Frijns wins Formula Renault 3.5 title at first attempt

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Robin Frijns clinched the Formula Renault 3.5 title after a controversial final race at the Circuit de Catalunya. Frijns clashed with Jules Bianchi while trying to pass his title rival during the race.

The incident came moments after Bianchi had passed Frijns, who was on the verge of losing another place to Kevin Magnussen. That would have put Bianchi in position to win the championship.

But when Frijns lunged down the inside of Bianchi at turn four the contact put his rival out of the race. That guaranteed Frijns the title in spite of the 25-second time penalty he was later handed for the incident.

It’s unfortunate that Frijn’s title may be defined by this controversial collision rather than the succession of excellent drives he produced to get in a position to win championship.

He won in his second start in the category at Motorland Aragon, then hit his stride in the middle of the season with three podiums in four races, including another win in Moscow.

Bianchi came on strong in the second half of the season, but another good weekend for Frijns in Hungary erased the gains his rival made at Silverstone. Bianchi seized the initiative after a wet weekend at Paul Ricard and went into the final double-header at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead in the points

But while Frijns took a crucial podium finish in the first race an ill-timed lunge by Bianchi on Magnussen left him on the back foot heading into the title-deciding finale.

Frijns, 21, clinched the title against significantly more experienced opposition. He made his debut in category this year, stepping up from the 210bhp cars of the 2.0 category to the new-for-2012 530bhp Formula Renault 3.5 racers.

A new downforce package incorporating an F1-style Drag Reduction System has made these cars much quicker than their predecessors and more than a match for the current GP2 chassis on pure performance. Frijn’s title rivals Bianchi (who featured in One To Watch three years ago) and Sam Bird may have been newcomers as well, but both had two years of racing in GP2 behind them.

Frijns has now won championships for the last three seasons in a row, with victories in Formula BMW Europe in 2010, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup last year, and now Formula Renault 3.5 at his first attempt. The last driver to achieve the latter feat was Robert Kubica in 2005.

F1 teams are finally starting to take notice of the Dutch driver. Sauber, who (as BMW Sauber) gave Kubica his F1 break in 2006, will give Frijns a run in the forthcoming Young Drivers’ Test at Abu Dhabi.

By winning the championship Frijns has also earned a drive for Red Bull at the forthcoming Young Drivers’ Test.

“My objective now is Formula One, starting with the tests with Red Bull Racing and Sauber,” said Frijns. “Nothing gets given to you in this world and nothing is easy, even when you win three titles on the bounce. We’re working on it though.”

The last Dutch driver to start an F1 race was Christijan Albers over five years ago. Controversy aside, after his latest triumph Frijns surely deserves the chance to succeed him.

Frijns’ path to the 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 title

Aragon 1 Aragon 2 Monaco Spa 1 Spa 2 Nurburgring 1 Nurburgring 2 Moscow 1 Moscow 2 Silverstone 1 Silverstone 2 Hungaroring 1 Hungaroring 2 Paul Ricard 1 Paul Ricard 2 Catalunya 1 Catalunya 2
Robin Frijns 15 40 40 46 61 76 86 111 111 129 131 156 166 172 174 189 189
Jules Bianchi 0 0 18 36 36 61 61 79 85 110 125 140 142 154 179 185 185
Sam Bird 2 20 45 60 70 74 86 101 101 101 126 127 139 140 155 173 179
Antonio Felix da Costa 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 8 8 18 36 48 73 98 116 141 166
Nick Yelloly 25 25 31 33 51 51 76 76 76 88 92 92 92 110 122 122 122
Marco Sorensen 6 6 14 39 45 53 71 79 79 79 79 83 101 111 121 122 122
Kevin Magnussen 18 18 18 18 43 53 57 57 58 58 58 76 76 84 84 94 106
Arthur Pic 0 15 15 15 15 27 27 39 64 64 76 86 94 94 94 94 102
Nico Muller 0 0 10 20 32 50 50 54 54 54 60 68 68 72 78 78 78
Kevin Korjus 0 12 24 24 24 24 24 34 49 49 49 49 55 57 61 69 69
Alexander Rossi 0 10 25 25 25 25 27 27 37 37 47 49 53 53 53 53 63
Will Stevens 8 12 12 12 16 17 17 18 22 22 30 30 45 45 45 57 59

Frijns held the championship lead for much of the season, but lost it following the penultimate double-header at Paul Ricard. He regained the advantage after beating Bianchi in the first race at Circuit de Catalunya.

