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Category: European F3 Championship

Antonio GiovinazziAntonio Giovinazzi secured his, and Double R Racing’s, first points in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in the UK over the weekend, 18th/19th May, ending the outing with a career-best ninth place finish in round 12 of the season.

Impressive in all three outings, the Italian started off by slicing his way through from 18th on the grid into 11th place in round 10, on a track notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities in F3, and was credited with his first point of 2013 due to guest driver Daniil Kvyat being ineligible to score.

While round 11, wasn’t as fruitful, the final race of the weekend produced another star performance from the Double R driver and all after an unfortunate stall at the start. Recovering superbly from the back of the 28-car field, Giovinazzi raced through into the top 10 but post-race was elevated to ninth when winner and series leader Raffaele Marciello was excluded.

Team-mates Tatiana Calderón and Sean Gelael achieved best results of 20th position and 22nd place in rounds 12 and 11 respectively, finishes not necessarily indicative of the strong drives produced by both rookies at the tight and twisty 1.2-mile track.

While delighted for Double R Racing to have claimed the first championship points of its maiden season at European level with Giovinazzi, team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt believes the series organisers need to reconsider visiting Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in the future.

“It’s great to have scored our first points and just a shame Antonio stalled in the third race as we would definitely have had a few more”, said Hieatt, “The FIA and the other F3 people really need to look again at using this circuit [Indy Circuit], it’s unsuitable for our championship and I feel like the drivers and teams have been let down by coming here.”

Qualifying on Friday, 17th May, was split into two groups due to expected congestion during the all-important session and Giovinazzi emerged as the best of the Double R drivers starting 18th on the grid for round 10 with Gelael 25th and Calderon in 27th place.

Despite overtaking being at a premium, Giovinazzi managed to make outstanding progress to scythe his way through the order very impressively. Moving into 17th place on lap two, he remained there until just before mid-distance when taking 16th and latching onto a six car train ahead. From there he moved into 14th by lap 27, gained two more places on lap 35 and then took 11th to cap a great drive.

Calderón fought through from final row of the grid to finish in 22nd position, one place ahead of Gelael who had initially run ahead of his team-mate. Gaining two spots early on, the Indonesian slipped back to 25th after a slight moment out of Paddock Hill Bend on lap four before losing more ground at the same corner seven laps from the finish when running slightly wide through the gravel.

Round 11 proved to be more processional than the opening encounter and although starting in 14th place, Giovinazzi had to settle for 16th after being shuffled back on lap eight. Gelael made a terrific launch from 26th on the grid to surge through to the cusp of the top 20 on lap one alone but was then elbowed back to 24th on the second tour. The 16-year-old recovered to 22nd before the finish.

Colombian racer Calderón enjoyed a close battle with fellow lady racer Michela Cerruti and emerged on top on lap 22 with a good run out of Paddock Hill Bend up to Druids. Although served with a drive-through penalty, Calderón still managed to better Cerruti by finishing in 25th position.

Sunday morning’s 12th round began badly for Giovinazzi with his stall but his drive through the order was mightily impressive. Even though aided by a Safety Car period and drive through penalties for some of the front-runners, he was still in sparkling form and thoroughly deserved his ninth place.

Calderón started the final race of the weekend in 28th position but delivered a determined drive to end the encounter inside the top 20 – and all after making a mid-race pit-stop. At the finish she had battled back to within just 0.2 seconds of Cerutti.

Gelael raced well from 23rd on the grid into 12th place by lap 26 but was given a drive-through for not heeding yellow flags when Eddie Cheever went off at Druids avoiding Alex Lynn’s stricken car. Running in 20th place with six laps to go, Gelael then pitted to retire after suffering an arm spasm when hitting a kerb heavily.

“Sean and Tatiana both raced well this weekend”, commented Hieatt, “It’s so tough to try and make any progress at Brands Indy, they both did a good job and although the results weren’t what they would have wanted the experience they gained will be vital as the season moves on.

“I thought Sean was really unlucky to get a drive-through in the last race, he was behind [Eddie] Cheever when he went off so had cleared the area when the flags came out. After banging his arm, the safest and most sensible thing to do was pit as he lost all feeling in it.”

