Marlon Stockinger, who drove for Atech CRS in 2011, will continue in the series but with Status GP. Filipino-Swiss driver Stockinger was consistently fast in post-season testing, and hopes to do better than the 0 points he scored last season. This wasn’t completely Marlon’s fault, as the team only scored seven points in the whole season – all of which came at the extraordinary British Grand Prix from Nick Yelloly.
Three more cars were launched today – Sauber, Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Sauber’s livery features notably more black than last season, covering the back, and the front wings. All three feature the now-familiar stepped nose, and you have to ask – if Adrian Newey’s team thought the stepped nose was the best answer to the rule changes, have McLaren made a mistake somewhere? Out of the eight cars so-far launched (Williams’ will be revealed tomorrow), only McLaren lacks the ‘step’. All will soon be revealed, with pre-season testing starting tomorrow and the Australian Grand Prix only 40 days away.
Jaime Alguersuari has revealed that he was offered a seat with a leading team before the end of last season – and no wonder, he did a brilliant job! – but turned it down because he had verbal assurance from Red Bull and Toro Rosso that he would be retained for this year. This is not how it played out, of course. While Alguersuari considered HRT, he decided not to go there as he is still a young driver, with hopes of driving for a midfield team. It seems likely that the Spaniard will find a place as a reserve driver at one of the better teams this season.
Finally, it was one year ago today that Robert Kubica was badly injured in a rallying accident. While we all hoped he would be back on the grid for 2012, it was not to be. The Pole hopes to get back in a racing car some time this year, and who knows whether we’ll see him in a Ferrari come 2013?
The GP3 teams are testing in Valencia this week. Along with several 2011 drivers, there are a few other names worth pointing out.
Conor Daly (USA, Carlin)
Matias Laine (FIN, Manor)
Tamas Pal Kiss (HUN, Atech CRS) drove for Tech 1
Marlon Stockinger (CZE, ART) drove for Atech CRS this season
Maxim Zimin (RUS, Arden) drove for Jenzer
Notable new drivers:
Daniel Abt (GER, ART) 2010 F3 Germany runner-up
Tom Blomqvist (GBR, Status), 2010 British Formula Renault champion
Will Buller (GBR, Carlin) 4th in British F3, 6th in Macau GP
Michela Cerruti (ITA, Addax) Superstars International Series race winner; a rare female racer
Tio Ellinas (GBR, Manor) third in Formula Renault UK
Fabio Gamberini (BRA, Arden) 3rd in Euro F3 Open
Michael Heche (SUI, Jenzer) third in Formula Arbath Europe
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Jenzer) Formula Arbath Italy champion, Formula Arbath Europe runner-up
Yuhi Sekiguchi (JPN, Mucke) Japanese F3 champion
Will Stevens (GBR, Arden) 2 podiums in four Formula Renault UK races
Robert Visoiu (ROM, Jenzer) notable for his age – 15 years
Pascal Wehrlein (GER, Mucke) ADAC Formel Masters champion
Marlon Stockinger – 27
Marlon is a bit of an unlucky driver. He’s usually one of the first to retire – which means he goes out in the first lap – but when he does stay in the race he finishes midfield. In the British Grand Prix, he had 30s added to his race time demoting him from 9th to 16th after he ignored waved yellow flags – although to be fair that was a serious offence.
Best qualifying: 17
Worst qualifing: 30
Best finish: 12 (Hungaroring feature)
Worst finish: 26 (Barcelona feature)
Ivan Lukashevich – 26
Russian Ivan partners Alex Sims and Antonio Felix da Costa at Status GP, and the trio seem to get on well if their Twitter interation is anything to go by. Lukashevich is not doing as well as his teammates, but he is slowly getting there. So far his results do not display consistency: he might finish 14th in the feature race then nearly last in the sprint. However, an 11th place finish in the Nurburgring feature was enough to get him 26th in the championship.
Best qualifying: 12
Worst qualifing: 24
Best finish: 11 (Nurburgring feature)
Worst finish: 28 (Hungaroring feature)