Red Bull-backed Antonio Felix da Costa, who featured in an earlier instalment of One To Watch, finished the championship in fourth despite having only joined the series at round six. In the final five races he scored four wins and a second.

Robin Frijns in Formula Renault 3.5

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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81 comments on “Frijns wins Formula Renault 3.5 title at first attempt”

  1. It is clear that more than one F1 team will try to get Frijns under their stable, and I read the comments that he would like to position himself without financial support from his family business. However, F1 racing requires both goog drivers and a lot of R&D. In the case of Sauber, Esteban is an option that fulfills both requirements. Telmex is a local company and does not make economic sense to loose a Mexican pilot. But Sauber is known to have an eye for talent. So, how about Frijns ans Gutierrez instead of Gutierrez and HulKenberg lineup? Yes, it sounds like they need more experienced drivers, but I think if they aim at a 3 year plan we could have a new top 3 tier team in the making.

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      21st October 2012, 22:18

      i would say Lotus is now a top tier team, too now. they’ve had 2 second places and a hell of a lot of seconds and thirds

      1. Indeed. It would be a blast to have at least 6 competitive teams: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mc Laren, Lotus, Mercedes and Sauber. Williams should be just there too.

    2. We dont want another Grosjean in F1. He can stay where he is until he learns to drive more carefully…

  2. Quite stunning to build a championship season like that in your rookie season, despite the iffy way it ended. What I don’t understand is why he says he wants to get into F1 without funding, when clearly his family’s business is currently sponsoring him?

    Also, does anyone have any more information (or indeed, confirmation) that Bianchi is serious about taking Frijns to court over the incident?

    1. I think he means getting into Formula 1 without the support of a team. Red Bull apparently wanted him for the YDP, but it seems that Frijns didn’t want to be bound to that carousel of drivers, unable to male his own decisions about his career.

      1. I understand it much like PM as well

        Frijns didn’t want to be bound to that carousel of drivers, unable to malke his own decisions about his career

        1. @bascb – It’s a smart move.

          I think Frijns could cut it in Formula 1 next year. His astronomical rise through the ranks cannot be overlooked (even though I naturally question where the gaps in his knowledge are; the last thing anyone* wants is for him to get to Formula 1 and fall flat on his face), but if he joined Red Bull’s YDP, he’d probably be spending 2013 doing make-work. Assuming Red Bull gives their drivers two years to prove themselves – as they did with Buemi and Alguersuari – Vergne and Ricciardo have another season at Toro Rosso before moving on. So they’d likely cart Frijns off to some other series, keeping him out of Formula 1. And what happens if they find another superstar in the making before the end of 2013? Frijns could miss out altogether, especially if he is in a bad series like GP2.

          *Except for Jules Bianchi, perhaps.

      2. Given the rather limited number of successes of the Red Bull YDP (er, one) and the large number of failures, I’d say Frijns made a sensible decision.

    2. no court but I hope the guy gets some drivers lessons before he get into F1. 1 Grosjean is enough for F1 and I dont want to see anyone getting kill by lack of maturity in the Big One

  3. The title should be a driver to scratch.
    I´m not a Bianchi´s fan, but I´m not also an apologist of win at all cost. Frijns was about to be passed by Magnussen and seeing a presumably lost title doesn´t brake at all and pushes Bianchi out the race and the championship. That´s not the way a real motorsport fan wishes to see a title decided.
    He won a title and a reputation.

    1. I really don’t think the crash was cynical. He dived up the inside, maybe in an over-optimistic manner, but the championship was on the line. Also, I don’t think crashing into your opponent at this stage was necessary for him to secure the title, as even though he was under pressure from Magnussen, I’m pretty sure that had he wanted to defend he would have tried. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and argue that he was focused on re-passing Bianchi. To argue that the very second Magnussen attempted a pass, Frijns immediately eliminated defence as a hopeless alternative and concluded that the only way to win the title was to ram his championship rival in front off the road is stretching it in my opinion.

      This scenario is different from Jerez 1997 and I wouldn’t compare the two.

    2. So now we have a new “Jnr. Schumi”

  4. Thoroughly deserved from what I’ve seen of the season (if we discount da Costa’s epic finale). Regarding Frijns, I’m really excited about the guy as he’s storming through categories like both Hamilton and Hulkenberg have done.