Red Bull Ring in Austria will host rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship a fortnight from now on 1st/2nd June. Double R, though, will be back on track next weekend, 25th/26th May, at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit for the opening three rounds of the revitalised Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist continued to feature among the frontrunners as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship visited the British venue of Brands Hatch this weekend. The Swede took the chequered flag in fourth place in the opening race of the meeting and went on to add further valuable points to his tally by coming home fifth among the 29 runners in Saturday’s Race 2, before being propelled onto the podium in Sunday’s concluding Race 3 after championship rival Raffaele Marciello was disqualified for a technical infringement.

Rosenqvist enjoyed a strong start to the weekend, as he immediately topped the opening free practice session on Friday afternoon. The 21-year-old Mücke Motorsport youngster then went on to go third fastest in qualifying, where he was one of just four drivers – and the only one not racing for reigning champions Prema Powerteam – to dip below the 41-second mark. Due to a Brands Hatch-specific qualifying structure, however – aimed at reducing traffic around the 1.9 km venue by splitting the field into two groups – Rosenqvist was forced to start all three of the weekend’s races from fifth on the grid; leaving him with little room for a victory assault given the exceptionally tight confines and limited overtaking opportunities at the British track.

“I always aim to win and will never be satisfied unless I do – but at the same time, we have to realise that we probably made the most out of the cards we had on hand this weekend,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “The level of competition in this championship is incredible, and a good example of that played out to my disadvantage in qualifying; where one hundredth of a second meant the vital difference between third and fifth on the grid for Sunday’s final race. It’s just impossible to overtake around here, and I personally don’t think this is what racing should be about; if you’re faster than the car in front, you have to be given a fair chance of getting ahead. Considering how things transpired, we have to be happy with having scored yet another podium on a weekend when not everything worked out in our favour. Big thanks to the team for having given me a fast and reliable car.”

The next round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in two weeks. Felix Rosenqvist currently remains in second place in the overall standings.

Photo: Mattias Persson.

Tom BlomqvistRed Bull Junior Team’s Tom Blomqvist climbed into the top six of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship driver standings at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, thanks to top six results in races one and two and a fifth place finish in race three.

As expected before the event, qualifying proved to be the most decisive part of the second UK race meeting of 2013 and, due to the confines of the tight and twisty 1.2-mile circuit, the 29-strong field was split into two groups to alleviate the impact of traffic.

Starting race one, round 10, from seventh on the grid, less than 0.2 seconds shy of pole position, Blomqvist made a great getaway but had to tuck back in to seventh through Paddock Hill Bend. With passing pretty much impossible in an F3 car at the Kent track’s shortest configuration, the Eurointernational driver held seventh until lap 35 when Sven Muller slowed with a problem.

Elevating the Briton into sixth, he remained there to the finish but a fantastic run out of Clark Curve on the final lap almost gave him fifth on the line – missing out by just 0.071 seconds.

Round 11 was a near carbon-copy of the first encounter although Blomqvist managed to leap from seventh to sixth through the first couple of corners. While another largely uneventful race, the Dallara-Mercedes driver did challenge for fifth late on but had to settle for sixth.

Sunday morning’s 12th round provided a sterner test for Blomqvist, beginning the encounter 11th on the grid, but he rose to the challenge and produced a faultless drive into sixth once again. Breaking into the top 10 off the start, the 19-year-old moved into ninth on lap seven and a mistake for Alex Lynn on lap 15 elevated Blomqvist into eighth.

Following a mid-race Safety Car period several competitors were served with drive-through penalties, for not slowing sufficiently during the recovery of Lynn’s car, meaning Blomqvist was able to deservingly climb into the top six. Post-race, an exclusion for winner Raffaele Marciello promoted Blomqvist into fifth to cap a consistently strong weekend.

Tom Blomqvist:
“It was an OK weekend, we scored good points so I have to be happy enough with that. Overall it’s not been so bad, qualifying for race three we didn’t maximise but in the end we came through – had some fortune with a couple of guys making mistakes – and got the points. We made progress, both me and the team, so now we need to keep pushing forward for the next one in Austria.”

Red Bull Ring will be the venue for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season on 1st/2nd June.

Harry Tincknell has claimed a brilliant podium position following the third race of the weekend’s FIA Formula Three European Championship action at Brands Hatch. Nicolas Latifi also enjoyed a strong result coming home to collect points for eighth place however it was a race marred by penalties for both Jordan King and Daniil Kvyat while Jann Mardenborough suffered contact and was forced to retire on the opening lap.

