Alexander RossiAlexander Rossi finishes 3rd in Round 9 of International Formula Master Series main race after qualifying in 4th. This past weekend rounds 9 and 10 of International Formula Master Series were held at the Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. This was the first of two opportunities on the IFM calendar for drivers to compete in front of the F1 team bosses and fans. The next opportunity at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgium Grand Prix in August.

With the series standard Friday practice session eliminated by Formula One due to scheduling constraints, everyone headed straight into qualifying on Friday evening. Alexander and ISR Racing secured a fourth position on the grid despite brake issues the plagued the session.

“I was disappointed after the session,” says Alexander. “We have been struggling with rear brake problems since the beginning of our weekend in Brands Hatch and have continued to experience problems thus far in Hungary. The car and I had the pace for pole position, but we were not able to capitalize on this as we had to bleed the brake system during qualifying. Hopefully, we can resolve this issue in time for tomorrow’s race so that we may challenge for the victory.”

While the braking problems were solved in time for Sunday’s race, a front wing failure on lap 14 forced him to register his first retirement of the year.

“I’m pleased that we solved the brake problems,” said ISR team boss Igor Salaquarda, “but I’m very angry about the front wing failure because a part like that shouldn’t fail. I have informed Formula Master that I am going to make my own bolts for the front wing in time for the next race. As for Alexander’s performance, he drove very well this weekend and particularly in race one. He impresses me more each weekend and I hope he can keep this forward momentum going.”

RACE ONE: 17 laps / Grid 4, Finish 3
Alexander drove a great opening lap to overtake Earl Bamber in third place, after which he ran in a train of cars behind eventual race winner Josef Kral. Around lap 6 of the race his rear dampener failed, forcing him to back off, but he was far enough ahead of fourth-placed Alexander Sims not to lose a position.

“This podium is definitely filled with mixed emotions,” said Alexander after the race. “For sure, it is nice to be on the podium at a Formula One event. I was able to move into P3 at the start and ran with the lead duo for the first six laps or so until my left rear dampener failed in turn 9. I immediately had to begin to go on the defensive as I could no longer keep the pace of Kral and Leimer. Fortunately, I was able to keep my third position, but once again I know that the team gave me a car that was good enough for a stronger finish.”

RACE TWO: 17 laps / Grid 6, Finish DNF
Alexander made a good start from the dirty side of the grid, gaining one position off the line. He then showed consistent pace in the middle part of the race, overtaking race one winner Josef Kral on lap 8, before having to retire when the front wing fell off.

“I was able to get off to a good start and moved into fifth during the opening lap,” reported Rossi. “Immediately the top five cars began to break away from the rest of the field, which made it easier for me to just focus on getting around Kral. I was able to do so about eight laps into the race, but that was as far as I could go as my front wing loosened over the next couple laps and eventually fell off under braking to turn 10. I do not understand how a front wing just fails when there is no contact. Right now I am focusing on Spa and knowing that the team and I can move on and establish a pace to be at the top.”

There is now a five-week break in the International Formula Master calendar, prior to the next race at Spa-Francorchamps, where the series will support the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.

“We had a winning pace at Spa when we tested there in June,” says Alexander. “I am confident with the circuit and now with the brakes sorted there is no reason why we should not be on top. This is important in front of F1 teams..”

Up next for International Formula Master, with Formula 1 at Spa Francorchamps for Belgium Grand Prix, August 28-30 for rounds 11 and 12.

Photo by Dawn Rossi, Team Rossi Motorsports, LLC