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Formula Renault 3.5

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Group for discussing prominent F1 feeder series Formula Renault 3.5 (aka World Series by Renault).

2013 FR3.5 Round 5: Moscow

This topic contains 23 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Prisoner Monkeys Prisoner Monkeys 1 year, 3 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 16 through 24 (of 24 total)
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  • #238131
    Profile photo of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    I do wonder why, and consider if there have been any changes year on year, but I also wonder if it’s a case of peaking. We all hit our natural peak performance, and part of doing well is getting there very quickly. But the other side of having talent is simply having a higher peak performance, which can be unlocked with extensive running and fine tuning. Set up skills will always have an impact on this as well, and with better technical skills, a driver could best a driver who can drive around problems but perhaps not set up the car as well for their own style.

    Recent successes in the series have gone from 2.0 to 3.5 and done well – Frijns, Vandoorne – does this help their set up skills? The consistency of the series. They have also reached a high performance very quickly and usually this is a determinant to having a lot of talent. Felix da Costa reached a high peak last year (and a few years previous) and Magnussen similarly has improved his consistency this year to match his fast pace. Behind, others have done similar with consistent pace.

    #238132
    Profile photo of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    True Nick, but one thing in his favour is the lack of competition for a Toro Rosso seat. Sainz Jr, Kvyat are at least 2 years away from promotion, and Blomqvist, Visser or O’Keefe might need another 3-5 years to get to F1 level. So this leads to Webber going and da Costa being promoted, or Webber staying and da Costa perhaps replacing Ricciardo or doing a testing role of FP1s.

    Surely another scenario though could be to keep an eye on former RB Juniors Coletti (likely GP2 champion with no where to go next) and Frijns, who rejected the RB junior team, but is now impressing in GP2 and is stuck at Sauber. The RB management could try Coletti in the Toro Rosso at the YDT, to see how Felix da Costa responds in the RB. Frijns should get a Sauber run out, so Marko could still pick from 3 guys to put in at Toro Rosso conceivably. I wonder if the Toro Rosso team itself would have a preference for Coletti (guessing he has an Italian heritage, despite Monegasque citizenship?)

    #238133
    Profile photo of Nick
    Nick
    Participant

    @fastiesty
    Fair point about peak performances and set up skills. I’m not sure how similar the 2.0 and 3.5 cars are, but if I remember correctly, Frijns said early last year he needed some time to get used to the car, but actually went very fast, very quickly. The same happened in GP2, but Costa managed to go from GP3 to FR 3.5 and go fast quickly as well. I think Costa might need some driver coaching, as you mentioned, Magnussen managed to become a lot more consistent as well, compared to last year. (I remember him going off in the final laps of one of the races at the Hungaroring as well, something that hasn’t happened this year.)

    There might be a lack of competition, true, but I’m not sure if that’d relieve the pressure. If he personally feels he’s doing worse than 2012, he might also worry about underperforming (relatively) in a Toro Rosso, impacting his further F1 career. I do consider him a likely driver for Toro Rosso, regardless of Webber moving, though. But he does need to win more races, or at least seem a bit more secure.

    I wouldn’t be too sure of Toro Rosso putting in Coletti or Frijns, though. Frijns seems to have severed any ties to Red Bull by being so vocal about his disdain of their driver program (fair comment, imo, but less fortunate from a commercial viewpoint). Frijns essentially needs to wait for Slim to stop backing Sauber and hope he can drive for free. Coletti might make his way into a team like Marussia or Caterham, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in contention for a Sauber seat as well.

    I do wonder where Vandoorne is supposed to go, though, if he wins this year’s title. Same with Magnussen.

    #238134
    Profile photo of KateM
    KateM
    Member

    I find it very hard to imagine that Marko would ever want to give a seat to someone who Red Bull had dropped or someone who had rejected them. Can’t see it happening at all.

    da Costa came in last year with no championship pressure and because those results weren’t viewed in that context by many the expectations on him became completely unrealistic – as this year has proven. He’s a very good driver but his qualifying and overall consistency could do with some work.