Lining up on the second row of the grid British racer Tincknell enjoyed a fast getaway as the lights went out to mark the start of racing action. Kvyat and Latifi had both made up places as well however Mardenborough, who had started in tenth position, was tapped and spun around in the opening lap. The resulting damage, broken suspension, ensured he was not able to continue and brought his race to an end.

Meanwhile Latifi was battling hard for position with Mitch Gilbert however the pair came together; thankfully this incident caused no damage for the Carlin man and he was able to continue in 14th position.

With the opening laps complete, and everyone settled in to a rhythm, Tincknell was holding fourth position, King was eighth, Kvyat 12th and Latifi 14th. However everything was to change when Alex Lynn spun from third and stopped on track. This dangerous position caused the deployment of a Safety Car when Mans Grenhagen subsequently ploughed into Lynn’s stopped car. This meant that Tincknell had moved up to third as a result.

When track action was resumed the Carlin men held positions well at the restart however a slew of penalties, up and down the field, for yellow flag infringements were to shape the remainder of the race. Both King and Kvyat were in the group of those handed drive through penalties which placed them down the order upon re-joining the track; 12th and 15th respectively once the rest of the penalties had been taken.

Latifi was one of those who benefitted from the action happening around him and as a result moved up to eighth place and, more importantly, was in free air away from traffic; keeping this position and pulling a gap to those behind him saw the Canadian driver take the flag in a great eighth place – picking up valuable championship points.

Meanwhile at the front Tincknell was running a strong race with his pace consistent and keeping a good gap to Felix Rosenqvist behind. With his experience showing the Carlin man took a brilliant podium position for third place.

Unfortunately, after serving their penalties earlier in the race, King and Kvyat were outside the top ten and came home in 12th and 15th respectively.

Tincknell said of his podium, ‘I had a good start, I tried challenging Lucas (Auer) ahead but it’s difficult to do so here. Once the race settled into a rhythm we had strong pace so we knew we were looking good. When Alex (Lynn) went off I had to avoid him but then that put me in a podium position; from then on I just continued with the pace I knew I had.

‘It’s a great result for me and for the team – I know they’ve been working really hard as always and so we now continue to push ready for the next round.’

Latifi added, ‘I’m really happy with the way the race went today, it’s good to end the weekend on a high note compared to the other two races. I had an average start and got a bit of contact from behind but my main opportunity on the first lap was after Jann was taken out which bunched the field up.

‘After that I ran my own race. I knew that there were drive through penalties coming to a few drivers but I made sure to keep a consistent pace and take the race from there. It’s good to come away with these points.’

Felix Rosenqvist, Hockenheim 5Felix Rosenqvist claimed his second win of the season when the FIA Formula 3 European Championship reached Hockenheim this weekend. The Swede used an extraordinary start to grab the lead from fourth on the grid in Sunday’s concluding race, as he repeated his success of Silverstone from three weeks ago – where he scored his first triumph of 2013.

Rosenqvist leaves the German Grand Prix venue having cemented his second place in the overall standings, after having added to his points tally by finishing eighth and tenth respectively in the opening two races of the meeting – results which were compromised by the Mücke Motorsport man encountering traffic on his flying laps in the first segment of Friday qualifying. In the second qualifying outing, however, Rosenqvist proved to be a pole position contender, eventually ending up on the second row in the 29-car field – just 0.169 seconds adrift of first place.

Sunday’s victory marks Rosenqvist’s fourth F3 triumph at Hockenheim.

“A great way to end the weekend, and it feels fantastic to have won at Hockenheim once again,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “We had to fight an uphill struggle following the issues of Qualifying 1, and that unfortunately hurt us quite a lot in the first two races – and we probably haven’t had quite the outright pace we were hoping for this weekend. I knew it would take a perfect race with no mistakes to win today, and that makes this victory extra special. I made a really good start and managed to defend my lead over the first half of the race, and the car then came into life for real during the second part, which enabled me to build a gap over the rest of the field. We still have some work to do before we are where we want to be, but the team has done a great job this weekend and we’re moving in the right direction. They really deserved this success.”

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship resumes at Brands Hatch, Great Britain, on May 17-19.

Photo by Mattias Persson.

Daniil KvyatRed Bull Junior Daniil Kyvat will contest the Hockenheim round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin, joining the team’s regular four car line-up. The 18 year-old Russian who is completing a full time programme in the GP3 Series this season will make sure he is race fit with his Formula 3 debut at the Hockenheimring from 3 – 5 May.

