Tag Archives: Fortec

British Formula 3

No stopping Serralles at Spa, except the rain…

Felix Serralles swept to his fourth win of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season this afternoon at Spa-Francorchamps, Fortec’s rookie racer battling past early leader Carlos Sainz to claim the victory and move into championship second.

Alas Serralles and his rivals were denied the chance to race for a second time today by heavy rain which burst over Spa just before the scheduled start of the 20-minute reverse-grid sprint race. With standing water all around the circuit, the event was cancelled by officials.

The day’s earlier race – held in bright sunshine – was a thriller from the outset, when Carlin driver Sainz outgunned pole man Serralles away from the start to lead the 29-car field into La Source hairpin. Puerto Rico’s Serralles was neither surprised nor disheartened: “There was more grip in the tyres than I was expecting at the start so I bogged down a bit. But I wasn’t worried too much if I stayed P2 because I knew that I could slipstream Carlos later.”

Serralles trailed Sainz for two laps before lining up the Spaniard for a spectacular pass into Les Combes on the third lap. Thereafter Felix was in a class of his own, setting fastest lap on the way to a one-second lead over Sainz by the end of the following lap. At the chequered flag Serralles was the victor by five-and-a-half seconds. His thoughts are not yet on the championship, he says: “Not really. I have nothing to lose. This is only my first year of British F3; I go race by race and will fight to the end. We will see then.”

It was not Sainz who followed Serralles home, however: FIA European F3 title hopeful Daniel Juncadella (Prema) followed Felix’ example at Les Combes on lap five to pass his Spanish countryman Sainz and secure second place overall. “Yesterday we struggled for pace in qualifying,” said Daniel, “today the car was not so bad but we are still trying to get on top of the best set-up.”

Sainz was third on the road and a confidence-boosting second among the British F3 men, his best result since Pau in May. “At the start I did exactly what I had been planning all night to do, and it worked out, so I can be really happy with my first two laps. After that, I didn’t have the best pace and it was a case of trying to survive with the tyre degradation.”

Championship leader Jack Harvey endured a difficult day yesterday, missing most of the first practice session with an engine misfire and crashing out of qualifying after a collision with the car of Hannes van Asseldonk. The Racing Steps Foundation driver started 10th and made up four spots on the opening lap, then moved into fifth ahead of Alex Lynn on lap five.

Jack then chased down his title rival and Carlin team-mate Jazeman Jaafar, snatching fourth overall – and third in championship terms – from the Malaysian on the final lap. “Yesterday was not a great day but today, fourth from 10th is pretty good,” says Jack.

Jaafar placed fifth ahead of Fortec’s Lynn, with the British championship top 10 completed by Pipo Derani, Harry Tincknell – who lost out at the start with a slow getaway – Geoff Uhrhane (Double R), Pietro Fantin and T-Sport’s Nick McBride.

Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee led the four-car National class battle from start to finish, the 22-year-old Australian collecting his fifth class win of the year ahead of CF Racing’s Adderly Fong and T-Sport duo Spike Goddard and Pedro Pablo Calbimonte. “I didn’t know where I was in relation to the other guys,” said Duvashen. “I was in a pack of International cars and it was a free-for-all. I just tried to stay with them and my race pace was great.”

Formula 3 Euro Series

Big field expected at Spa British Formula 3 races

The biggest European Formula 3 grid of the year is set to gather at the Belgian Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps next week (26-28 July) for the latest rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Twenty-nine cars have provisionally entered the event, which in addition to counting towards the British championship is a round of the FIA European F3 Championship. Top Euro teams including Mücke Motorsport and Prema Powerteam will be joining their UK counterparts Carlin, CF Racing, Double R, Fortec and T-Sport for a celebration of top-level single-seater racing in support of the prestigious Spa 24 Hours sports car race.

“Spa is always special,” said SRO’s championship manager Benjamin Franassovicci, “but this year with 29 cars on track for the three British F3 races it will be doubly memorable.”