    While this season has restored Bianchi’s credibility somewhat, he has been rather disappointing given the expectations last year with ART. That’s not to say he doesn’t belong in F1, but given the amount of experience he’s now got in second-tier categories without a title, younger and more impressive candidates seem to be available. I think he’ll make it into F1, but more so because none of the exciting prospects – Frijns, da Costa, Bottas – have much experience at this point quantities. While I still think they deserve a seat more than Bianchi does, coming into F1 too early can have disastrous effects for the drivers in question, but also the teams will be wary of signing a relatively unknown quantity especially with the limited amount of testing (of which Bianchi has had quite a bit already).

  5. The standout bit of the article for me was the part of da Costa. I don’t generally follow junior formulae, so yeah. Would I be right in saying that had the first five races been eliminated (to normalise against da Costa’s late entry) then da Costa would have been the champion?

    1. Correct.
      Da Costa is kind of a strange case though. He’s shown very little in GP3, so it’s peculiar how he suddenly seems to be so strong in WSR.

      1. @mnmracer well as we pointed out at F1Tech… comparing results from different formulae is pointless :P

        See Grosjean and Kobayashi, in GP2 vs… GP2 Asia I think?

      2. He had a slower car in GP3, and yet he showed some skills like that bump drafting in monza plus still getting 3th place overall…

      3. he lost the champ on the last race, with a hardware fault
        even so i think he has been the unique guy doing this:

        and yesm this guys knows how to touch in others competitors without putting them out of race.

      4. I´m sorry but you must have not followed GP3 this year to say such a thing. Even his rivals said that he was flying in the 2nd part of the season and if it wasn´t his gearbox problems in monza he would certainly be champion of GP3.

    2. @raymondu999, I have no TV coverage of jnr. formulas so like you don’t follow them, however the way F1 is going this formula sounds like it is every bit as good, perhaps even better, an entertainment as F1.

  6. Damon Hill didn’t think Frijns was at fault.
    “This is a racing incident. Frijns is on the inside of Bianchi. In such a case, you have to leave room or else this will happen.”

    1. It’s a difficult call. Had Bianchi been behind and attempted an overtake on the outside, Frijns understeered and then eliminated Bianchi, that would be a racing incident (rule no1 in karting, be very wary when overtaking on the outside…!).

      I havent seen many camera angles of the incident, so it’s hard to make a call, but you have to feel that Frijns was a bit naughty on this one. But as we see so often in motorsport, sometimes you just have to play dirty…

    2. I have no way of knowing who was right or wrong but if, as has happened before, a title is gained by putting the leader or main challenger out, there needs to be redress if the surviving driver is found to be at fault, something like a loss of points equal to 1 race win.

      1. @hohum

        I have no way of knowing who was right or wrong

        A video of the incident has been uploaded to YouTube. You can see it here.

        if, as has happened before, a title is gained by putting the leader or main challenger out, there needs to be redress if the surviving driver is found to be at fault, something like a loss of points equal to 1 race win

        Absolutely not.

        The difference between the Frijns-Bianchi and Schumacher-Villeneuve incidents is that when Schumacher hit Villeneuve, it was intentional. He deliberately tried to put Villeneuve out of the race so that he could win the title. Watching the incident between Frijns and Bianchi, it’s immediately obvious that there is nothing malicious from Frijns. He moves over to cover off Kevin Magnussen, but leaves it too late – mostly because Magnuessen himself waited – and doesn’t have enough time to pull himself up before making contact with Bianchi, who is moving across onto the racing line through Turn 4.

        If you’d watched a replay of it, you’d see it for yourself.

        1. I saw it more like that deciding moment between Damon Hill and Schumacher in Australia 94, when after making contact with the wall and seeing the championship slip through his fingers Schumacher squeezed Hill making contact retiring both.
          Frijns also saw his championship slipping through and did what Schumacher did almost 20 years ago.

          1. If there wasn’t a championship on the line, people wouldn’t be criticising Frijns for it.

            Frijns would also know if that if he hit Bianchi deliberately and got punished for it, his career would practically be over. He’d never make it to Formula 1.

          2. @pnunocosta – For future reference, this is what deliberately running another car off the circuit looks like:


        2. @prisoner-monkeys, like I said, if the stewards with all the information at their hands find the surviving driver guilty of causing an avoidable collision then I stand by my above statement, as Pedro’s comment shows it’s not always easy to judge.

          1. @hohum – There is a provision within the rules for the stewards to disqualify drivers if they feel that that driver intentionally caused a collision. It’s been there since 1997. If they didn’t use that provision, then they obviously felt that while Frijns caused an avoidable collision, it was not intentional.

            Also, we only have two angles: the trackside camera and the on-board camera from Bianchi’s car looking backwards. The stewards have considerably more, plus access to the telemetry from all cars.

