2014 FIA F3 European Championship, Rounds 29 and 30 – Qualifying Report and Results

FIA F3 European Championship
Rounds 29-30, Imola, Italy, October 10th/12th 2014
© Lynne Waite and Stella-Maria Thomas

Weather: Warm, dry, overcast, getting dark .

Qualifying Report – Rounds 29 and 30 (Races 2 and 3):
It was already getting a bit dark when the qualifying session to determine the grids for Race 2 and 3 actually started, on time at 17:55 but with what looked to be substantial storm clouds building rapidly in the skies above Imola. Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing) would end the session having set the two fastest times overall, but the final of three 10-grid place penalties for an engine change last meeting hand pole in Race 2 to Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), ahead of series leader and Champion Elect Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) in Race 2, while Ocon again starts 2nd, ahead of Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam).

It might have been very different, but a red flag stopped the session two thirds of the way in, when Ed Jones (Carlin) crashed heavily, and by the time the wreckage was cleared, it was much too dark to send any single seater car out again. So in spite of there being theoretically six minutes and thirty something seconds left to run, common sense prevailed and the session was declared at an end. Of course you could question the sense in scheduling the session so late on an October day in the first place.

Initially in the session both Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and his team-mate Lucas Auer seemed to be back on the pace at last, Auer looking particularly quick in the early stages. Needless to say Ocon joined in pretty promptly too, which was no surprise, although Roy Nissany in another of the Mucke cars also appearing well to the fore was; that didn’t last long.

Various people had a go at topping the times, with Rosenqvist up there for a while, then William Buller (Signature), who was joined in the 1:37s by Verstappen. Meanwhile, elsewhere the fast fading light seemed to be giving a lot of drivers trouble, a evidenced by the rash of disallowed times for exceeding track limits. As there had been very few such penalties in the earlier race or Friday’s qualifying session, it seemed likely that poor visibility was to blame.

While all that was going on, Nick Cassidy (ThreeBond with T-Sport) was up to 4th as he acclimatized to the car, but at the front Giovinazzi was battling it out with Ocon, and everyone was getting faster and faster as the session wore on and the tyres started to come into their own.

Jake Dennis (Carlin) was soon 2nd, but then Verstappen went fastest of all with Cassidy slotting into 3rd. He was pushed down the order by Blomqvist, and then Ocon, while Nicholas Latifi (Prema Powerteam) suddenly appeared in 4th. Buller was still pushing hard again, to get into the top ten, and with half the session left the order was Verstappen, from Blomqvist, Ocon, Giovinazzi, Latifi, Fuoco, Dennis, Buller, Auer and Cassidy. Giovinazzi briefly displaced Verstappen, but his time was promptly disallowed for not respecting track limits, and then it seemed everyone was doing the same.

And that was when Jones went off and the red flags came out. It took a long time to clear the accident, and foremost in most people’s minds was the worry that Jones, who has already suffered a back injury while racing, might have further injured himself. He was in some discomfort in the closing stages of Race 1, but as yet there is no news. It would come as no surprise to find he will not be racing tomorrow, and in fact might be for the best if he didn’t. A driver’s well-being needs to be paramount really.

By the time the last support vehicle cleared the site of the accident it was very dark indeed and a strong wind was getting up. In fact you would have needed headlights out there. The officials didn’t take long to come to the only decision possible, and the drivers were ordered to proceed to parc ferme. It left several people in positions they might not have expected to be in if the session had been run to its conclusion, and could result in some interesting action tomorrow.

When the dust finally settled although Verstappen was fastest his penalty means Blomqvist will start Race 2 from pole position from Ocon, Giovinazzi, Fuoco, Buller, Latifi, Dennis, Nissany, Auer and Cassidy. Verstappen will start 11th ahead of Felix Serralles (Team West-Tec F3), Jordan King (Carlin), Jones, Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Rosenqvist, Richard “Spike” Goddard (ThreeBond with T-Sport), Dennis van de Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing), Gustavo Menezes (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Tatiana Calderon (Jo Zeller Racing). 21st goes to Alexander Toril (ThreeBond with T-Sport), from Michele Beretta (Eurointernational), Sergio Sette Camara (Eurointernational), Santino Ferrucci (Fortec Motorsport), Hongwei “Martin” Cao (Fortec Motorsport), Wing Chung “Andy” Chang (Team West-Tec F3) and Jules Szymkowiak (Van Amersfoort Racing), the latter serving the second of three engine change penalties.