Britain’s Jack Harvey leads the field into battle as the championship enters the final third of the 2012 season. The Lincolnshire-based Carlin driver nosed ahead of his chief title rival Jazeman Jaafar late last month and, with only four points separating them, there is everything to play for in Belgium – not least because Fortec’s Puerto Rican racer Felix Serralles has accelerated into third place within 10 points of the championship lead.

Harvey and Jaafar will be joined at Carlin by regular team-mates Pietro Fantin (who scored his first win of 2012 in Germany last month), Carlos Sainz Jnr and Harry Tincknell, and also – it is hoped – by a sixth Dallara for a yet to be named driver.

Padua-based Prema Powerteam will field a four-car squad for FIA F3 points leader Raffaele Marciello, Euroseries frontrunner Daniel Juncadella, Sven Muller and Michael Lewis, while in addition to Serralles, Fortec will have Dallaras on track for Brazil’s Pipo Derani and impressive young Brit Alex Lynn, as well as for Dutch driver Hannes van Asseldonk, who will be keen to build on his podium success (behind Juncadella and Marciello) in last weekend’s F3 Masters at Zandvoort.

The National class battle looks like being a four-way fight for the first time this season, with T-Sport expecting to confirm later this week a class running mate for category points leader Spike Goddard. CF Racing is to return with Brands Hatch triple class winner Adderly Fong, and Double R will field its young Aussie Duvashen Padayachee.

Double R’s Geoff Uhrhane and Fahmi Ilyas and T-Sport man Nick McBride complete the UK side of the field, and there will additionally be two-car teams from Mücke (Felix Rosenqvist and Pascal Wehrlein), ma-con (British drivers Emil Bernstorff and Tom Blomqvist), Jo Zeller Racing, and single-car entries for URD Rennsport and Angola Racing Team.

Provisional championship standings after Round 17
1 Jack Harvey (GBR/Carlin) 186 points; 2 Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Carlin) 182; 3 Felix Serralles (PUR/Fortec) 176; 4 Alex Lynn (GBR/Fortec) 144; 5 Carlos Sainz (ESP/Carlin) 140; 6 Pietro Fantin (BRA/Carlin) 137 etc.
National class: 1 Spike Goddard (AUS/T-Sport) 270; 2 Duvashen Padayachee (AUS/Double R) 232; 3 Adderly Fong (CHN/CF Racing) 62

Spa timetable (all timings local)
Thu 26 Jul 1125-1155 & 1445-1515 free practice; 1730-1800 qualifying
Fri 27 Jul 1200 Race 1 (30 mins); 1535 Race 2 (20 mins)
Sat 28 Jul 1155 Race 3 (40 mins)

Live timing static.sportresult.com/federations/fia/app/portal

TV schedule 4 August, 0700 Channel 4 & 1720 Motors TV

F1Weekly podcast # 571

F1weekly podcast number 571 special interview with F3 driver Jack Harvey, catch him in the Grand Prix de Pau.

The harsh and unusual demands of street racing lie ahead for the young stars of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, for next weekend (12/13 May) the south-west France city of Pau will play host to the championship for the 68th running of the world-famous Grand Prix de Pau.

The UK-based runners will be joined at Pau by competitors from the FIA European Formula 3 Championship; a field of around 25 cars is expected at the event, which will feature two live-televised races.

Only two of the British championship field raced at Pau last year – Carlin’s Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar and Fortec’s Brazilian Pipo Derani. Eighteen-year-old Pipo knows only too well that passing will be hard and a good grid position vital: “Overtaking at Pau is almost impossible so you have to qualify well; if you are not on pole or on the first row then it’s tough.”

He is pleased to have last year’s experience – he finished sixth for the Double R team – under his belt. “It was my first street race and it was nice; I was expecting to be a lot slower. I adapted myself really fast to the street circuit and I finished sixth. It was quite a good result for my first time and of course it was really good to get the experience because this year we will be there again. I hope it will be an advantage for me.”

Derani is fifth in the championship for Fortec, having claimed his maiden British Formula 3 win at Oulton Park last month and a second-place finish at Monza in Italy. “It has been a good beginning to the year for me. It’s really good; it gives me more motivation to push and to get more good results. It was really nice to get my first victory in British Formula 3; now I can say that I am a race winner. For my confidence it is really good.”