            Speaking of that rearward angle on Bianchi’s car, I suggest you watch this onboard lap of Barcelona with Michael Schumacher, and compare the line he takes through Turn 4 to the lines taken by Bianchi and Frijns. I think Bianchi actually ran fairly deep into the corner – Frijns hugs the kerb, much like Schumacher does.

            I suspect that what has happened is that Frijns tried to kill two birds with one stone: defending against Magnussen, and attacking Bianchi. I don’t know if he saw that Bianchi made a mistake – he was moving to shut the door Magnussen first – but as Bianchi started to drift back in towards the racing line, Frijns was in his blind spot. Remember, the drivers are set into position by the shape of the car and the HANS device; they cannot twst their heads about to see where another driver is, and the rear view mirrors often give a very narrow field of view. We saw this in action in Turkey back in 2010 when Webber and Vettel collided.

            In this instance, a collision was unavoidable from Bianchi’s perspective. He had track position, if not the racing line, and he could not have seen Frijns before it was too late. Frijns, on the other hand, could have avoided the collision by backing off, because he wasn’t alongside Bianchi when they made contact. That, however, does not make his move intentional.

            Furthermore, the idea that a driver should be docked points in a championship-deciding race when he would normally receive a time penalty is simply unfair, and you make no distinction between intentional and unintentional collisions.

          2. In my opinion Frinjs should get a 2 races suspension for next year´s championship. Taking this championship from him it would be too much, 25″ penalty absolutely not enough.
            In order to this kind of situations not to happen again the penalty should hurt a bit.

          3. @pnunocosta

            the penalty should hurt a bit

            But given that he almost certainly won’t be racing in the championship next year, what your suggesting wouldn’t hurt him in the slightest.

            (Not that I agree he deserves a more severe punishment than the one he has been given.)

          4. @pnunocosta

            In my opinion Frinjs should get a 2 races suspension for next year´s championship.

            For causing an avoidable collision?

            You’re assuming that he did it deliberately. Where is your proof?


            But given that he almost certainly won’t be racing in the championship next year

            If he can’t get a place in Formula 1, then he probably will stay in Formula Renault 3.5 – it’s probably cheaper than GP2, and Frijns doesn’t have much sponsorship; furthermore, it’s more competitive, and it has a fairly intense racing programme with dedicated qualifying sessions for each race and none of the reverse grid shenanigans that GP2 has. But at worst, I can see him doing what Bianchi did with Force India this year, combining a Formula Renault 3.5 programme with the occasional Friday morning duties for a Formula 1 team.

          5. (@prisoner-monkeys)
            You’re assuming that he did it deliberately. Where is your proof?

            I´m no fan of Bianchi and even had some simpathy and admiration towards Frinjs, so I think that I have an impartial view over that accident, and I explained my point of view. Proofs? No one in this forum have them, we just rely in what he saw, and we stand for that.
            Both Prost and Senna accidents in Japan, did you need proofs or was it pretty evident?

            I agree with you on Frinjs future, if he doesn´t get a F1 seat he should do something like Bianchi did this year, WSR 3.5 and FP1 in F1. Gp2 is a bit of an anarchy, where drivers are always clashing each other and have no respect for their opponents… oh wait, that´s the perfect environment for Frinjs! :-)

          6. @pnunocosta You can snark and insinuate all you want, but at the end of it you still don’t have proof and no, it is nowhere near as clear-cut as when Senna and Prost ran one another off the road. For one thing, it wouldn’t have taken the race stewards 5.5 hours to come to a decision if it was and secondly, if it had been on purpose there is no way he would have hit Bianchi sideways on with the rear wheels tangling like that when there was perfect opportunity to t-bone him off without anywhere near as much danger to himself. It was a clumsy move at worst, a very optimistic one at best and avoidable in any case, for which he was penalised.

            /Le shrug.

          7. @pnunocosta

            Both Prost and Senna accidents in Japan, did you need proofs or was it pretty evident?

            No, but they were fairly obvious. This is considerably less so.

            For example, if Frijns really wanted to take Bianchi out of the race, when didn’t he collide with him when Bianchi passed him at the first corner? If anything, Frijns is careful to avoid contact with Bianchi at that corner. Why would he change his mind about putting Bianchi out of the race in the space of a kilometre? And how could he plan an execute the move in that same space?

            Sorry, but by pointing to Senna and Prost in this instance, you’ve fallen into a logical fallacy: that correlation somehow imples causation when in actual fact, it does no such thing. If the title had already been decided in Bianchi’s favour on Saturday, or if this collision between Bianchi and Frijns happened at any other race, you would not be assuming Frijns deliberately punted him off the circuit.

