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Belov Takes Maiden FRECA Victory in Commanding Fashion at Spa-Francorchamps

Michael Belov secured his and G4 Racing’s first Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine victory on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Russian surviving difficult conditions to win by over nine seconds despite a mid-race safety car.

The Russian racer started from pole position on a damp track, and despite first lap attacks from Hadrien David and Zane Maloney, he was never truly challenged for the lead as he secured his first win of a season that has only really just got started.

Prema Powerteam’s David Vidales made a good start to jump from eighth on the grid to run fourth, but the Spaniard was the driver responsible for causing the safety car as he spun into the barriers exiting the Paul Frere turn on tricky damp conditions.  Vidales’ car stopped in a dangerous position, and the safety car was required for three laps and over fourteen minutes of running!

On the restart, Belov immediately pulled out a lead on David, and by the chequered flag that lead had extended to over nine seconds ahead of the R-ace GP driver, while the podium was completed by David’s team-mate Maloney.

In what was his best showing of the season to date, Dino Beganovic took an excellent fourth for Prema Powerteam ahead of the leading ART Grand Prix entry of Patrik Pasma, with the Finn having made the switch to the team from KIC Motorsport ahead of the round in Belgium.

Nissan e.dams Disqualified from Opening London E-Prix for Energy Overuse

Both Nissan e.dams cars have been disqualified from the results of the opening London E-Prix on Saturday after being deemed to have overused power during the thirty-three-lap race.

Sébastien Buemi had finished a season’s best fourth and Oliver Rowland tenth, but both drivers have now lost their points, much to the dismay of the drivers and the team.  They both exceeded the maximum 48kWh energy cap that had been introduced to prevent a flat-out E-Prix.

Buemi reckoned it was a software glitch that caused the issue, and despite it not giving any kind of performance gain, he acknowledges the rules are there for a reason.

“It’s a software glitch,” the Swiss racer said to  “It’s a mistake in the set-up. The power cut off like a hundredth of a kilowatt too late.

“It wasn’t even a tenth of a second too late, but the rule is the rule. We got disqualified because we didn’t set it up properly.  Obviously, there’s absolutely zero performance [gain].”

Sublime Jake Dennis Takes Stunning Victory in Opening London E-Prix

Jake Dennis took his second career ABB FIA Formula E World Championship victory on Saturday, with the Briton coming out on top of a close battle with countryman Alex Lynn to win the first race of the London E-Prix weekend.

The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver followed Lynn for much of the first half of the race but crucially was able to conserve enough energy so to get ahead when the Mahindra Racing driver took his second attack mode.

Dennis then capitalised on a mistake from Lynn to be able to hold on to the lead when he went through the attack mode activation zone for a second time, and then went on to take a dominant victory.

From pole position, Lynn held onto the lead into the first turn one ahead of Dennis, while André Lotterer found a way ahead of Sérgio Sette Câmara into fourth.  A little further back, Alexander Sims found himself pushed into the wall at turn six and out of the race, an incident that necessitated a brief full-course yellow to clear his car from the track. 

Tom Blomqvist was also a first lap visitor to the pits, with the NIO 333 FE Team driver taking damage on lap one and retreating to his garage for repairs.  He returned to the track seven laps down.

Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur: “We continue to close the gap with the leaders”

Frédéric Vasseur admitted it was disappointing to miss out on points once again in the British Grand Prix, with Kimi Räikkönen’s late spin after small contact with Sergio Pérez ending Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s shot at the top ten.

Räikkönen was embroiled in a close battle with Red Bull Racing’s Pérez for the minor points, with the two running side-by-side for a number of corners, but the two made contact heading into the penultimate turn, with the Finn coming off worst as he ended up spinning down the order.

Antonio Giovinazzi ended up being the lead Alfa Romeo driver at the chequered flag in thirteenth with Räikkönen fifteenth, meaning the team remain in eighth place in the Constructors’ Championship with only two points to their name after the first ten races.

Vasseur, the Team Principal at Alfa Romeo, says the team are continuing to close the gap on those in front, but it was always going to be a struggle at Silverstone, a track that they were expected to find difficult.

