Tag Archives: GP2

F1weekly podcast #432

Today we have an exclusive conversation with Fabio Leimer of Switzerland, now making his name in GP2 series.

21 year old Fabio Leimer has been on a winning track for a few years now. Last year he was International Formula Master Champion. In 2008, he was rookie of the year in the same series and was winning races in his rookie season in the series,  which is always impressive.

This year he is with Ocean Racing team of Tiago Monteiro and won Sunday’s sprint race in Barcelona where this conversation was recorded.

But first, a few words from his sponsor, Herr Rainer Gantenbein, Boss man of Bautro, a Swiss company based in Bern.

My thanks to both Rainer and Fabio and all the best in 2010 and beyond.

AND NOW FABIO LEIMER AND HIS STORY

F1weekly podcast # 414

Daniel Morad

Rock Solid Racer

Daniel Morad is a talented young racing driver from Toronto. He was born on April 24, 1990. After a successful karting career, he won the Formula BMW US Championship in 2007, and was placed fourth in the Formula BMW world finals in Valencia.

He has also raced in Formula Atlantic and A1GP competition.

Podcast 414 features an exclusive conversation with this talented driver.


Testing the GP3 car at Circuit Paul Ricard earlier this month

Morad will soon announce his racing plans for the 2010 season. Meantime, we invite you to visit his website www.danielmorad.com for more information on his career.

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/03-18-10f1weekly414.mp3]

Motorsports Mondial

KC and the Indian band


Karun. In the steps of Narain

Spa-Francorchamps, 2007: Then 23-year old Karun Chandok makes history by becoming the first Indian driver ever to win a GP2 race. The following year he would win again, this time at Hockenheimring.

All indications point to Chandok making the grid in Bahrain to begin his Formula 1 career. He would be the second Indian to reach the pinnacle of motor racing after Narain Karthikeyan, his childhood friend.

Karun Chandok was introduced to motor sports from an early age. His father, Vicky, now a senior member of FIA and Indian Motorsports Federation, is a former National Rally Champion. Grandfather, Indu Chandok, was the founder of FMSCI, Federation of Motor Sports Clubs in India.

The younger Chandok won the Indian Racing Championship in 2000 with season high seven victories, starting from pole position and setting fastest lap in all 10 events, which stands to this day as a national record.

The following season, 2001, Chandok captured the opening five races in the Asian Formula Championship; three additional wins later in the season gave him the title. He was awarded the ‘Most promising Asian driver of the year’.

He also tested the waters of British F3 with Trevor Carlin’s team.

The years 2002-’04 saw Chandok competing in the series. In 2003, he became a certified racing instructor at the Silverstone racing school. A brief foray in World Series by Renault in 2004 was followed by representing his nation in the inaugural 2005-’06 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

Returning to the Asian continent Chandok won the first Formula Asia V6 by Renault Championship in 2006. From 12 starts he grabbed 9 pole positions and seven wins.

Vicky “Papito” Chandok. Family friend Vijay Mallya to his left.

2007-’09. The GP2 years. Chandok arrived in the “official feeder series of F1” in 2007 with Durango team and tasted success at Spa-Francorchamps in the sprint race after starting from the front row. Was voted ‘Most improved driver of the year’.

The following season, 2008, he was teammate to Bruno Senna – and they may be teammates again this year – and again scored a sprint race victory, this time in the support race to the German Grand Prix. Podium finishes were also recorded Monaco, Silverstone and Dubai, the GP2 Asia version of the series.

Past season was spent with third team in as many seasons, Tiago Monteiro’s Ocean Racing Technology. Podium finish in the sprint race at Silverstone was his best finish.

Kingfisher gives Karun wings. While Chandok has tested Red Bull F1 machinery before, chances are support for his entry in this year’s world championship will come from long time sponsor and family friend Dr. Vijay Mallya. The airline and liquor baron and Chandok Sr. were instrumental in securing a Grand Prix for India.

