2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
I've just taken a look at the entry list for the series for this season and all I can say is wow!

Carlin[6] 1 Kevin Magnussen[7]
2 Will Stevens[8]
Fortec Motorsports[6] 3 Carlos Huertas[9]
4 Robin Frijns[10]
ISR[6] 5 Sam Bird[11]
6 Jake Rosenzweig[11]
Tech 1 Racing[6] 7 Kevin Korjus[12]
8 Jules Bianchi[13]
P1 Motorsport[6] 9 Walter Grubmüller[14]
10 Daniil Move[14]
Lotus[15] 11 Richie Stanaway[15]
12 Marco Sørensen[15]
BVM Target[6] 15 Giovanni Venturini[16]
16 Nikolay Martsenko[17]
Team RFR[18] 17 Mikhail Aleshin[18]
18 Anton Nebylitskiy[18]
Pons Racing[6] 19 Zoël Amberg[19]
20 Yann Cunha[20]
International Draco Racing[6] 21 Nico Müller[21]
22 André Negrão[21]
Comtec Racing[6] 23 Vittorio Ghirelli[22]
24 Nick Yelloly[23]
Arden Caterham[6] 25 Alexander Rossi[24]
26 Lewis Williamson[25]
DAMS[6] 27 Lucas Foresti[26]
28 Arthur Pic

A lot of young talent seems to have found its way into this series this season - strangely a consequence of the extension of the GP2 season as running a young driver in the Formula Renault 3.5 series means they'd have more time to spend with the F1 team that backs them and time to do some Friday Sessions.

At Carlin we have the Mclaren backed Kevin Magnussen who was runner-up in British Formula 3 last year.

ISR have Merc reserve driver and British Prodigy Sam Bird

Tech 1 Racing have picked up Force India Test Driver and member of the Ferrari youth programme Jules Bianchi

Arden Caterham meanwhile run the pairing of Alexander Rossi and Lewis Williamson. The American Rossi has massive links with the Caterham F1 team and is expected to run some Friday session in F1 this year and finsihed 3rd behind Vergne and Wickens in the series last year. Lewis Williamson has been backed throughout his career by Red Bull and is expected to be their next new kid on the block - he also won the GP3 title last year which puts him in good shape.

Also worthy of note is Kevin Korjus who finished 6th last year, Colombian driver Carlos Huertas who impressed in British Formula 3, 20 year old Kiwi Richie Stanaway who won the German Formula 3 last year, Arthur Pic the younger brother of F1 rookie Charles and Brit Will Stevens.

Now Carlin ran away with the series last year when Wickens and Vergne slaughtered the rest of the field so you have to think that Magnussen probably sits as favourite but this being a spec series its oh so easy to catch up and just takes a driver on form to catapulte you to the front so I'd certainly keep and eye on Rossi, Williamson, Bianchi and Bird who all come with massive reps - as long as their mind is on the job in question they should be competitve. Bianchi especially needs to win back some brownie points. My outsider would be Richie Stanaway who I confess I know little of but topping the times 2 days running in his first test in a 3.5 series car shows he can't not be counted.

My last little point is for F1 fans to make note of the 3 Russian drivers in the series. I'm sure it has to do with there being 2 races in Moscow in July but I think its a sign of the future. The Ruskies are a coming!

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this series turns out(anyone know about TV showings?) as to me it looks a far better field of talent than GP2 does. Maybe the move to make GP2 follow the F1 season has backfired because personally I think the F1 bosses will be paying more attention to results here. What do you guys think?

First race is in Spain on the 5th May
I for one am much more interested in the World Series than GP2.

They'll be running with DRS this year as well, which will prepare these guys for an additional cockpit demand seen only in F1.

Eurosport/Eurosport 2 had the coverage last year, not sure if they still do.
At the Formula Renault 3.5 testing today in Barcelona, McLaren young driver Kevin Magnussen went fastest in the wet morning session with a time of 1:47.140s being 0.543s faster than Sam Bird in P2. Then in the dry afternoon session he topped the timesheets again with a time of 1:29.952s being 0.214s faster than Marco Sorensen and Robin Frijns who jointly set the second fastest time, also breaking the previous FR3.5 lap record by 2.391s.

Magnussen's time in the wet is notably impressive as he was instantly quick setting his fastest time on only his 3rd lap compared to Sam Bird who set his fastest time on his 24th lap.

What they said:

Kevin Magnussen: “I couldn’t manage to get the best out of the tyres in the wet because I lost performance after two or three laps. Things went really well in the dry, though, and we knew where we could gain time. It’s just great to be first today.”

Marco Sorensen: “It’s good to have two Danes up at the top, isn’t it? It was interesting driving on a damp track this morning, though it was all too easy to make a mistake because the grip was changing all the time. The circuit dried out quickly in the afternoon and we put down three good laps straightaway, although the red flags prevented me from using my second and third set of new tyres.”

Robin Frijns: “I got into a rhythm straightaway on new tyres but lost momentum thanks to a red flag. I made two or three mistakes on my fastest lap, but the car is fantastic. I feel very much at home at Fortec Motorsports, and I’m delighted to be in the leading group again, just as I was at Paul Ricard. The key is to be consistent at every track.”
Anybody watch the World Series races this weekend?

They use their DRS in a completely different manner than F1. They're allowed to engage the DRS for a total of 15 minutes throughout the race. Races are 44 minutes plus one lap, so a driver can use it for a 1/3 of the race essentially.

I'll need to watch a few more races to decide if I like this format better than F1.
Didn't see it Keke just read the review and sounds like its a proper competitve field - didn't a second cover the top 19 in quali?

Surprised to see Arthur Pic on pole for both races Yelloly is a complete unknown to me - he look the business?
I'm just catching up on the last few rounds of the Renault 3.5 Championship and I thought I'd share some of the highlights from Round 3 at Spa a couple weeks ago.

Here's how Marco Sorensen took the lead from Magnussen and Bird who had been battling away for most of Race 1.

Those takeioff's always have the potential to be nasty and back injuries are never good. I wish Richie well and really hope that he makes a full recovery.
Have to say I'd lost track of the 3.5 series this year but have been catching up on results and might make an effort to catch the last 3 rounds (six races) with Bird and Bianchi homing in on Frinjs for the title.

I still think Frinjs has nothing to lose in all of this and has done his rep no harm at all. With the support from Ferrari and Mercedes respectivily Bianchi and Bird would have been expected to be at the top of this series. I think Bianchi has maybe built his rep back up a little bit from this season and if Sam Bird can sneak the title I wouldn't be surprised to see Merc push him into an F1 seat with Force India or someone.

Having seen Frinjs drives in Spain and Spa though - and seeing his results elsewhere I'm kind of rooting for the Dutchmen though. He looks a good prospect.

Dissapointed in Magnussen and Rossi's performances in this series though.
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