Derani is one of a four-car Fortec squad for Pau, where he will be joined by Puerto Rico’s double race winner Felix Serralles, reigning Formula Renault UK Champion Alex Lynn and Dutchman Hannes van Asseldonk. Essex-based Lynn is one of two drivers out to gain some track knowledge this weekend (5/6 May) by taking part in the Grand Prix de Pau Historique – Alex will race a 1981 Van Diemen Formula Ford and Harry Tincknell a 1962 Lotus 20 Formula Junior chassis.

Leading the championship to Pau, and for what to him is almost a home race, is Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jnr. The 17-year-old from Madrid claimed his first British F3 wins for the Carlin team at Monza, twice triumphing in the wet to pull eight points clear of Serralles in the title fight.

Carlin’s team in France will also feature Devonian Tincknell, Jaafar, Brazil’s Pietro Fantin and Jack Harvey, the Lincolnshire-based Racing Steps Foundation driver who led the series following the Oulton Park rounds.

The Double R team is expected to field its regular International class duo, Australian Geoff Uhrhane and Malaysian Fahmi Ilyas, as well as a National class car for Aussie Duvashen Padayachee, who may well have the class to himself next weekend as his T-Sport rival, Spike Goddard, struggles to recover from illness. Australian Goddard was struck down by appendicitis last month and, while recovering well from surgery, does not expect to be fit to race: “My recovery is going OK,” said Spike, “a bit slow but I’m getting there. I’m pretty sure I will have to give driving a miss for Pau, but I am hoping I can attend the meeting and go for the track walk and be a part of the team.”

T-Sport’s Nick McBride will be in action in his International class Dallara to complete the UK field, with 11 additions expected from Mucke Motorsport, Jo Zeller Racing, ma-con Motorsport, Angola Racing and Prema Powerteam to contest the FIA series. Drivers entered include current FIA points leader Daniel Juncadella and British drivers Emil Bernstorff and Tom Blomqvist.

The Pau Grand Prix was first run in 1900 and the winners on its roll of honour include such as Tazio Nuvolari, Juan Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Jean Behra, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Jochen Rindt, Rene Arnoux, Jean Alesi, Juan Pablo Montoya and Lewis Hamilton. It last formed part of British Formula 3 in 2006, when Romain Grosjean won both races.

In addition to the regular Channel 4 UK and Motors TV post-produced TV coverage, both Saturday’s and Sunday’s Pau races will be screened live across Europe on Motors TV.

Provisional championship standings after Round 6
1 Carlos Sainz (ESP/Carlin) 74 points; 2 Felix Serralles (PUR/Fortec) 66; 3 Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Carlin) 65; 4 Jack Harvey (GBR/Carlin) 63; 5 Pipo Derani (BRA/Fortec) 48; 6= Pietro Fantin (BRA/Carlin) & Harry Tincknell (GBR/Carlin) 40 etc
National class: 1 Spike Goddard (AUS/T-Sport) 104; 2 Duvashen Padayachee (AUS/Double R) 82


Motorsports Mondial


Photo: britishf3international.com

Felix Serralles, the rookie racer  wins round three of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Outgunning pole man and round one victor Jack Harvey to snatch the advantage into Old Hall corner. Felix drove impeccably throughout the 40-minute feature race to win by 2.8s and claim the Fortec team’s second victory of the day. Harvey placed second to end the day with a six-point lead in the championship.

Serralles : “Coming into the weekend I certainly did not expect to take a win. This year there are a lot of competitive and very experienced drivers. This is my first year and my first time in an F3 car, so it is an amazing feeling to have won and I am very pleased. I had a really good start, got ahead of Harvey and really just pulled away. I am the only driver from Puerto Rico racing in Europe, and that makes it special too.”

Harvey was pleased with his second place which, added to his earlier win, hands him the championship lead – at least for a week: “I was hoping for two wins, but it was not to be. I nearly achieved it but fair play to Felix he made a great start and drove a great race; he deserved to win. I thought I had made an OK start, so maybe that’s something we need to work on. I’m looking forward to next weekend’s races at Monza – I have always gone well there.”

