Trident take over Addax in GP3

GP2 team Trident Racing announced today that they will be entering the GP3 series in place of Addax, with whom they have made an agreement. The Italian team have had a successful GP2 career, and are hoping to expand themselves into the category’s junior series. Meanwhile Addax will be focusing on GP2, having become team champions this season.

Trident began participating in GP2 in 2006. Their seasons have been up-and-down, picking up four wins before they got any other podium finishes, but never with any consistency. This is never more dramatically shown than in the Monaco sprint of 2008, when Mike Conway and Ho-Pin Tung scored a Trident 1-2. It was Ho-Pin Tung’s second and last points score of the season – the first coming in the feature race where he finished seventh. Conway also had only a handful of points finishes.
This year, Trident racing have been Rodolfo Gonzalez and GP3 graduate Stefano Coletti. And the Monegasque driver did them proud, picking up points throughout the season. This included two sprint race wins, coming back from 21st in Hungary due to clever tactics. Unfortunately his teammate has failed to score points, and Coletti was injured at Spa. He was replaced by compatriot Stephane Richelmi at Monza, but should return next season.

Addax’s GP2 success has been phenomenal. Founded in 2005 as Campos Racing, their first two seasons were not impressive. But in 2007 they finished third in the driver’s championship with Vitaly Petrov and Giorgio Pantano. The name change came in 2008, and since then the team has been champion twice and runner-up twice. They have successfully brought two GP2 runner-ups into F1 (Petrov and Perez) and also did a good job with Grosjean in 2009 before he joined Renault.
This season, both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde have had strong seasons for Addax, and both would have deserved to be runner-up or third-placed. Despite being beaten by Bianchi and Filippi in the final rounds, they still won the team their championship.
In GP3, they haven’t had the same success, finishing eighth both years. They had a couple of podiums in 2010, and two more this year with Dean Smith.

I hope the switchover goes well, and that Trident have a successful time in GP3. As for Addax, expect another strong GP2 season for 2012.

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Mancinelli goes to Mucke

Italian F3 driver Daniel Mancinelli will be driving for Mucke Motorsport in the last two rounds of the GP3 season according to the Italian press. The team have not said anything about who he will be replacing, but with Nigel Melker competing for the championship, and Michael Christensen taking two podiums, it is likely to be Luciano Bacheta whom he replaces. Bacheta has only scored points once this season, in the race at Silverstone when most drivers had to pit at the end of their warm-up lap for wet tyres. Bacheta’s good strategy call allowed him to finish fifth.
Overall, he is simply doing worse than his teammates, and it makes sense for him to be replaced. It will be disappointing for him not to see out the end of the season. If Carlin had not already used up their quota of drivers for the season (5 max – Dillmann, Daly, Cordeiro, Morad and MacLeod) I would say he could go there.

Daniel has been in Italian F3 since 2010. He had a great first season and finished fourth, taking two wins including one from pole. He also had five other podiums and a fastest lap, finishing 10 points behind Andrea Caldarelli, 15 behind Stephane Richelmi, and 23 behind Cesar Ramos, but ahead of Christopher Zanella and Gabby Chaves. This season having won the first race, his points have been limited and he struggled in Spa, so he is tenth. But there are still four races to go, none of which clash with the GP3 races, so he still has a good chance.

Thanks to @remdev80 for pointing this news out to me.

Carlin adjust their GP3 lineup

For the remainder of the 2011 season in GP3, Carlin Racing will be joined by brilliant British driver Callum MacLeod, who replaces Canadian driver Daniel Morad. He graduates from the European F3 Open, having finished 2nd last year with equal points to 3rd place Italian David Fumanelli (same number of wins but more second places) despite missing the final two races. The previous season he won the Copa F306/300 class of that series, far ahead of 2nd place Tono Fernandez and 3rd place Jose Luis Abadin, and finished 9th overall. Both seasons he beat Kevin Ceccon.
Before that he competed in British Formula Three, but only competed in four races, having won British Formula Ford in 2007 with Jamun Racing. He took 14 wins, 17 poles and 19 fastest laps that season in the 24 races. Show off! Sadly, he hasn’t won the Autosport McLaren BDRC award, having been beaten to it in 2007 and 2009.

Carlin have so far scored 8 points this season. Hopefully their trio Callum, Leo and Conor should be able to score a few more in the remaining 8 races, and show the world of GP3 just why they have more than 200 victories in their less than 12 full seasons of racing.

The ups and downs of Arden

GP3 tests got underway today in Hungary. In the morning session, the fastest driver was GP3’s youngest ever race winner Mitch Evans. He’s really shining for Arden, who after several years struggling in GP2 are making a comeback. Arden were the kings of Formula 3000 before it became GP2, with Tonio Liuzzi taking the title for them, and in 2005 when boss Christian Horner began moving his focus towards his new job with Red Bull, Heikki Kovalainen came second for them in the first GP2 season.
Heikki Kovalainen won five races for Arden in 2005, taking four pole positions. He also took one of the team’s two fastest laps. His teammate took the other, along with a pole position. Since then they have struggled in GP2. Last year they finished eighth. Here’s a quick summary.