For Race 3 Verstappen takes his rightful place on pole, ahead of Ocon, Fuoco, Blomqvist, Buller, Latifi, Serralles, Dennis, King and Giovinazzi. 11th will be Jones, assuming he is fit to race, from Auer, Gelael, Nissany, Cassidy, Rosenqvist, Menezes, Calderon, Toril and Beretta. Van de Laar starts 21st position, from Sette Camara, Goddard, Ferrucci, Chang, Cao and Szymkowiak (with one last engine change penalty to serve).

Watch this space. These races could get interesting!

LATE UPDATE: Jones has been checked over and passed fit to race. Whether that is still the case in the morning, remains to be seen.

Race 2 Provisional Grid (Fastest Qualifying Laps of Qualifying Session 2):
1stNo. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.125
2nd – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.155
3rd – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.196
4th – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.221
5th – No. 23, William Buller, GBR, Signature, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.312
6th – No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.318
7th – No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.388
8th –   No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.625
9th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.666
10th – No. 32, Nick Cassidy*, NZL, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:37.668
11th – No. 30, Max Verstappen*, NED, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:36.816**
12th – No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.681
13th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.781
14th – No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.886
15th – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.939
16th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.971
17th – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NED, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.188
18th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:38.235
19th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.293
20th – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:38.300
21st – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.430
22nd – No. 29, Sergio Sette Camara*, BRA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.571
23rd – No. 10, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.819
24th – No. 9, Hongwei (Martin) Cao, CHN, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:39.235
25th – No. 22, Wing Chung (Andy) Chang, MAC, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:39.493
26th – No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NED, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:38.327**
27th – No. 11, Richard (Spike) Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:38.181**

*Rookie

** 10 grid place penalty – engine change

Race 3 Provisional Grid (2nd Fastest Qualifying Laps of Qualifying Session 2):
1stNo. 30, Max Verstappen*, NED, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.106
2nd – No. 2, Esteban Ocon*, FRA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.303
3rd – No. 25, Antonio Fuoco*, ITA, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.326
4th – No. 31, Tom Blomqvist, GBR, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.456
5th – No. 23, William Buller, GBR, Signature, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.497
6th – No. 1, Nicholas Latifi, CDN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.540
7th – No. 21, Felix Serralles, PRT, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.710
8th – No. 28, Jake Dennis*, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.745
9th – No. 5, Jordan King, GBR, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.808
10th – No. 19, Antonio Giovinazzi, ITA, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.819
11th – No. 6, Edward Jones, UAE, Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.922
12th – No. 3, Lucas Auer, AUT, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:37.933
13th – No. 20, Sean Gelael, IDN, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:37.952
14th – No. 4, Roy Nissany, ISR, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.073
15th – No. 32, Nick Cassidy*, NZL, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:38.153
16th – No. 27, Felix Rosenqvist, SWE, kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.259
17th – No. 16, Gustavo Menezes, USA, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:38.288
18th – No. 18, Tatiana Calderon, COL, Jo Zeller Racing, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.45
19th – No. 12, Alexander Toril, ESP, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:38.737
20th – No. 8, Michele Beretta*, ITA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.740
21st – No. 26, Dennis van de Laar, NED, Prema Powerteam, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.745
22nd – No. 29, Sergio Sette Camara*, BRA, Eurointernational, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.768
23rd – No. 10, Santino Ferrucci*, USA, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:38.996
24th – No. 22, Wing Chung (Andy) Chang, MAC, Team West-TecF3, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:39.597
25th – No. 9, Hongwei (Martin) Cao, CHN, Fortec Motorsports, Dallara F312, Mercedes-Benz, 1:39.719
26th – No. 15, Jules Szymkowiak*, NED, Van Amersfoort Racing, Dallara F312, Volkswagen, 1:38.752**
27th – No. 11, Richard (Spike) Goddard, AUS, ThreeBond with T-Sport, Dallara F312, NBE, 1:38.838**

*Rookie

** 10 grid place penalty – engine change