  7. At the time of Felix Da Costa’s début, the champion Robin Frijns was on 76 points (6 races into the championship). The championship was won with 189 points, and 4th placed Da Costa has 166 points, only 23 of winning the championship. He has gained 53 points on the champion in 12 races, an impressive statistic even without the mention that he was only on 8 points by the end of the 9th round!

    Conclusion: Felix Da Costa is one quick driver!

    1. That should read eventual champion, if I’ve to be correct with my English! And while I’m at it, off not of.

    2. i know who won the champ, and i think that was not Frinjs and not also Jules.
      Jules cause he lost the champ on the error he did on last saturday.
      Frinjs winning a champ with a accident is not good…

      1. I also know who won the championship, it is in the headline of the article. I was emphasising the point that Da Costa would have probably been in a position to contest for the championship had he started his bid at the same time as the eventual victor.

        I made no mention of whether I thought the way in which Frijns won the championship was ethical or not, or for that matter about why Bianchi’s championship bid faltered at the final hurdle.

        Also, you cannot dispute who is champion; you can perhaps dispute who was the best driver throughout the season (as I have done) or dispute who you think would be the most deserving champion but the championship standings don’t lie.

    3. The fact that AFC jumped to a new car only in Nurburgring without any kind of previous test and being on the pace so quickly just gives him more credit. As I said before, with pre-season testing and making the whole season he would probably have won this title.

      1. @pnunocosta

        The fact that AFC jumped to a new car only in Nurburgring without any kind of previous test and being on the pace so quickly just gives him more credit. As I said before, with pre-season testing and making the whole season he would probably have won this title.


  8. Frijns is only 20, and he’s won 3 championships of different racing series in 3 consecutive years. First Formula BMW, then Formula 2.0 and now Formula 3.5; he’s a future world champion, that’s right. You heard it hear first. ;)

    1. He could well get a race seat at Red Bull soon, given that Webber’s contract’s up at the end of 2013, and that Vettel may vacate his seat in 2014/15. It would be excellent if Frijns and indeed Da Costa could get F1 race seats for next year!

      1. given that Webber’s contract’s up at the end of 2013

        Meanwhile in 2025: Mark Webber and Felipe Massa extend their contract with Red Bull and Ferrari respectively for one more season.

      2. @vettel1 – If both Vettel and Webber were to leave the team, then I would expect Red Bull to take da Costa and put him alongside either Vergne or Ricciardo; whoever comes out on top next year. The other would stay at Toro Rosso and would likely be put with Daniil Kvyat or Carlos Sainz, Jnr.; whoever performs better there.

        1. Yes, two rookies in a top team is not a recipe for winning constructors championships! I’m not sure if Vettel will leave to Ferrari, perhaps when Alonso’s gone but if Red Bull remain competitive then I don’t see why he would jeopardise his own championship chances by going head to head with one of the best drivers on the grid.

  9. We’ll a deserved title if you ask me, I agree that it was a racing accident, not a deliberate attempt to push Bianchi out. And yes da Costa night have well taken the title had he driven all season, but he didn’t. Wich does nothing to deminish the fact that Frijns won the title in his rookie season, against guys 2 to 4 his senior, with more racing experience in more classes( da costa is the same age, but has been in single seaters 2 years longer)

    As to the sponsoring by his family compagny, Frijns industrial is not exactly a huge multinational. They’re a steel company with 3 offices is the south of the Netherlands, and have recently opened up an office in the gulf to suply steel for oil rigs. But no way in hell can they provide the millions of dollars needed to “buy”an F1 seat

    1. As to the sponsoring by his family compagny, Frijns industrial is not exactly a huge multinational. They’re a steel company with 3 offices is the south of the Netherlands, and have recently opened up an office in the gulf to suply steel for oil rigs. But no way in hell can they provide the millions of dollars needed to “buy”an F1 seat

      Who says Frijns needs sponsorship?

      Not only did he win Formula Renault 3.5 on his first attempt, but he won last year’s Eurocup 2.0 series as well. He finished fourth in the North European Cup, despite only doing half a season, and in 2010, he won the Formula BMW Europe championship on his second attempt (he had finished third on his first attempt in 2009.

      I would say that Frijns has done enough to get into Formula 1 on merit and on merit alone. And there are three potential teams that he could join: Sauber, Williams and Force India.