Round three was interrupted at the outset when the Fortec car of race two winner Pipo Derani seized on the line; the safety car had to be called in while it was manhandled from the track, and that meant Serralles’ early lead was wiped. When the race was restarted after three laps, Serralles made the perfect getaway once again and put half a second between himself and Harvey. From then on, the pattern of the race was set.

Harry Tincknell slotted into third off the line and held on there to claim the final podium slot. His hand – badly broken in a testing crash late last year – held up well to the abuse. “It’s a bit sore,” said Harry, “and I noticed that towards the end of the race, which maybe affected my concentration a little. But when I think back to lying in my hospital bed last year, not sure whether I would ever race again, to be standing here on the podium on my first weekend back is amazing.”

Carlos Sainz led home his Carlin team-mate Jazeman Jaafar for fourth, with Alex Lynn sixth for Fortec. Hannes van Asseldonk ran out of road after five laps to join his Fortec team-mate Derani in retirement.

Spike Goddard made it three out of three in the National class, leading all the way for T-Sport to win the class by 20s from Double R’s Duvashen Padayachee.

F1Weekly podcast # 566

Photo: Renaultsport

F1weekly podcast number 566 special weekend interview

A conversation with Robin Frijns

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Champion Robin Frijns will join Fortec for the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 campaign.

The Dutchman will be paired alongside Carlos Huertas to complete Fortec’s driver line up.

The 20-year-old tested with the team, who were second in the Team’s Championship in 2011, at Motorland in November.

Frijns enjoyed a fantastic 2011 with Josef Kaufmann Racing, taking five wins en route to the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup title and demonstrated excellent consistency by finishing inside the top five at every race.

He comfortably secured the title with a round to spare, winning the championship ahead of highly rated Carlos Sainz Jr. by 45 points.

That title came a year after he victorious in Formula BMW Europe, which also came with Josef Kaufmann Racing.

Fortec’s Formula Renault 3.5 Team Manager Jamie Dye said: “Robin has always been one to watch – his consistency throughout the 2011 season was phenomenal and he’s proven himself to be the complete package.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have him with us for 2012 and he has shown that he thoroughly deserves a place in the Formula Renault 3.5 series.

“We’re very much looking forward to working with Robin this year and we’re confident that both he and Carlos will be strong contenders next season.”

Renault Sport Sporting Manager Emmanuel Esnault also expressed his pleasure that Robin is moving up to Formula Renault 3.5 with Fortec.

He said: “We are all happy to see Robin joining Fortec Motorsport for his maiden season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and are proud to observe that the prize money of €500.000 offered to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Winner is allowing him to make concrete the step forward in our unique stairway to F1. “We wish him all the best.”


Motorsports Mondial

Faces Going Places

Photo: Tom Blomqvist

Tom Blomqvist. Quick & Confident

Tom Blomqvist burst upon the racing scene last year taking the title in the very competitive Michelin Formula Renault UK series. The 16-year old son of Stig, of Audi Quattro and world rally championship fame, grew up racing karts in New Zealand.

Call him the next Super Swede or Quick Kiwi, one thing is for sure, we will be seeing his name in the top tier of results frequently. F1weekly would like to thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish him all the best in his racing career.

Q: Congratulations on winning the Michelin Formula Renault UK Championship. What were your expectations before the season started?

A: Thank you. I had high expectations coming into the championship after some strong winter testing times and the way the pre-season testing went. My main ambition was to win the championship.

Q: Three wins and 12 podiums, what was the most memorable race?

A: To be honest my most memorable race was probably the first race of the season at Thruxton. It was raining and I was starting second. I had a collision on the first lap and I was in last place. I managed to work my way up to 5th place by the end of the race. It was definitely my most exciting race. I don’t think I passed that many cars for the rest of the season combined.

Photo: Tom Blomqvist

Q: You took the championship lead in the penultimate round at Silverstone; was there a moment during the season where you had given up the title hunt to play safe and finish in the top three?

A: I had never given up the championship hunt but there was a stage where we were considering another year in Formula Renault UK. But I continued to work hard and so did the team and in the end we got the result we deserved.