    #238135
    Profile photo of Nick
    Nick
    Participant

    Standings:

    1 Stoffel Vandoorne 136
    2 Kevin Magnussen 133
    3 António Félix da Costa 89
    4 Will Stevens 81
    5 Nico Müller 73
    6 Nigel Melker 64

    Realistically, I think it’s between Magnussen and Vandoorne now. Da Costa would need to win a lot of races, with both Magnussen and Vandoorne finishing outside the podium to catch up, Stevens, Müller and Melker don’t seem consistent enough to come any closer.

    #238136
    Profile photo of AdrianMorse
    AdrianMorse
    Participant

    @npf1, good point about there being no room for Magnussen or Vandoorne if they finish the season 1-2. At first glance, it might look nice to be supported by a big F1 team like McLaren, but when it’s time to graduate to F1, you have to be lucky to get a spot. Top teams like McLaren and Ferrari typically have a strong driver line up and won’t kick out one of their regulars for a rookie. Just look at Ferrari – they had their pick of Bianchi and Perez last year, and still it’s Feliple Massa driving for the F1 team.

    Back to McLaren, I can’t recall a single junior driver of theirs graduating to F1, with the exception of Lewis Hamilton, and even he was probably lucky that in the year before his debut, Montoya underperformed and walked away from F1, so they chose Lewis over Pedro (I don’t know who else was on their radar).

    As for Da Costa, his performances last season were a bit unreal, it seemed like he really hit the sweet spot on the tyres, as his race pace was consistently better than the rest (with qualifying strong but not dominant). This year, he’s come back down to earth a little, and combined with some bad luck and unreliability, he’s no longer the shining super star that’s going to blitz the field – although there’s still half the season left, of course. I still think he’s a great racing driver, and I think neither last year’s hype nor this year’s disappointment is fully justified. If he keeps his performances up, he will very likely get a drive at Toro Rosso next season, and only then the real work begins. Winning the FR3.5 title in 2013 would be nice, but it will be his performances in F1 that will determine whether he will one day get the car to challenge for the F1 title.

    #238137
    Profile photo of Iestyn Davies
    Iestyn Davies
    Participant

    Great points raised, I don’t know how to link to them or quote with the HTML though.

    It does seem un-Marko like to pick a driver that has been dropped or rejected RB overtures, but I guess it depends on what Webber does ultimately. If he re-signs, perhaps unlucky for Ricciardo. Vergne now has the upper hand, with his style maybe slightly more suited towards Pirelli F1. Helmut could even keep both in again, who knows, if he feels da Costa hasn’t been up to scratch this year (have the tyres changed at all from last year? Or just the opposition?). Marko usually likes to judge within 2-3 years if the drivers will be up to standard or not, and move on (at F1 level, maybe even year by year in the junior levels). I wonder if Ricciardo will get more time than Alguersuari got (2.5 years with minimal testing), even if it’s only an extra half a year with no FP1s or another full year (perhaps unlikely). Hard to know with Webber’s retirement possibly 2015 latest now. I guess Sainz Jr and Kvyat will be promoted next and are almost sure of an F1 shot given a successful FR3.5 season after GP3, unless RB go back to GP2. Petrov’s USP/days looks numbered!

    I guess Coletti’s future rests on how much backing he has, maybe he will do a ‘Valsecchi’ and secure a testing spot somewhere (although even these are now being taken up with pay drivers if not a team’s young driver). Magnussen and Vandoorne have yet to have any retirements, give them 2 retirements coming up and less mistakes from da Costa could make this an interesting 3 way title battle. But similarly, Vettel could just not have a retirement in F1 and stay out front. I would have thought Vandoorne might get a look in at Force India, but this is probably a pay seat now and I reckon Calado might have it next year after signing up with Nicolas Todt. Felipe Nasr might also try and get a seat somewhere (and has Brazilian backing), after progressing in GP2, but who knows, maybe this might only happen after Massa leaves F1. He’s well placed to be the next Brazilian F1 driver now Senna and di Grassi are not looking for drives, and Luiz Razia has struggled after getting shafted in his Marussia F1 bid.

    McLaren have indeed only sealed the deal with Hamilton (who was a huge investment, 8 years+, unlike the other junior drivers), while overlooking Paffett at the same time (the other option to PDR, who I feel would have done similar to PDR if not slightly better over time), which leads us to conclude the same will probably happen with Magnussen (to GT) or Vandoorne (away from their program eventually), unless they can place one in a lower team (Marussia have Tio Ellinas in their program), which is a hard sell at the moment. I think they would definitely benefit from GP2 next, but someone would have to pay the $5 million to get a realistic 2 year shot at it.