“Another race in which our good pace put us close to the points, but in which the reward eventually eluded us,” said Vasseur.  “We had a good start, we were able to run in the top ten both before the stops and at the time of Kimi’s contact with Checo, but in the end we just missed something to stay ahead.

Antonio Giovinazzi: “We had good pace but we couldn’t put it together when it mattered”

Antonio Giovinazzi felt it was a long British Grand Prix last Sunday, with the Italian having a relatively low-key afternoon on his way to thirteenth place at the chequered flag.

The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver felt his C41-Ferrari had good pace at Silverstone, but he was unable to use it to good effect when it mattered, and ultimately, he was unable to keep Yuki Tsunoda behind him as he got stuck behind Williams Racing’s George Russell.

Giovinazzi rued the fact that Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Tsunoda went on to score a point for tenth place, and he continues to wait for his second top ten finish of the season, something he hopes will come next time out in Hungary.

“It was a long race and not an overly exciting one for me, we had good pace but we couldn’t put it together when it mattered,” said Giovinazzi.  “We were in front of Tsunoda before the stops, but got stuck behind Russell and couldn’t get through.

“This wasn’t a track where overtaking is easy, and it’s quite a disappointment when you see that Yuki eventually finished in the points.

“It was a shame that we were unable to beat the AlphaTauri cars” – Williams’ Robson

Dave Robson admits it was disappointing for the Williams Racing team to fall behind Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda during Sunday’s British Grand Prix, particularly as they had the beating of them during Friday and Saturday at Silverstone.

George Russell had finished ninth during Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying race at Silverstone but started the full-length British Grand Prix from twelfth after a three-place penalty was applied for causing a collision with Carlos Sainz Jr. on Saturday. 

He dropped to fourteenth at the start and although he was able to move up a couple of places, he was never again in contention for points as the two AlphaTauri drivers, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda plus Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s Lance Stroll all moved forward.

Team-mate Nicholas Latifi started seventeenth and ended fourteenth, but Robson admits it was difficult to fight with those battling for the top ten even though tyre management was made easier by the early red flag at Silverstone to clear up Max Verstappen’s wrecked Red Bull Racing RB16B.

“We enjoyed a good fight with the midfield teams today and we raced hard in difficult and hot conditions,” said Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams.  “The early safety car and race suspension made the one-stop race easier than it might otherwise have been, and the race became one of balancing attack and tyre management.

Alex Lynn Gives Mahindra Racing Pole Position for Opening London E-Prix

Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn took pole position for the opening race of the London E-Prix on Saturday around a drying track at the Exhibition Centre London (ExCeL) circuit.

The rain that affected the practice session earlier in the day had stopped, but the outside part of the track was still wet throughout, with some areas much wetter than others.

And Lynn took his second career ABB FIA Formula E World Championship pole position in a British driver one-two ahead of BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Jake Dennis.

Group 1

The top six in the championship were in group 1, and it was Edoardo Mortara was quickest for ROKiT Venturi Racing with a lap of 1:25.198, 0.081 seconds ahead of DS Techeetah’s António Félix da Costa, with championship leader Sam Bird third for Jaguar Racing. 

Nick Cassidy was the best of the Envision Virgin Racing drivers in fourth, just ahead of team-mate Robin Frijns, while Jean-Éric Vergne was the slowest of everyone after being the first driver to set a time.

George Russell: “When you have 50 or 60 laps in a race the true pace of the car comes out”

George Russell reckons twelfth was the best result he could have achieved at the British Grand Prix, particularly after losing a couple of places at the race start on Sunday afternoon.

The Williams Racing driver had started the weekend at Silverstone with a top ten appearance in Qualifying and then a ninth-place finish in the first-ever Sprint Qualifying race, but a three-place grid penalty for contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. on Saturday left him starting twelfth on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Russell lost a couple of places at the start and was left fighting against drivers in much stronger cars than he had, so he was pleased to finish as close to the top ten as he did.

“P12 was the maximum today for us,” said Russell.  “We made a poor getaway initially on the first start but a really good one on the second.

