2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Season Preview
The 2012 season went down to the wire and saw Robin Frijns, now third driver at the Sauber Formula 1 team defeat Frenchman Jules Bianchi, now in F1 with Marussia. Can we expect the same this time around? Which drivers will be up there fighting for the championship now the two three from last year have gone elsewhere?
Tech 1 Racing have enlisted the service of former series Champion Mikhail Aleshin to drive alongside highly rated Dutchman Nigel Melker. The team look strong on paper, but can Aleshin get back to the form that won him the championship, and can Melker continue his development through the ranks?
The Arden Caterham Motorsport team arguably have the Championship favourite racing for them in 2013 in the form of Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa, a Red Bull Junior driver. He came into the series mid-season in 2012 and won numerous races. He is joined in the team by Brazilian Pietro Fantin, last year a British Formula 3 driver who steps up to bigger cars for the first time.
Reigning Formula Renault 2.0 Champion Stoffel Vandoorne steps up to Formula Renault 3.5 with Fortec Motorsports and should be one to keep an eye out for. He’s teamed up with series’ returnee Oliver Webb who last year raced in America in the Indy Lights series. This is one of the strong teams on paper, and should be aiming high.
Young Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin joins the series full-time in 2013 after coming third in Auto GP in 2012 and racing in the Russian round of Formula Renault 3.5. He joins Formula 2 refugee Christopher Zanella at the ISR team for the 2013 season. Both drivers come into the series having been race winners the previous year in Auto GP & F2.
The Lotus team return in 2013 with Dane Marco Sorensen who raced for the team in Formula Renault 3.5 last year. His teammate this time around is Philippines driver Marlon Stockinger, who steps up from GP3. Sorensen will hope to build on his first year in the series where he won a race, while Stockinger will hope to impress to keep his hopes of being the first driver from the Philippines to race in Formula 1.
Carlin Motorsport have signed Colombian driver Carlos Huertas and Malaysian driver Jazeman Jaafar for its 2013 campaign. Huertas moves from Fortec for his second season in the series, while Jaafar is another driver who moves from British Formula 3. Huertas will hope to score points regularly, whereas Jaafar will hope to have a solid season and maybe score the odd point while he adapts to the more powerful cars.
SMP Racing by Comtec return in 2013 with Russian Daniil Move and Brazilian Lucas Foresti. Move is in his seventh season in Formula Renault, and will hope to finally shine and possibly win a race of two, something he has yet to achieve. Foresti enters his second season in the series having raced with DAMS in 2012. He’ll hope to improve on his three points finishes of last year.
The International Draco Multiracing team have signed another Brazilian in Andre Negrao alongside Swiss driver Nico Muller. Negrao will compete in his third season in the series while Muller will be in his second. Both drivers will both be hoping to be fighting at the sharp end of the grid, and Muller in particular will be aiming to improve on his one podium finish of 2012.
French team DAMS will hope to improve on their single win in 2012 with new drivers Kevin Magnussen and Norman Nato. Danish driver Magnussen is highly rated and won in Spa last season, while Nato moves up from Formula Renault 2.0, having finished 4th in the series last year. Magnussen should be one of the championship favourites, while Nato will hope to have a solid campaign to build for the future.
British driver Will Stevens and Finnish driver Matias Laine make up the P1 Motorsport line-up for 2013. Stevens is in his second campaign in the series after debuting last year with Carlin, and impressed with regular points finishes. He’ll hope to get onto the podium more this year having got their once last year. Laine moves on from GP3 where he raced for a few years, winning once last year. He’ll hope to be another driver to have a solid first season in the series.
Zeta Corse were the last team to confirm their line-up barely a week before the season opener. Romanian Mihai Marinescu rejoins the series after three years in the now defunct Formula 2 championship, and is confirmed for the whole season. His teammate however is only confirmed for the first round in Monza at present, with Frenchman Emmanuel Piget taking the drive. Its a bit of a gamble as Piget hasn’t raced anything since 2010.
Pons Racing have re-signed Swiss driver Zoel Amberg for a second season, and have teamed him up with Russian Nikoley Martsenko, who moves from BVM. Both drivers must improve after disappointing campaigns in 2012.
The final team for 2013 is the AV Formula team. They’ve signed Arthur Pic, brother of current Caterham F1 driver Charles and a race winner for DAMS in 2012. His teammate is Yann Cunha, another Brazilian racer, who moves from Pons. Pic will hope to build on his win from last year with regular podiums, while Cunha will hope to break into the points, something he failed to do in 2012.
The season runs over 9 weekends between April and October, with 8 double headers and a single race supporting the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. Who’ll come out on top, only time will tell. It should be exciting to watch though.