Year

Wins

Poles

Podiums

F. laps

Pts

C’ship

2005

5

5

13

2

126

2nd

2006

1

0

6

1

57

4th

2007

1

0

2

0

44

7th

2008

2

0

6

0

56

6th

2009

1

0

3

3

41

8th

2010

1

1

2

0

32

7th

So far this year, Arden have no wins, no poles, no fastest laps and one podium, with second-placed Josef Kral finishing P2 in the Monaco sprint race. With nine points, the team stands eighth in the championship.
GP3 is looking better, with Mitch Evans the stand out driver. The rookie is currently third in the championship, just five points behind leader Nigel Melker. He, Andrea Caldarelli (who is being replaced) and Nigel Melker are far ahead of the other drivers. Neither of Arden’s other drivers have scored points just yet, but the team stands third in the championship.

Arden is named after the Forest of Arden, an area close to my home in England.You might also recognise the name if you know about Shakespeare. His mother was Mary Arden, and you can visit Mary Arden’s House near Stratford (Warwickshire, not London). Mary Arden’s family owned the forest. So I’m a bit of a fan, and will be supporting them. Their GP3 ability is shining through. On the GP2 record, a lot of Arden’s drivers have gone on to finish well in the series for other teams. Bruno Senna came second with iSport, Sergio Perez finished second with Addax, and Charles Pic is currently third with Addax. Sebastien Buemi moved straight from Arden to driving for Toro Rosso.

Changes in GP3

Over the weekend, French driver Tom Dillmann was proud to announce that he’s been signed up by Addax for the remainder of the GP3 season. Tom drove in Turkey for Carlin before they dumped him in favour of Canadian Daniel Morad in Barcelona. Dillmann, who with eight points is sixth in the championship, replaces New Zealander Dominic Storey – who so far has failed to score any points and is 29th in the championship.
Thomas Hylkema, who drove for Addax in the pre-season tests, comes into Tech 1 Racing to replace Andrea Caldarelli, who is currently two points below championship leader Nigel Melker. Hylkema, like Melker, is Dutch. He graduates from Formula Renault 2.0 UK, having driven for Manor Racing in 2009 and 2010.
Addax will also be replacing Dean Smith (currently 9th with 7 points) with Spanish driver Fernando Monje at least for the upcoming mid-season test in Hungary. Monje competed in the European F3 Open championship last year, finishing 6th two places below Kevin Ceccon. He has been taking part in the same competition this year, and after four races is 13th in the championship.

FIA backs down temporarily

F1
The FIA have temporarily un-banned blown diffusers just a few hours after they banned them. It’s not apparent why, but is probably partially due to complaints from the teams that they didn’t have enough time to make changes. They are all supposed to be at the track by Thursday – if not sooner – and there’s no way they could make such fundemental changes to their design on time. The teams would need to make massive changes to their engine mapping. I am not sure what that is, but apparently it allows them to keep gases flowing through the diffuser at the same rate when the driver is on the throttle or on the brakes. This gives added aerodynamic performance to the cars.
We can expect that ‘off-throttle’ usage of blown diffusers will be banned as soon as possible by the FIA. When this happens, they will still be allowed to use the style of diffuser, but not while braking. It will be interesting to see how the teams are affected by this.
Some fans are concerned that this has been attempted to be implemented by the FIA as a reaction to Red Bull’s dominance, particularly Vettel. With all the teams currently trying to implement the concept on their cars, and it not affecting safety in any way, perhaps this is a silly rule change.

GP3
Carlin have announced that Canadian Daniel Morad, who drove a full GP3 season for Status GP last year, will be coming in alongside Conor Daly and Leo Cordeiro for the remainder of the year. Morad won one GP in 2010 but finished 12th as he didn’t have many other points finishes.

The first Spanish GP press conference starts tomorrow, and then it’s FP1 and 2 on Friday. I’ll get the full weekend timetable posted up here when I can find it, and this time I’ll stick it to the top of the blog to make sure it’s easy to find.

Tom Dillmann dropped?

GP3
Disappointing news for Tom Dillmann, who had a fantastic start to his GP3 campaign in Turkey. Having taken third place in the first race after being on pole position, he stands 4th in the championship on equal points with Alex Sims. However, he won’t be driving for Carlin this weekend in Barcelona. Considering that he is currently way ahead of Carlin’s other two drivers – Conor Daly and Leo Cordeiro – in the championship standings, it seems a strange decision.
This has only been reported on Twitter so far through the driver’s account. There has been no information from Carlin on their Twitter account or website. Tom is currently working with his management to try and get back in the car for Valencia at the end of June.

F1
Following the earthquake in Lorca (Murcia, Spain), Hispania Racing are working hard to support the efforts of their countrymen, and helping to raise money to support the victims. The team’s headquarters are based in that area, as well as in Germany and expanding into the UK. Part of the fundraising involves a friendly football match between Real Madrid and Murcia locals, which will be attended by the president of Hispania, Jose Ramon Carabante, and the president of Murcia Basketball Club. The game will also be on Spanish national TV, so someone might stream it if you want to watch.
I can only wish Hispania all the best with the fundraising efforts, and offer my best wishes and prayers to Spain, Murcia and Lorca.