Despite never competing in a Formula 3 car before, Kyvat’s single seater career is impressive. The Red Bull Junior finished third in the competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Euro championship in 2011 and just missed out on the title in 2012 finishing vice champion with nine podiums including seven wins.

A regular front runner in this year’s GP3 pre-season tests, Kyvat joins Carlin’s successful Formula 3 team, which has already taken two pole positions and a race victory in the first two events of the season.

Kyvat will join Carlin runners Harry Tincknell, Jordan King, Nicholas Latifi and Jann Mardenborough who have all scored points in the opening two rounds at Monza and Silverstone.

Kyvat said, “This will be my first time in an F3 car so it’s going to be very exciting. With my first real experience of the car being in race conditions it will be a challenge and it will mean I’ve got to take it step by step and build up the pace gradually. This race is to improve my experience so I’m not expecting anything magic. I will just do my job and see what it brings. With Carlin I expect we will have good foundations to work from.”

The Red Bull Junior follows in the footsteps of Toro Rosso F1 racers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne who both competed with and won titles with Carlin’s F3 team. “I was very excited when I heard that I would race with Carlin – it was good news for me. I’m honoured to race with the team and its good experience for me. There’s a lot to learn in the car and with a new team but I like the Hockenheim circuit having won there in Formula Renault 2.0 so it should be a positive experience.”

Trevor Carlin added, “We’re delighted that the Red Bull Junior programme have placed Daniil with us for Hockenheim. He’s a very exciting driver and has shown a lot of talent in his career so far. The aim of the weekend is to give Daniil some more experience and it’s very much a learning exercise, but despite that I expect to see some encouraging results from him.”

Felix Rosenqvist, SilverstoneFelix Rosenqvist produced an emphatic performance as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship returned to action at Silverstone this weekend, completing a podium clean-sweep and claiming his first win of the year in thrilling fashion. Rosenqvist used a couple of spectacular overtaking moves around the outside of British home favourites Will Buller and Harry Tincknell to snatch victory in the second race of the meeting, as the Swede joined the winners’ circle in one of the most competitive single-seater series on the junior motor racing arena. To add to his tally, the Mücke Motorsport man came home third in the opening race of the weekend and capped off activities by finishing second in the concluding Race 3, where he was involved in a fierce battle for victory with championship leader Raffaele Marciello.

Rosenqvist, who opened proceedings at the British Grand Prix venue by going fastest in Friday’s free practice session and then went on to feature inside the top three in all of the remaining outings over the weekend, now sits in second place in the overall standings – having out-scored all of his rivals in the 30-car field over the course of the rain-affected event.

“A truly great weekend, and this was exactly what we needed after the challenging premiere we suffered at Monza,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “We’ve been working hard to get ourselves to this level, and it was particularly pleasing to be able to deliver these results on a weekend of such changeable weather. Our pace has been strong in both wet and dry conditions, but there is still room for improvement – and we definitely haven’t reached our maximum potential yet. The Race 2 win was probably the nicest I’ve ever achieved; I was leading the race in the early stages, but then I misunderstood the rules and accidentally lost two places during a safety car restart – and I learned a lot from that mistake. It also made me more determined than ever to fight back and win that race, and eventually I managed to do so. Big, big thanks to the team for giving me a competitive car this weekend – hopefully there will be more to come!”

The next round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship will take place at Hockenheim – where Felix Rosenqvist scored a double victory at the end of last season and holds the current F3 lap record – on May 3-5.

Prema PowerteamThe 20-year-old relationship between Prema Powerteam and Sparco has provided the team’s drivers and staff with racing with premium quality gear and apparel, building a successful history of great satisfactions and high professionalism that is set to carry-on this season in the FIA European F.3 Championship, in the Eurocup F.Renault 2.0 and in the F.Renault 2.0 ALPS series.

Sparco is a flagship in Italian business. Founded in 1977, the company distributes automotive components in addition to providing apparel to drivers and mechanics. The quality and innovative nature of their products enabled Prema Powerteam to rely on the uttermost comfort and performance to pursuit the full optimization of every single aspect of motor competition.

Angelo Rosin – Team Principal
“After so many years together, Prema Powerteam and Sparco are as one and we’re proud to cooperate with such an important Italian outfit. We have always appreciated the quality of their products and that’s why we are celebrating such a sensational 20-year-old partnership today”.