2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Entry List
Tech 1 Racing
1. Mikhail Aleshin – Russia; 2. Nigel Melker – Netherlands
Arden Caterham Motorsport
3. Antonio Felix da Costa – Portugal; 4. Pietro Fantin – Brazil
5. Stoffel Vandoorne – Belgium; 6. Oliver Webb – Great Britain
7. Sergey Sirokin – Russia; 8. Christopher Zanella – Switzerland
9. Marco Sorensen – Denmark; 10. Marlon Stockinger – Philippines
11. Carlos Huertas – Colombia; 12. Jazeman Jaafar – Malaysia
SMP Racing by Comtec
15. Daniil Move – Russia; 16. Lucas Foresti – Brazil
International Draco Multiracing
17. Andre Negrao – Brazil; 18. Nico Muller – Switzerland
19. Norman Nato – France; 20. Kevin Magnussen – Denmark
21. Will Stevens – Great Britain; 22. Matias Laine – Finland
23. Mihai Marinescu – Romania; 24. Emmanuel Piget – France
25. Zoel Amberg – Switzerland; 26. Nikolay Martsenko – Russia
27. Arthur Pic – France; 28. Yann Cunha – Brazil
2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series Race Schedule
Rounds 1+2: Autodromo Nazionale Monza – 06th/07th April; Rounds 3+4: Ciudad del Motor de Aragon – 27th/28th April; Round 5 – Circuit de Monaco – 26th May; Rounds 6+7: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – 01st/02nd June; Rounds 8+9: Moscow Raceway – 22nd/23rd June; Rounds 10+11: Red Bull Ring – 20th/21st July; Rounds 12+13: Hungaroring – 14th/15th September; Rounds 14+15: Circuit Paul Ricard – 28th/29th September; Rounds 16+17: Circuit de Catalunya – 19th/20th October.
2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Season Entry List
Josef Kaufmann Racing
1. Steijn Schothorst – Netherlands; 2. Gustav Malja – Sweden; 3. Oscar Tunjo – Colombia
4. Nyck de Vries – Netherlands; 5. Guiherme Silva – Brazil; 6. Victor Franzoni – Brazil
7. Jake Dennis – Great Britain; 8. Mikko Pakkari – Finland; 9. Ed Jones – United Arab Emirates
Tech 1 Racing
10. Pierre Gasly – France; 11. Egor Erudzhev – Russia; 12. Matthieu Vaxiviere – France
ART Junior Team
14. Alexandre Baron – France; 15. Esteban Ocon – France; 16. Andrea Pizzitola – France
17. Aurelien Panis – France; 18. Benjamin Bailly – Belgium; 19. Roman Mavlanov – Russia
20. TBA – TBA. 21. Alejandro Abogado – Mexico; 22. TBA – TBA.
23. Felipe Fraga – Brazil; 24. Oliver Rowland – Great Britain; 25. Javier Merlo – Argentina
26. Wiliam Vermont – France; 27. Simon Tirman – France; 28. Leo Roussel – France
29. Yu Kanamaru – Japan; 30. Alex Albon – Thailand; 31. Ignazio D’Agosto – Italy
32. Luca Ghiotto – Italy; 33. Bruno Bonifacio – Brazil; 34. TBA – TBA.
35. Kevin Jorg – Switzerland; 36. Marcos Siebert – Argentina; 37. Levin Amweg – Switzerland
2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Race Schedule
Rounds 1+2: Ciudad del Motor de Aragon – 27th/28th April; Rounds 3+4: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – 01st/02nd June; Rounds 5+6: Moscow Raceway – 22nd/23rd June; Rounds 7+8: Red Bull Ring – 20th/21st July; Rounds 9+10: Hungaroring – 14th/15th September; Rounds 11+12: Circuit Paul Ricard – 28th/29th September; Rounds 13+14: Circuit de Catalunya – 19th/20th October.
Tagged: Andre Negrao, Antonio Felix da Costa, Arden Caterham, Arthur Pic, AV Formula, Carlin, Carlos Huertas, Christopher Zanella, Comtec, DAMS, Daniil Move, Draco, Emmanuel Piget, Formula Renault 2.0, Formula Renault 3.5, Fortec, ISR, Jazeman Jaafar, Kevin Magnussen, Lotus, Lucas Foresti, Marco Sorensen, Marlon Stockinger, Matias Laine, Mihai Marinescu, Mikhail Aleshin, Nico Muller, Nigel Melker, Nikoley Martsenko, Norman Nato, Oliver Webb, P1 Motorsport, Pietro Fantin, Pons Racing, Sergey Sirotkin, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tech 1, Will Stevens, Yann Cunha, Zeta Corse, Zoel Amberg