      When Sergio Perez left Sauber, the team confirmed that they had a long-term deal with Telmex, and that the arrangement did not hinge on the presence of a Mexican driver in the team. It would certainly make things better for them, but it was not a necesseity. If Frijns impresses the team at the Young Driver Tests in Abu Dhabi, they could probably afford to take him on, and with his track record, it shouldn’t be too difficult to attract sponors. While both Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez have both been linked to Sauber seats, Gutierrez’s place in the team seems considerable less secure than Hulkenberg’s.

      Meanwhile, Williams have a sponsorship deal with PDVSA though Pastor Maldonado. Although the details of the contract have never been made public, it is widely believed that PDVSA pay Williams more with each passing year that the team keep Maldonado in place. Although they have two pay drivers this year, I think they’ll be hard-pressed to keep Bruno Senna; Maldonado, at least, has made good on the potential of the FW34 from time to time. They could reasonably drop Senna and pick up Frijns. Of course, they have Valtteri Bottas in reserve, but Bottas has not raced at all this year, and only has a GP3 title to his name – Frijns, on the other hand, has three titles.

      Finally, Force India have a very unique structure. Most of the team’s finances are derived from Vijay Mallya’s businesses, which allows them the freedom to take whoever they want as drivers, and with Hulkenberg reportedly going to Sauber, they’ll have a spare seat next year. Of course, Mallya’s financial woes might mean the team has an uncertain future – he avoided the arrest warrant by paying his dues, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods – so the team might not be an appealing choice.

      1. I really doubt that Telmex will accept anything else than having Esteban on Sauber. Bear in mind that Telmex is just a local company. If no Mexican is driving a Sauber I doubt that there will by much interest in the team from a marketing perspective. Also the local newspapers have given for granted Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez on Sauber. In interviews Esteban has mentioned that it’s up to Sauber to let the word out, like it’s a done deal. If this is so, it’s more likely that Frijns would take the Force India seat, unless there is an exchange of Frinjs for Hulkenberg. I see no option of Carlos Slim accepting the sponsorship without Esteban. Only time will tell.

        1. Bear in mind that Telmex is just a local company. If no Mexican is driving a Sauber I doubt that there will by much interest in the team from a marketing perspective

          Telmex is owned by America Movil, a considerably larger company.

  10. I realised today by the way that the Formula Renault 3.5 cars are now faster than the GP2 cars. On the tracks both series visited, the WSR pole position was an average of 0.201 faster.

    1. On the tracks both series visited, the WSR pole position was an average of 0.201 faster.

      That’s not much of a difference. Perhaps it’s just a matter of the current F3.5R grid being more talented than the GP2 drivers. ;)

      1. Still, not much mention of this, but the difference between what they drove previously and what they had to drive in WSR 3.5, was by far the largest for Frijns. He came from this:

        The engine is a sealed, 16-valve, 4-cylinder Renault Sport type F4R FRS with Orbisoud race exhaust system and catalytic converter, built and developed by Renault Sport.
        Capacity: 1998 cc
        Max Output: 192 bhp (143 kW) at 6,500 rpm
        Max Torque: 22mkg (159lb.ft) at 5,500 rpm

        and went to this:

        The 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season is the eighth season of the Renault–supported single–seater category.

        It will be the first season for the new Dallara T12 chassis, which features a new, 530 bhp (400 kW) V8 engine supplied by British firm Zytek Motorsport.[1] The car will also feature a new gearbox developed by Ricardo and a Drag Reduction System similar to the one first used in the 2011 Formula One season.

  11. I’m pretty pleased with Frijns’ title! It’s a shame the incident happened, but understandable. Other Dutch fans have noted the amount of times Bianci managed to crash into van der Garde in Gp2 in 2011, so most Dutch fans seem little empathic to Bianchi.

    But what about Felix da Costa? Sure, I’m excited about having Frijns as a potential points-scoring Dutchman in Formula One, but if da Costa manages to keep this up, I think we’re looking at a future Red Bull Racing driver.

    1. but if da Costa manages to keep this up, I think we’re looking at a future Red Bull Racing driver.

      and possibly even one to get close to Vettel for success!

  12. the Real winner this year is da Costa. even though Frijns and Bianchi evenly matched, I think da Costa’s stunning performance of later part of the season stole thunder from them. Still, I don’t think da Costa will debut F1 next year(maybe try GP2?), and no one would argue with Bianchi’s form despite bad way of closing the championship. surley Bianchi would get a seat next year in F1 while Frijns and da Costa won’t. However, I think too long career and no title in junior formula really hurts Bianchi’s reputation. I wish best luck for him in F1 if Force India choose him.