“SPARCO is honored to renew a partnership that has lasted for 20 years and to continue to offer to Prema its experience, innovation and technology. We are looking forward to stepping up on the podium with the Team for many more years to come” comments Claudio Pastoris, C.E.O of Sparco.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist came away with fourth as his best result when the FIA Formula 3 European Championship kicked off at Monza this weekend. The 21-year-old Mücke Motorsport driver got the event off to a strong start by going fastest in Friday’s opening free practice session at the classic Italian venue, but lost out on a shot at a similar result in qualifying after failing to get a decent tow – one of the most important strategic tools available at the ultra-fast circuit – along Monza’s famous straights.

The qualifying mishap forced Rosenqvist to line up 11 on the grid for the first race of the meeting, but a rapid start and a series of overtaking moves saw last year’s Macau Grand Prix runner-up quickly rise through the field – only to be punted into retirement by one of his rivals under braking for the first chicane halfway through. The Swede eventually opened up his 2013 points account in a rain-affected Race 2, however, as he came home fourth after a solid drive in appalling conditions. The third and final race of the weekend was brought to a premature stop amid ever-worsening precipitation.

“It’s great to finally have the season underway and I’m happy to have experienced a circuit like Monza for the first time, but unfortunately, we didn’t maximise our potential here this weekend,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “The pace was genuinely there to battle for the podium – as demonstrated by the fact that my time in free practice would have been good enough to hand me pole position for Race 1 – but I didn’t manage to find that slipstream in qualifying; and that compromised the rest of the weekend. I know what I want to achieve this year, and from that perspective, I’m obviously not satisfied with where we ended up. It’s still a very long season, however, and there’s no point thinking about what could have been; we’re much better off focussing on what’s ahead. The competition is tougher than ever, but I’m convinced that we’ve got what it takes to fight up front.”

The second round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship takes place at Silverstone in the UK – another historic venue – on April 12-14.

Antonio Giovinazzi - Double R RacingItalian racer Antonio Giovinazzi delivered an outstanding performance for Double R Racing during officially timed FIA Formula 3 European Championship testing at Monza on Tuesday, 19th March, to conclude the outing a highly impressive fifth fastest overall, and top rookie, in his Dallara-Mercedes.

Just a few days away from the opening event of the 2013 season at the world famous Italian Grand Prix venue, the 19-year-old F3 rookie was consistently strong throughout on home soil. Lapping with the second fastest time in the morning session, 1m47.235 seconds, he was then fifth in the quicker afternoon run with a best of 1m45.789 seconds to end the day just 0.4 seconds shy of the pace.

Off the back of a similarly impressive outing during official testing at Barcelona in Spain just over a week ago, Giovinazzi has certainly hit the ground running ahead of his – and the team’s – maiden season in the pan-European championship which begins this weekend, 23rd/24th March.

Team-mate Sean Gelael, at 16-years-of-age the youngest and, by far, least experienced driver in the championship, also made significant improvements between the two sessions. Lapping in 1m49.029 seconds in the morning, the Indonesian sliced 1.5 seconds off that in the four hour afternoon session to end the test with a quickest time of 1m47.548 seconds.

Female racer Tatiana Calderón, like Giovinazzi and Gelael embarking on her first ever season in F3, managed to improve by 1.6 seconds between the two sessions to end the day with a fastest lap time of 1m48.203 seconds. The 19-year-old, from Bogota in Colombia, is one of two lady racers in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this year but was comfortably the quickest of the pair.

Running on day one of the test, Monday, 18th March, was cancelled due to unseasonal snow and ice and although yesterday’s action did have a delayed start, six hours of track time was available to the competitors with Double R team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt pleased with initial progress.

“We’re glad to have been so competitive, Antonio was quick all day and for a rookie to have been so consistently fast was very impressive”, said Hieatt, “He’s certainly made a great start and we’ve got high hopes for the weekend’s racing.

“Sean had a couple of moments during the day but he did a good job, and improved throughout. As the youngest driver in the championship it’s a massive step and learning curve, but he’s on the right path. Tatiana had a decent test too, there were a few issues with braking but we sorted those out during the day and she made good progress. At this early stage, we feel it’ll be a good season.”

Double R will be back in action at Monza on Friday, 22nd March, for free practice and qualifying ahead of the opening three rounds of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Race one will take place on Saturday, 23rd March, with two further races on Sunday, 24th March.

Live timing throughout the Monza weekend will be available at www.fiaf3europe.com while live television coverage of the action will be screened on digital satellite and cable channel Motors TV.