GP2 and GP3 head to Sky

There has been plenty of motor racing news over the past few days, so this might be a long post!

Formula Renault 3.5
Eurocup champion Robin Frijns graduates to the elite Renault series, where he will be driving alongside Carlos Huertas at Fortec. Meanwhile Kevin Korjus, who came sixth in his rookie season with three wins, continues with Tech 1. P1 Motorsport, as last season, will field Daniil Move alongside Austrian driver Walter Grubmuller.
There are well-founded rumours that Arden and Caterham will be joining together for the 2012 FR 3.5 campaign, with Alexander Rossi alongside Lewis Williamson. However, these have not yet been confirmed. Wikipedia also lists a number of other drivers, but these have not been confirmed by the teams.

GP2 and GP3
The two F1 support series will no longer be shown by Eurosport but by Sky, which is good news for fans fed up with delayed GP2 coverage. The races will be shown on Sky Sports F1. This will definitely make the series more popular with fans. The series have changed their Twitter usernames to @GP2_Official (formerly @feeder_series) and @GP3_Official (formerly @stepping_series) respectively, which will help avoid confusion in the future.

Former F1 drivers
Rubens Barrichello has been testing the new IndyCar chassis at Sebring, primarily to help out his friend – KV Racing’s Tony Kanaan – but also to get a taste for the cars. He has said that he would consider entering the series next year, but this would depend on his wife giving him permission. Motor Racing is a scary sport, and especially with Dan Wheldon’s death so close at hand it would be a hard decision to make.
Adrian Sutil has had his court case after the incident with Eric Lux in a Chinese nightclub last year. The former Force India driver was given an 18-month suspended sentence and a large fine. This is likely to kill the German’s racing career, as he will find it difficult to get a visa for many countries.
Nick Heidfeld is moving on, and has confirmed that he will be taking part in the new FIA WEC at the Sebring 12 Hours, Spa 6 Hours and Le Mans alongside Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost. This will be for the Rebellion team in a Lola-Toyota LMP1 car. The last time Heidfeld competed at Le Mans was in 1999.

Formula One
McLaren’s MP4-27 was successfully launched yesterday, with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as well as test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey. The event was streamed online. The car is generally quite similar to the MP4-26, though it has a lower nose. Unlike Caterham, however, the nose does not have a strange dip in it to pass technical regulations.
Ferrari, however, have had to cancel tomorrow’s launch due to an overabundance of snow at Maranello. Photos and a technical Q&A will be launched on their website.

i1 SuperSeries
The 2012 i1 Super Series has been cancelled. The series will now begin in 2013. This is disappointing for all the drivers hoping to take part, and for everyone wanting to watch. The names associated with the series suggested it would be a great thing to watch, but now we shall have to wait another year.

i1 Supercar Series tests in Abu Dhabi

Unlike footballers and musicians, racing drivers don’t usually have their private lives on display to the public. So it was a surprise today when Fernando Alonso revealed that he would be divorcing his wife, Spanish singer Raquel del Rosario.

In happier news, Columbian Julian Leal will be driving alongside Stephane Richelmi at Trident in the 2012 GP2 season. Leal drove with Trident at the GP2 final after a difficult debut season with Rapax, and will be hoping to pick up some points! He won Italian F3000 in 2008 despite not winning a single race.

The i1 Supercar Series was testing in Abu Dhabi today. There is an interesting mix of drivers, with F1 stars from the past including Jacques Villeneuve and Jean Alesi alongside up-and-coming international drivers such as Armaan Ebrahim and Matthias Lauda, and future Indian stars. The fastest of all in today’s test was Parthiva Sureshwaren, but one group of international drivers was particularly speedy. There will also be two female drivers taking part – Pippa Mann and Cyndie Allemann. Pippa is an Indycar driver from Britain, while Cyndie is a Swiss driver who has tried out a number of disciplines.
There are 27 drivers, and in each round of two races eighteen of them will be chosen – two for each of the nine teams. India is clearly determined to get passionate about motor racing. It will never match cricket, but I think the country will do a good job. Hopefully the work of passionate Indians will make sure the country will host Formula One for many years to come.
The first race will be at Sepang on January 21st.

i1 Super Series

There’s great excitement buzzing in India. Not only are they having their first Grand Prix this year, but the first major Indian racing series will be taking place over the European winter. As part of the incredible campaign to make motor racing as mainstream as cricket in India (a big ask, let me assure you), the I1 Super Series (I1SS) will be kicking off at the New Delhi track the weekend before Christmas. It seems to be similar to Superleague Formula.

Normally, this would be nothing to shout home about, but some of the names associated with the series already make it worth watching. There will be nine teams of two drivers each. One driver will be Indian, the other international. There are only about nine Indian racing drivers out there, and I can only name four of them – Chandhok, Karthikeyan, Sureshwaren and Ebrahim. As for the international drivers, names like Schumacher (Ralf), Hakkinen and Fisichella are being bandied about. And of course Karun’s teammates Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, and Narain’s teammate Tonio Liuzzi, have been mentioned.

So with such talent, and with Sachin Tendulkar the great Indian cricketer becoming an ambassador for the series (he’s a big F1 fan too), India should really get to see how incredible motor racing is. Apart from the four Indian drivers I mentioned, nobody has been confirmed for the series. But it would be a good way to keep up with the racing during the off-season, and with three F1 tracks in the calendar – India, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia – it’s good practice too.

I’ll be bringing you more information as I find out about it, but for now the website is i1superseries.com