    1. The portuguese driver must keep his feet on the ground as he is still young and he is not prepared to F1.
      AFC gave a hint that he would do another season in WSR 3.5, and that´s what I believe is his best option. It would be great to gain experience if he could do some FP1 in STR, something that wouldn´t be possible if he did GP2.

  13. If you no longer go for a gap you’re no longer a racing driver… Ayrton Senna Da Silva.
    In my opinion Robin Frijns belongs to that group of real racing drivers. What he accomplished this year
    is remarkable. Not only because he won this as a rookie againt drivers who already had some much experience in F3, GP2 and F1. But also he did it with Fortec Racing. A private teams with no big backups like other teams in the World Series. Some say Da Costa should be the champion but Da Costa had not the pressure on him like Frijns, Bianchi and Bird had. That makes a real difference. Ofcourse Da Costa is very impressive but you can’t tell what would happend when he started te season.

    There are not many drivers who has won three Formula championships on a row. No drivers has accomplished to win both FR 2.0 and 3.5 in there rookie seasons. If Formula 1 doesn’t pick up this driver you can ban the junior classes. You deserves a change in Formula 1. I also impressed with the 3.5 championship this year. Damn, what a record of talent drover against each other this season. So much stronger then GP2.
    Looking forward to next season. Hopely with Da Costa and Magnussen go for the title. About Bianchi want go to court to claim the title. That’s lame and i think its because of the fact that Bianchi can’t loose his face losing from a rookie this year. He needed the title to make a step forward.

    1. this year championship was a disater…
      I dont know how he won the champ..

      did you see the race on paul ricard… he simple do not know to handle a car on rain…
      and the last race on barcelona, he put bianchi out…

      a disaster…

  14. Watched the finale yesterday and was completely disgusted. I watched the whole season and was rooting for Frijns to get the title. He impressed me a lot before but now I’ve lost all respect for him. This Schumacher-esque attitude of winning at all costs, even cheating and/or driving your rival off the road is the one and only thing that makes me hate a certain driver.

    Bianchi made a fantastic overtake on him and instead of accepting it and concentrating on wiinning the championship by finishing straight after Bianchi he just rammed him off the road. I hope now he never gets to F1 and if he does, which unfortunately seems likely, then that he fails there miserably which is exactly what he deserves.

    Also the stewarding is even more pathetic: for this offense Frijns should’ve been made an example of. Which means punished in such a way to strip him off a title he doesn’t deserve.

    To summarize: it was a really good WSbR season and a great fight between Frijns, Bird and Bianchi, plus a fantastic mid-season appearance of Da Costa. But the finale ruined it all. Rays of light: another stunning Da costa performance and a great battle between RFR team-mates Aleshin and Vainio

    Sorry for the overly ranting post but that’s how I feel right now.

    1. I can understand you feel this way about yesterday. But i don’t think Frijns cheated as you refered on Schumacher. Some will judge Frijns for his action. Some say that it was a race accident. Some will say that if i was in Frijns his shoes i would take the oppurtinity too.
      And when his move had succeded it was a briljant move. If Frijns wanted to take
      Bianchi out on purpose he wouldn’t have braked at all. I prefer to see it as a race incident and if you look at how Bianchi has driven in the last couple of years he could have been doing and risk the same. Both are aggresive drivers who fought a hard fight for the title.

      1. As Martin Brundle said about Prost/Senna accident in 1990 “He was driving into a disappearing wedge”. There’s no way he would’ve maid it stick and actually the only thing that stopped Frijns from going off the track is Bianchi’s car as plainly he would never have managed to stop. And if he didn’t want to hit Bianchi he would’ve backed out of it and braked much sooner than he hadIt was not a racing incident same as Suzuka 1989,90′, Adelaide 1994, Jerez 1997 were not racing incidents. It was a cheating incident and the stewards should’ve acted according to Jerez precedent.

        Those who say that in Frijns’ shoes they would’ve done the same lack three things:honor, true sportsmanship and also brains because causing a deliberate accident is dangerous and also could’ve resulted in Bird winning the title anyway.