“Sadly, we had already lost a few positions. When you have 50 or 60 laps in a race the true pace of the car comes out and realistically, we are still slightly slower than Alpha Tauri, Alpine and Aston Martin right now.

AlphaTauri’s Jody Egginton: “We’ve got to go away and get ourselves organised for the next race”

Jody Egginton admits the British Grand Prix weekend was a lot more difficult than expected for the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team, and it was disappointing to leave Silverstone with only a solitary point to their name.

Pierre Gasly was on course for a top ten finish only to pick up a puncture with five laps remaining, but his pit stop promoted Yuki Tsunoda into tenth to take home the final point on offer.

Egginton, the Technical Director at AlphaTauri, believes the team should have been fighting for around eighth place at Silverstone, but the pace of the car was not as strong as they had hoped it would be, particularly in Qualifying on Friday evening and during Saturday’s first-ever Sprint Qualifying race.

“The pace of the car hasn’t been where we expected it to be leading up to the race,” said Egginton.  “Our Qualifying was below our expectation and then in the Sprint Qualifying there was a lot of traffic, so we couldn’t make any progress.

“Today in the race, we managed to use the strategy to extend our first stint on the Mediums, which worked out quite well and allowed us to jump some competitors with both cars. This allowed us to be in a good position to fight for the points with Pierre and then get close to that with Yuki.

Yuki Tsunoda: “The different format has made things slightly more difficult for me as a rookie”

Yuki Tsunoda was pleased to come away from the British Grand Prix with a point, despite the whole Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team having a below-par weekend at Silverstone.

The Japanese racer had started well down the field after being eliminated in Q1 on Friday evening and making up only one spot during Saturday’s first-ever Sprint Qualifying race.  Tsunoda says the change from the regular weekend format did not help him as a rookie.

But Tsunoda kept his focus on race day and was able to find his way into the top ten when it mattered for his fourth top-ten finish of the season.

“I’m quite happy to have come away with a point today,” said Tsunoda.  “I tried to stick to the plan, really focus on tyre management, and I think I achieved that well.

“I’ve struggled a bit throughout the weekend and the different format has made things slightly more difficult for me as a rookie, so I’m pleased to have come away with an all-important point for the team.”

Günther Leads BMW One-Two in Wet Second Practice for London E-Prix

Maximilian Günther was quickest in the second practice session for the London E-Prix as the forecasted rain hit the Exhibition Centre London (ExCeL) circuit on Saturday morning.

Günther led a BMW i Andretti Motorsport one-two ahead of British racer Jake Dennis in a difficult and challenging session for all twenty-four drivers.

The unique nature of the indoor/outdoor ExCeL track meant the first part of the lap was in the dry, the middle in the wet and the end again in the dry.  It made conditions difficult for the drivers, particularly in the early laps of the session.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s session was over early after he crashed after aquaplaning into the wall on the back straight.  The Belgian appeared to lose control on the wet track crossing some painted lines of a zebra crossing before hitting the wall hard and damaging his front-left corner of his Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team machine.

Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns was lucky to escape with just a brush against the wall as he spun heading down the ramp after exiting the indoor session, while moments later, Dragon/Penske Autosport’s Sérgio Sette Câmara also ended in the run-off zone at the same place.

Jean-Éric Vergne Edges Robin Frijns in Close Opening Practice for London E-Prix

Jean-Éric Vergne ended fastest in the first practice session at Exhibition Centre London (ExCeL) on Friday afternoon as the drivers acclimatised themselves to the unique London E-Prix circuit.

The top five drivers were all within one-tenth of a second, while less than a second split the top twenty-three in a tightly contested session in London Docklands around a track that is partly indoors and partly outside.

DS Techeetah’s Vergne used his 250kw lap to good effect to hit the top with a time of 1:21.650, with the two-time champion ending 0.004 seconds clear of Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns, while current championship leader Sam Bird was 0.038 seconds back for Jaguar Racing.

