Silverstone is on for FR 3.5!

FR 3.5
For a long time, there have been questions about the presence of Silverstone in the World Series by Renault calendar this year. A round had been declared for 25th-26th August, but with no location given. Was the track to be left off the calendar? It seemed even more likely with the WEC’s 6 Hours of Silverstone set for that weekend.
However, today it was revealed that Formula Renault 3.5 will be supporting the WEC event that weekend, which is great news for British fans who can go and see Sam Bird, Nick Yelloly and other great drivers. It remains to be seen whether the series will be able to offer free tickets as they have done in the past, but I hope so!

Eurocup
Formula Renault Eurocup, which will not be present at Silverstone, is testing for two days at Paul Ricard. There’s a huge number of drivers who are going to be there, and you can follow the progress on the WSR Twitter account @WSR_Live.

F2
According to F2 commentator Jack Nicholls, drivers are set to be announced over the next few weeks. He said, “Some interesting drivers are set to be announced for #F2 in the coming weeks. It’s going to be a very competitive season.” (@Jack_Nicholls) The first test is coming up at Silverstone on March 26th.

GP2
The teams get back to work tomorrow with three days at the Circuit de Catalunya. Many of the drivers were already out at the track, either with F1 teams or just to watch testing before they have their own turn. Giancarlo Serenelli (winner of the (South American) Latam Challenge Series and third in the SEAT Leon Super Cup Mexico) will be with Lazarus, Jon Lancaster – who had a brief spell in F2 last year – will be with Ocean, Sergio Canamasas and former Caterham test driver Ricardo Teixeira will be with Rapax.

F1
Marussia launched their smooth-nosed MR01 today at Silverstone. The car is not yet ready to race, still with crash tests to pass despite the first race being 13 days away! HRT also launched at Barcelona, with Narain Karthikeyan driving the few laps allowed. Pedro de la Rosa was also there, of course, as was former HRT driver Tonio Liuzzi. The HRT’s livery is fantastic – white, gold and maroon. In the end, livery doesn’t get you points, but the fact that their car is ready before FP1 is a real step up for the Spanish outfit despite a troubled winter.

GP2 and GP3 races report

Watching the GP2 and GP3 races was hard this afternoon. Not because of the races, which were very exciting, but because of the Portuguese commentators who did their best to make them sound as boring as possible.

GP2
Lots of drivers did well today. Starting in the rain behind the safety car, the drivers changed to slicks as soon as the pit lane opened. But Bianchi delayed and cut his advantage to Christian Vietoris. The ART and Racing Engineering drivers battled in the second-half of the race, but Bianchi took the win with Vietoris taking his first GP2 points in second. Swede Marcus Ericsson finished 3rd with iSport. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean finished 4th from 13th, Stefano Coletti finished 7th from 21st, and Van der Garde finished 8th from 19th. Dani Clos took 6th to give Racing Engineering a double points finish, and Bird did the same for iSport by finishing 5th.

GP3
The grid was dry, but as they pulled away for the formation lap it began to rain. Many drivers were on slicks and pulled in to change tyres. But a few smart drivers from the back of the grid had the right tyres on. Swiss driver Nico Muller found himself in the lead with pointless Nick Yelloly and Luciano Bacheta behind him. Behind them, the front half of the grid were trying desperately to make up for their mistake.
It was Alex Sims and Adrian Quaiffe-Hobbs who made up the most. Sims overtook Yelloly right at the end, and Quaiffe-Hobbs finished 4th. Bacheta scored his first points, meaning every single Mucke Motorsport driver has scored points in the season and promoting the team to 2nd in the championship. Behind Bacheta came James Calado for ART, Lewis Williamson for Arden, and Dean Smith for Addax. Not only does this mean that all seven British drivers finished in the points – and will take pole to P7 in tomorrow’s sprint race – but every team except for Carlin and Tech 1 scored points. A fantastic and unusual result. Thomas Hylkema managed his first race finish.

Mitch Evans still leads the GP3 championship on 26 points, but he is only one point ahead of Alex Sims and four ahead of the struggling Nigel Melker, who had another DNF today. James Calado is fifth with 19 points, and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs is 6th with 19 points. Watch out Mitch, the British are coming!
In GP2, Romain Grosjean now has 40 points. Giedo van der Garde is second on 34 points, while Sam Bird is now third with 31. 10 points behind his Davide Valsecchi, who had a bad race. Jules Bianchi has closed the gap to his compatriot – he has 20 points and is 7th behind Charles Pic with 24.

Qualifyings

Sorry for the silence on practice and qualifying. I have been very busy recently.

F1
Webber takes pole! They only managed to get one dry run in Q3, but it was enough for the Aussie to go quicker. And Heikki Kovalainen made it to Q2 after the rain prevented the other teams from getting in a better lap. Daniel Ricciardo qualified – as expected – in 24th place, while Timo Glock outqualified Jarno Trulli struggling this weekend in his Lotus.
McLaren are having real trouble. Hamilton is only 10th on the grid tomorrow while Di Resta made it into 6th next to Button in 5th. The Ferraris share row 2.