    #238138
    Profile photo of Nick
    Nick
    Participant

    @AdrianMorse

    Back to McLaren, I can’t recall a single junior driver of theirs graduating to F1, with the exception of Lewis Hamilton, and even he was probably lucky that in the year before his debut, Montoya underperformed and walked away from F1, so they chose Lewis over Pedro (I don’t know who else was on their radar).

    They used to be quite good towards their test drivers, like Hakkinen, J.Magnussen, de la Rosa and Wurz, so maybe an incident involving Perez or Button could lead to Vandoorne or K.Magnussen, but like you said, it seems to be unlikely they’ll be replacing either driver soon. Maybe if Button were to retire, but then I’d consider a driver like Di Resta or Hulkenberg a more realistic option.

    If he keeps his performances up, he will very likely get a drive at Toro Rosso next season, and only then the real work begins. Winning the FR3.5 title in 2013 would be nice, but it will be his performances in F1 that will determine whether he will one day get the car to challenge for the F1 title.

    I do think that people doubting Da Costa might be going overboard, but I think there is reason for some concern, but not over his talent. Like I said, it could be pressure or something else between his ears. While I definitely want to see what he can do in a Toro Rosso and subsequently in his F1 career, not working out problems (if he’s having any, of course) could lead to even greater problems in F1. I’d rather see him doing another season in a feeder series, than having to get comfortable in his skin in F1.

    @fastiesty

    (have the tyres changed at all from last year? Or just the opposition?)

    To be honest, I have neither read or heard about any changes to tyres, regulations or anything concerning the FR3.5 series.. The opposition is very different, though. Looking at the point tallies of Vandoorne and Magnussen, they’re only 50 points shy of what won Frijns the title last year, halfway in the season.

    I guess Coletti’s future rests on how much backing he has, maybe he will do a ‘Valsecchi’ and secure a testing spot somewhere (…) I would have thought Vandoorne might get a look in at Force India, but this is probably a pay seat now and I reckon Calado might have it next year after signing up with Nicolas Todt. Felipe Nasr might also try and get a seat somewhere (and has Brazilian backing), after progressing in GP2, but who knows, maybe this might only happen after Massa leaves F1. (…) which leads us to conclude the same will probably happen with Magnussen (to GT) or Vandoorne (away from their program eventually)

    I think the worth of Valsecchi’s move shows in how little people consider him a threat to Grosjean, as opposed to Maldonado. He hasn’t been doing that much testing (of course) and with no racing, he could be a risky shot for 2014. I don’t think any of the drivers would want that. I can’t really imagine how much backing Coletti might have for F1, but if he could find a way into a team, it’d probably be Sauber or Force India. Same goes for the list of Frijns, Calado, Bird or Vandoorne/Magnussen. With Marussia having a development program of their own, as well as Caterham (it’s bound to be Rossi to F1, VDG to Sportscars, or staying where they are), who also have Pic because Renault wants him there, the seats aren’t up for grabs.

    If those drivers get to F1 soon, it would have to mean we have to say goodbye to a lot of current F1 drivers who are talented but haven’t shown it yet. Drivers like Grosjean, Maldonado, Perez, Gutierez, Di Resta and Sutil, while also waiting for Button and Webber to retire. But why knows, Sainz Jnr and Kvyat might come knocking by then, as well as drivers who we haven’t heard of by now.

    Though I’d be less quick in thinking Kevin Magnussen would move to Sportscars. He seems to be more talented than his father, to be honest, and there are no teams like Stewart (with a clear number 1 driver) in the midfield now. As glad as I am Verstappen got a drive in 1998, he didn’t do any better than Magnussen and constantly complained of having inferior material to Rubens. I think Jan Magnussen’s career could have been very different, in open wheelers.

    #238139
    Profile photo of Prisoner Monkeys
    Prisoner Monkeys
    Participant

    McLaren have had more success with their driver programme than Red Bull. For every McLaren-backed driver who failed to make the grade, there are at least four Red Bull drivers who have been left behind.

    The challenge facing the likes of Vandoorne is that there aren’t any seats he could be placed in if McLaren themselves are spoken for (like Red Bull placing Ricciardo at HRT in 2011).

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