2013 FR3.5 Round 8: Paul Ricard
29th September 2013, 9:44 at 9:44 am #24228729th September 2013, 11:05 at 11:05 am #242288
The reason why Magnussen was excluded from race 1 is explained in this Autosport article. DAMS had not only painted their DRS flap, they applied a resin underneath the layer of paint, which reduces the part’s curve on the top half and increases its stiffness. This is apparently in breach with the regulations and hence Magnussen was disqualified.29th September 2013, 16:40 at 4:40 pm #242289
I think the race 2 result shows why the top drivers are now ready to move up. Magnussen comfortably fastest and now seemingly up to F1 calibre, as pointed out by Whitmarsh. FP1s could be good if no seats are available from lack of monetary backing. Muller is doing well, but looks set for DTM, the best outcome for someone with no backing. Da Costa has RB backing and is set for Toro Rosso. Vandoorne is also a standout, and its up to him/his backing whether he dominates FR 3.5 next year or moves up to the next level (which he is probably capable of handling). Others I imagine will remain and fight for the title next year, with the likely exception of Sirotkin.
It’s also worth noting that all these drivers mentioned (and Felipe Nasr from GP2) are all recent champions at lower levels, and in the past would probably have been involved in F1 eventually.29th September 2013, 17:45 at 5:45 pm #242290
Before the season started, if you would compare the GP2 field with the FR3.5 field, the GP2 field is so much weaker. And it proved: the top drivers in GP2 have shown some pathetic consistency this year, apart from perhaps Bird and to some extent Nasr. In the World Series, we have Magnussen, Vandoorne and also Da Costa who have been up there throughout the season, it has been so much more competitive.29th September 2013, 23:15 at 11:15 pm #242291
@andae23 and just to add to the consistency of GP2 drivers, It’s funny that Bird being the most consistent was a WSBR title contender last year. The GP2 field this year really has been poor.30th September 2013, 11:19 at 11:19 am #242292
Standings after Paul Richard:
1. Kevin Magnussen 224
2. Stoffel Vandoorne 181
3. Antonio Felix da Costa 170
4. Nigel Melker 132
5. Nico Muller 131
Some interesting facts raised by the Eurosport commenter this weekend;
– This could be the first season no French driver wins a race in the Formula Renault 3.5 class. With Pic and Nato being miles behind Magnussen/Vandoorne/Da Costa, I don’t see this changing at Catalunya.
– Tech 1 has not won a single race this year, despite nearly winning the championship with Jules Bianchi last year.
And GP2 really does seem to pale a bit with FR3.5 flourishing as it does. Let’s not forget Sam Bird is in his 6th (counting 2 GP2 Asia seasons) season in a main feeder series, which is basically as long as Giedo van der Garde took, but Giedo found himself at a F1-backed GP2 team which led to his ties with Caterham. If you compare van der Garde’s results with this year’s Caterham Gp2 results, you’ll see what difference that kind of experience can make too.
Meanwhile, Magnussen is in his 2nd year of FR3.5, coming from F3 and FR2.0, Vandoorne is in his first year of FR3.5, being the reigning FR2.0 champion. Da Costa is in his first full season of FR3.5, so arguably, these guys are rookies compared to a guy like Bird. Still, their consistency and ability to put out fastest laps and overtaking towers high above Stefano ‘no-score’ Coletti , Felipe Nasr, Fabio Leimer or Sam Bird..1st October 2013, 23:12 at 11:12 pm #242293
I wonder if the car/series is responsible for some of the yo-yo effect seen in GP2. This year the tyres are open – you can guarantee a Feature podium and screw over your Sprint chances – where the Feature top 8 are flipped for the Sprint grid. If it was stuck like in F1, there would be a more representative championship standings. I always wonder if the car itself is a tough beast to tame, requiring time to get used to consistently, with the lack of power steering and seemingly heavy weight. FR 3.5 looks more like a nimble race car, and it and FR 2.0 seem like the old levels of F3000 and F3 or F3/F.Ford (similarly with the drivers – as opposed to those who take the long route of entry levels, F3, GP3, GP2).
Frijns is an interesting comparison driver – he has 3 consecutive titles, yet has struggled with making mistakes in GP2 this year. Without his mistakes he would be above Lancaster in the championship standings for sure. I’m sure he can battle for the title next year, with Nasr (if still there), Ericsson (if still there), Rossi, Evans etc.
Bird I can see being the permanent Mercedes test/FP1 driver next year. Hartley is the sim driver and it seems Davidson is also. So they are flush with drivers if they need a backup (all 3 could take that on, maybe Davidson is too old now, but I always felt he was unlucky). Bird has had good backing and apart from struggling in the F3 Euro Series has usually been almost there or thereabouts. Maybe just below F1 standard – so test/FP1 driver fits him well. He’s probably in the form of his life this year and last – but you could also say the same about Max Chilton. Who knows which going forwards has more to show. Also, arguably he has had 4 years, not 6 seasons, in the GP2/FR 3.5 feeder series, coming consistently 5th, 6th, 3rd and now 2nd.
Let’s hope Magnussen gets FP1s at the very least next year – I’d hate to see him end up in the same situation as his dad. He’s looked very good this year. But it’s hard to know with McLaren – where is there for their drivers to generally go?
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