GP2
A wet qualifying messed things up, with all the frontrunners in the middle of the field. Dangerous for accidents. But unlucky Bianchi got in a hot lap before the rain came down and takes pole. Grosjean starts 13th after qualifying 3rd because of his penalty after causing an accident in Valencia.

GP3
This morning pole was taken by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, with James Calado alongside him after a penalty was revoked. Lewis Williamson and Mitch Evans take row 2 for Arden, and hopefully will do well to seal a great day for their boss Mark Webber. Nigel Melker starts 16th after his penalty.

The races are up next. Let’s see what happens…

British Grand Prix timetable

Since this is a British event, I’m only putting the local times for everything. I have also discovered that the full event timetables can be found on the Formula One website. So I don’t need to look everything up on the different series’ sites. However, that timetable also includes events we will not experience as home viewers. This is a summary of the important details.

Friday

Time

Series

Event

Length

9:00

F1

Practice 1

90 minutes

10:55

GP2

Practice

30 minutes

11:45

GP3

Practice 1

30 minutes

13:00

F1

Practice 2

90 minutes

14:55

GP2

Qualifying

30 minutes

15:50

GP3

Practice 2

30 minutes

Saturday

Time

Series

Event

Length

8:45

GP3

Qualifying

30 minutes

10:00

F1

Practice 3

60 minutes

13:00

F1

Qualifying

60 minutes

14:40

GP2

Race 1

29 laps

16:20

GP3

Race 1

14 laps

Sunday

Time

Series

Event

Length

8:20

GP3

Race 1

14 laps

9:30

GP2

Race 2

21 laps

13:00

F1

Race

52 laps

Silverstone, here I don’t come!

It’s British Grand Prix weekend coming up, and I could have gone! Force India even offered me tickets for free! But I already have commitments. This late on, an offer of tickets is not going to help me in any way. I need to know a lot further in advance so I can make arrangements. I am very disappointed, however. It is going to be an amazing weekend! I could have met all the drivers – and particularly the Force India guys. I would have liked to meet Paul di Resta as he’s from Edinburgh (sort of) and Nico Hulkenberg because he’s cute. Paul and Nico are around the same age as me too.

Anyway, what will be happening this weekend is – and I still can’t quite believe it – Daniel Ricciardo will be taking his debut F1 race for HRT. The Team Lotus livery is changing. It will now have GE and Caterham logos on it. It is also the first year that Renault is an English team, making the British GP their home race. It is also McLaren’s and Williams’ home race, and many other teams are also based in the UK – Force India are right across the street; Mercedes are just down the road in Brackley; Red Bull are in Milton Keynes; Team Lotus are in Norfolk; Virgin are in Yorkshire (but with a new Banbury base). Toro Rosso also have a small base in Banbury. So naturally, this is one of the most important races of the season. Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director, is English, as is Bernie Ecclestone. The first Grand Prix ever took place at Silverstone. It is the heart of motor racing more than Spa or Monza; it is probably on the same level as Monaco.

So, here we go! Silverstone is gonna be brilliant!

F1 is 61

Sixty-one years ago, the first ever Formula One championship race took place. This was at Silverstone, the fifth race of the summer but the first ever championship race. The winner was Nino Farina, an Italian, who also won the world championship that year for Alfa Romeo. Future genius Juan Manuel Fangio retired with an engine problem.
These days, the idea of a non-championship race is strange, but F1 Fanatic has suggested bringing them back instead of returning to more testing. It would allow young drivers the chance to experience an F1 car (Jules Bianchi vs Romain Grosjean, anyone?), and also allow teams to test parts on their cars. Being non-championship, certain rules could be dropped. But I suggest you read the article, with which I think I agree.
Actually, I think the Monte-Carlo Grand Prix should be dropped from the championship race calendar, and continue as a non-championship race, but it will never happen because of how central the place is to F1. I think it’s a terrible, boring race, too many people crash out, and it’s almost impossible to overtake.

Formula Two – Silverstone race 2

It was hard luck for Alex Brundle in the second F2 race this weekend as he stalled off the line. The winner was rookie Miki Monras, with a struggling Mirko Bortolotti being granted second after Will Bratt was penalised following his ignorance of several black flags. Christopher Zanella was promoted to third place.
A good race was also had by Natalia Kowalska, who finished 12th, but the best was had by James Cole, who qualified a miserable 21st but rose 8 places to 13th.

After two races, the best drivers at qualifying are Mirko Bortolotti and Miki Monras, who have each qualified in 1st and 2nd. The best finisher is Bortolotti, who has finished 1st and 2nd in the two races and has 43 points. Not quite a Sebastian Vettel just yet. Monras – finishing 1st and 3rd – has 40 points. The overall championship standings will be updated momentarily, along with the F1 standings.