race from start to finish. His fastest lap on the final lap gave him a bonus point which helped him to extend his championship lead over Wickens, who finished second.
The opening lap of race two on Sunday saw Gutierrez and Wickens collide, spinning the Mexican driver to the bottom of the field and sending the Canadian to the pit lane for a drive-through penalty. Gutierrez raced hard but finished out of the points in seventh but with championship lead still intact.
The race was won by the Swiss driver Nico Müller.
The Silverstone show placed Gutierrez on pole from which he scored his third successive feature win of the season, setting the fastest lap on the final tour of the circuit. Indonesian star Rio Haryanto chased hard all the way to second place finish.
Starting Sunday’s race two in eighth place Gutierrez charged through the field to fight for second place with Italian Mirko Bortolotti, the duel intensified resulting in Gutierrez squeezed out on the grass on the final lap. This allowed his teammate Rossi to fight for the final podium finish which both fought with fierce determination, the Californian claiming third place finish by a mere 0.08s.
The race was won by Canadian Daniel Morad, his first win of the season.
There was more Canadian success in the opening race of the following round at Hockenheimring. Robert Wickens, who, like Morad, hails from Toronto, scored his first win of the season. Gutierrez finished fourth.
The second German race gave Gutierrez win number four of the season. This put him 30 points ahead of second place Wickens and 38 points ahead of third man, teammate Rossi.
The Hungarian round saw front row finish in the same position, pole-sitter Nico Müller taking the win from Gutierrez, the Mexican had matched his lap time in qualifying but the Swiss driver’s time was set first and was, thus, awarded pole position.
Sunday’s round two in Budapest almost ended in an American one-two. Alexander Rossi led the race from start from to finish over pole-sitter Josef Newgarden, who hails from Tennessee, but his car stopped only three laps from the end.
Gutierrez came in fifth. Wickens, despite finishing second, was now 35 points behind Gutierrez with only two rounds remaining.
The fabled Spa-Francorchamps witnessed a bizarre rain sodden race where Robert Wickens crashed while leading, managed to get going again and then wisely ran the clock out after the safety car came in with only 30 seconds remaining in the race.
Gutierrez failed to score any points and was unable to fire up the championship celebrations in the Ardennes forest.
Both title contenders, Gutierrez and Wickens, failed to score in race two, which saw an impressive win by Adrien Tambay. The son of ex-Ferrari Grand Prix driver Patrick was not a regular in the series. At Spa on Sunday he stayed on slick tires in the closing stages only to face rain falling again. He put on a great display of defensive driving to win ahead of Alexander Rossi.
The magical Monza was going to stage the season finale. But with an 18-point lead from maximum 20 points available, the wind and win was going Gutierrez’s way.
The Monza moment came before the race even started. Gutierrez took pole and bonus point made him GP3’s first ever champion. But he saved the best for last. Having lost the lead at the start, Gutierrez was third with three laps remaining. His relentless pursuit resulted in fifth win of the season
Sunday’s final race of the season at the Temple of Speed saw Wickens forced his way for an impressive win after starting seventh. After winning the race on Saturday Gutierrez started next to Wickens, but an off-course excursion while attempting a pass on Roberti Merhi going into Parabolica resulted in his only dnf of the season.
The new champion explained his season campaign to Autosport: “From the beginning our main focus was not only to win races and to win the championship, but to be consistent through the whole season. And in the end we have been able to keep a high level of consistency, and we have been working to improve ourselves and not think too much about the other guys. We’ve just tried to do our best and focus on the job. Every mechanic, every engineer did his job and we had a really good synergy and a really good attitude. Everyone was really positive all the time, even in the hard times.”
Esteban Gutierrez was born in Monterrey in the Mexican state of Nuevo León on August 5, 1991. His racing career started in Utah at the Miller Motorsports Park, near Salt Lake City. He grabbed pole positions for the first two races of his career in the 2007 Formula BMW US Championship. He was Rookie of the Year at season’s end. The following year he captured the European version of the same series, winning seven races, six of them in a row.
In 2009, he competed in the F3 Euro Series and finished in the top ten in the championship. His success this year has marked him as a star of the future. He is now signed as third driver for Sauber F1 team and posted very impressive times in recent GP2 testing in Abu Dhabi.
If Esteban can pull-off a Hamilton or Hulkenberg and win the GP2 Championship in his rookie season against experienced hands, from Bianchi and Bird to Turvey and Filippi, the roar of Mexican Hat Dance will be heard around the world.
— Nasir Hameed.
Buenos Dias from California.
All photos courtesy of www.estebangtz.com and Marks Granados.