Reigning champion António Félix da Costa made it two Techeetah’s inside the top four, 0.065 seconds behind his team-mate, while Mitch Evans also got to within one-tenth of Vergne’s best time in the second Jaguar in fifth.

Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn ended sixth fastest, 0.144 seconds off the pace but 0.021 seconds clear of Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team’s Stoffel Vandoorne, while Pascal Wehrlein was the best placed of the Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team drivers in eighth.

Horsten takes double-pole in British F3 Qualifying at Spa

Bart Horsten took his first pole positions in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship as the season visits the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps this weekend (23-25 July).

The Hitech GP driver found a buffer of four hundredths back to Championship leader Zak O’Sullivan, whose Carlin team-mate, and Horsten’s compatriot, Christian Mansell sat just under two tenths behind in third.

To date, only Mansell, Frederick Lubin (Arden Motorsport) and Oliver Bearman (Fortec Motorsports) have finished every race they’ve started so far this season.

Of those three, only Mansell’s season has been uninterrupted thus far, with Lubin ruled out of Donington Park and Spa on medical grounds, while Bearman splits his time across Italian F4 and ADAC F4, currently leading both championships.

O’Sullivan had topped the times for most of the 25-minute session, before Horsten snatched it at the death by less than half a tenth around the longest lap of the season.

US F4 champion Hunter Yeany set for British F3 debut at Spa

There will be a third Fortec Motorsport car on the grid as the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship arrives at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the fourth round of the season (23-25 July).

Reigning US Formula 4 champion Hunter Yeany will partner Roberto Faria and Mikkel Grundtvig, both of whom took podiums at Donington Park last time out, including a maiden F3 win for Grundtvig.

He will take the place of Oliver Bearman, who is on course to become the first-ever driver to win the Italian F4 and ADAC F4 Championships in the same season. Bearman made his British F3 debut at Brands Hatch in May, taking second-place finishes in the first two races.

The 16-year-old took the US F4 title in 2020 with seven wins and 13 total podiums, before moving to a joint campaign in Formula Regional Americas and Indy Pro 2000, the latter being on INDYCAR‘s ‘Road to Indy’ feeder programme.

Incumbent British F3 champion Kaylen Frederick took four podiums and two pole positions in the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 series, a step below Indy Pro 2000.

Administrative engine allocation error results in penalties for team-mates Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman

The NASCAR Cup Series might be off for two weeks, but Hendrick Motorsports team-mates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman are still having their positions in the championship impacted. On Thursday, NASCAR announced the #9 and #48 teams have received L1-level penalties due to an error in the team’s engine allocations for last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In particular, the violation broke Section 20.6.1e of the rulebook regarding engine assembly. Much of the rule focuses on impounding the winning car’s engine if sealed, and unsealed engines may either be impounded by NASCAR prior to the next race or have its long block sealed and inspection following the next race. If the long block is sealed, the engine cannot be moved to a different car. Sealed engines, which differ from their unsealed counterparts as components such as the engine block and pistons are frozen and cannot be changed, must be run for sixteen points races in a season.

A clerical mistake accidentally resulted in one of Elliott’s sealed engines being assigned to Bowman’s team for New Hampshire. Bowman finished the race in ninth and Elliott eighteenth.

“Due to an administrative error, one of our sealed engines assigned to the No. 9 car was unintentionally allocated to our No. 48 team at New Hampshire Motor Speedway,” read a statement from Hendrick Motorsports. “Although the engine passed technical inspection and absolutely no competitive advantage was gained, we acknowledge NASCAR’s process was not followed correctly in this instance. The rules regarding the assignment of sealed engines are clear, and we understand and respect their decision to issue a penalty. We apologize for the mistake and have taken steps to ensure it will not be repeated.”

An L1 penalty means both teams lose twenty-five points apiece in the owner and driver standings, which drops Elliott from fifth to sixth while Bowman is still eleventh. Crew chiefs Alan Gustafson (Elliott) and Greg Ives (Bowman) each received $50,000 fines, while Hendrick general manager Jeff Andrews and engine support director Scott Maxim are suspended for the upcoming race at Watkins Glen on 8 August.