Q: Before the Brands Hatch season finale you and Lewis Williamson were tied on points; did you experience extra butterflies before and during the race?

A: Before the weekend I was quite confident but not over confident as I knew Lewis was quick around Brands and the Manor car worked well there. I was confident I could out-qualify him though and around that track it is near impossible to pass. Fortunately for me I put it on the front row for both races but I certainly felt a little bit more tension before the final race. That was only going to be normal for a championship decider.

Q: How much did you develop as a racing driver by working with Fortec team, a very successful operation headed by ex-F3 driver Richard Dutton?

A: It was a tough year as we were probably on the back foot at the start of the season. I had to fight and push extra hard and that definitely helped when it came down to a head to head fight at the final round of the season. I learnt a lot last year and I will continue to learn and try to develop into a top driver.

Q: You have raced in Sweden and New Zealand how is the level of competition in these places compared to jolly olde England?

A: I’ve never actually raced cars in New Zealand only karts, but racing in England is different there are a lot more good drivers who can be quick and win whereas in Sweden and New Zealand there is only a select few.

Q: You raced at Macau last year in Formula BMW Pacific and placed an impressive third; how was that deal with Euro International put together, and your impression of the Guia circuit?

A: Well really the whole idea of competing in that race was to learn the circuit for the coming season in Formula 3. That track was pretty wicked, I have never seen anything like it and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I can’t wait to get back out there in a Formula 3 car.

Photo: www.bringatrailer.com

Q: Papa “Stig” was very successful in rallying, why did you choose single-seater racing as a career move?

A: It just felt like the natural step for me after having a career in karts. I never had the desire to be a rally driver like my father and although I have had a go in one I don’t think I will step away from the race track any day soon.

Q: What is the best motorsports advice you have received from your dad?

A: He’s quite a chilled out guy and doesn’t say a lot. Although he is always willing to help he doesn’t bother me too much and lets me get on with myself. I’m always open to his suggestions and advice.

Q: How much is he involved in guiding and managing your career at this stage?

A: He plays a background role. He’s involved but he’s not involved in the day to day running of my career. He has a lot of contacts in the sport so he still plays an important role and I’m extremely appreciative of that.

Q: How long were you in karting and what were the highlights of your karting career?

A: I raced karts for six years, my first meeting was at the end of 2002 and I stopped prior to moving up to Europe in 2009. My highlights were in my JICA days and I managed to win a few titles during the season.

Q: In winter months you are planning to do some driving on frozen lakes in Sweden how is this coming along and what can you learn from this which can be applied to single-seater racing?

A: I love skidding around on the ice, its great fun and a good tool to develop car control. Driving on ice is completely different to driving on a race track in a single-seater. But that single-seater is not glued to the track and it does move around and you have to be able to control that to be confident and quick. Practicing car control can only help me to develop more.

Q: Are you are stepping into British Formula 3 this season; how much change will there be in your physical training.

A: I’ll be stepping into Formula 3, I can’t tell you exactly which championship yet. I have had to alter my training a little. The car is more physical to drive than a Formula Renault especially on the neck and arms which has been my focus over the break. I want to be most prepared so that I can focus entirely on driving the car.

Q: Do you follow American racing series like Indy Cars or NASCAR?

A: I follow Indy car and NASCAR but I don’t watch every race as I didn’t get it on the channels I had at home last year, but I always read the write ups in the weekly Autosport. My goal is Formula 1 but I have definitely considered racing in the States.

Q: Please tell us about Tom Blomqvist away from racing; your interest in music, food and what other sports you enjoy apart from racing?

A: I’m quite chilled to be honest but I certainly love my music and food. I’m a big fan of Italian; I think every race driver loves Italian food to be fair. I love my training and I always make time for it as I know how important it is to be physically strong enough to drive and it’s only going to get harder as I move up the ladder. I love getting out on my road bike; generally the weather is perfect for it down here in New Zealand over summer.

For more information on this rising star please visit www.tomblomqvist.com

— Nasir Hameed

Racing and rallying regards.