Now all they need is a driver.

— Nasir Hameed

Racing regards from California!

Motorsports Mondial

Birth of a new series in Barcelona: The baby GP2 series, hatched by the usual suspects, B’s of the motor racing world, Bernie, Briatore and Bruno, as in Michel, will make its competition debut as support race to the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix in May at Montmelo.

The car, like its bigger GP2 sibling, is built by Parma-based Italian manufacturer, Dallara. Power is supplied by a turbo-charged 280hp Renault engine. The French manufacturer also powers the GP2 field.

Hewland of England supplies the six-speed sequential gearbox.

Pirelli is the surprise choice for tires while another Italian outfit, Brembo, puts the brakes on. Absence of Hitco and Carbon Industries confirm Peter Windsor was not involved in decision making, but then again, he has been very busy on his run away project………..

The budget for the series was reported to be around $800 plus, that’s “cost-effective” in racing parlance. However, the world wide financial slippery slope has forced some teams to offer seats at much discounted rates.

Ten teams were awarded entry into the new series, with each team operating three cars per event. Bruno Michel, the series organizer, “The entry selection process has been thought off very carefully and we have only selected teams that proved to be most successful in their categories.”

ART Grand Prix team, famous for winning championships in GP2 and F3 Euro Series, is the pre-season favorite to provide the championship winning driver. Roster of the Frederic Vasseur and Nicolas Todt led team, include American Alexander Rossi and Monterrey, Mexico’s Esteban Gutierrez. The duo dueled in their rookie season of Formula BMW USA in 2007. Both had impressive wins and finished one-two in the rookie standings, Esteban edging the Nevada City Californian for the rookie championship title.

Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber has teamed up with team manager, Christian Horner, in establishing MW Arden team. Their star driver is Denmark’s Michael Christensen, a karting champion who successfully raced in Formula BMW Europe past two seasons.

Spanish karting champion Miki Monras is Mark’s first driver, and finished in the top five in the 2009 Formula Renault Euro Cup.

At Status Racing, Ireland’s Gary Anderson, who designed Eddie Jordan’s first F1 car, is the Technical Consultant and Canadian Teddy Yip is one of the team owners. His father ran the Theodore Racing team in Formula 1.

The team is reported to be in discussion with a couple of North American drivers, named should be revealed when the testing begins on March 4 at Paul Ricard.

Second pre-season test will also take place at Paul Ricard at the end of this month. Final pre-season test will commence on April 13 at Circuit de Catalunya, venue of the first race in May.

The eight round series will be staged in conjunction with F1 events except for the Portuguese event in June at the Portimao circuit in Algarve.

The Contenders.

American Express. Alexander Rossi. The California kid made worldwide headlines at the end of 2008 when he became the first American to win the prestigious Formula BMW World Finals in Mexico City. This was followed by three victories and rookie of the year honors in the 2009 Formula Master International. Currently competing in GP2 Asia series, Rossi is regarded by racing insiders, “those who know” as the real deal and America’s next best hope in Formula 1.

Mexican Machismo. Esteban Gutierrez. Monster mash from Monterrey is already under the wings of Peter Sauber, the man who brought little Kimi to F1. Immensely talented and considered by ex-team owner Josef Kaufmann as quick as Hulkenberg, Gutierrez won the 2008 Formula BMW Europe championship with seven victories, six of those in a row. A season in cut throat world of F3 Euro Series has prepared him well for GP3 this year. Currently resides in Paris.

Toronto Pronto. Robert Wickens. Now out of Red Bull steam the talented Canadian is a winner in every series he competes in. Formula BMW, Atlantic, A1GP and F2, Wickens was wicked quick from the beginning in each series. He won both the opening races of the re-launched Formula 2 championship last year. Mechanical problems cost him the title and the Red Bull support. He is now charging ahead to find funding for a seat. In GP3 he just may spray Canadian Mist on the competition.

— Nasir Hameed

Racing regards from California.