        Bianchi’s incidents record is irrelevant when we’re talking about Frijns, he hadn’t done anything wrong here. Also I don’t care at all about Bianchi, but as I said, I liked Frijns and the fantastic job he has done fighting much more experienced rivals. So when he does this it’s doubly disappointing. I’m sure I’m not the only potential fan he has lost yesterday amd while he may not care about that at all, his potentiial future rivals in F1 will have noticed and now they know he’s one who’s prepared to play dirty. Bad move all round IMO and totally uncalled for

    2. You are a bit hard in your judgement because you have condemned someone without seeing all the evidence and without using logic. If Frijns wanted to take out Bianchi, he would have either just closed the door going into turn 1. 100% guaranteed to take both out. he could have just braked too late for the corner and would have knocked Bianchi BEFORE the Apex. But he and Bianchi contacted after the Apex, when both where on the throttle, Bianchi understeered going into the corner, Frijns, saw a opening and went for it. Bianchi should have realized there is a risk of someone inside when he left the door so wide open but steered towards to normal line again, unfortunatly Frijns was also there, on the INSIDE of the Apex and could not go more to the inside. The dive to pass was maybe optimistic but so was the whole of Bianchi’s race that day. Bianchi could not have hold on to that position after asking so much from his tires, you could see they where already beginning to suffer from his pushing. And I doubt he had any(or very little) DRS time left to defend himself with. If it was the other way around I am 100% sure Bianchi would have taken out Frijns a couple of laps before already, just to be safe he simply would have just overshot hsi breaking and hit him from behind and claim it as a accident.

      1. Having watched it from multiple angles is enough evidence like here:

        Binchi surprised Frijns into turn 1, that’s why he could not take him out there. So then he went for win or bust move into turn 4. Turn 4 is a long wide radius corner with very early apex. All the theories by Frijns apologists regarding “after apex” are therefore nonsense. Also you write that Bianchi under-steered. Never happened. He just took the normal line into the corner. Frijns was driving into a space that was always going to disappear and if he wanted to avoid collision he should’ve backed out of it much sooner, and if not for using Bianchi’s car for support he would’ve never made the corner at all let alone the apex at the speed he was going.

        The rest of your arguments are all “ifs” and “buts” that are completely irrelevant speculations. What the possibility of Bianchi to stay in front or not has to do with Frinjs ramming him off the track to win the title? Zilch.

        Your logic, I’m sorry to say is flawed at best, misleading at worst

        1. The most importent camera angle of all stayed missing. But from the rear camera it was obviously, Bianchi clearly missed the Apex, as you said it is a Early Apex, Bianchi did not even come close to it, look at the reply again and see. If Bianchi had the Apex Frijns would have found it impossible to come even close. Maybe you should drive the track yourself, Frijns took a tighter line then normal, but Bianchi completly missed his Apex. The reason Frijns barely stayed inside the track was because as any open-wheeled driver can tell you, that if you hit a sidepod with yourfront wheel like that the car will straighten out as a result, it is simple physics, not because Frijns speed was too great, then he would have gone after Bianchi. Without looking at Frijns stearing movement all you can claim is a big pile of assumptions based on your already biased view of the events.

          1. First of all, super funny that you say “your already biased view of the events” when I said this ” I watched the whole season and was rooting for Frijns to get the title” in my original comment that you clearly haven’t read properly.
            I also said this in reply to James Livin: “Also I don’t care at all about Bianchi, but as I said, I liked Frijns and the fantastic job he has done fighting much more experienced rivals. So when he does this it’s doubly disappointing”

            Early apex means in this case that in order to have hit Bianchi before the apex Frijns should’ve piled into the back of his gearbox as it would be physically impossible otherwise. And you’ve got the concepts of “apex” and “turn-in point” all mixed up. Look in the video (at 1:20) at the two cars in front of Bianchi-they take exactly the same line as he does, do they both also understeer? No. This line is beneficial to get a faster exit. If you’ve driven the track in F1 simulator games such as GP4 by Geoff Grammond you would know that. And yes, Frijns’ speed was too fast for the corner and he would never have stopped in time but for Bianchi’s car being there. The straightening up effect that you’re talking about is nothing against a car that’s there and stopping you. It’s like saying that you weren’t going too fast before a wall that you’ve hit. Of course the wheel will straighten up but what is stronger: the wall or the wheel? Same with a car and a wheel-the car is stronger.

            To summarize: All evidence points to a deliberate “do or die” action by Frijns on Bianchi who has just taken the normal racing line. No evidence at all that he under-steered and missed the turn-in point. Would he take such an action if it was him behind in the standings? Not bloody likely. And there’s no evidence to the contrary. So if my evidence is as you say “nothing” yours is less than nothing.

            Of course I’m not a judge and don’t have all the evidence possible, only footage that was broadcasted and logic. The comments of the drivers are not helping as well. Bianchi says that Frijns clearly pushed him off(but he would say that). Frijns says it was a racing incident(but he would say that). I can only judge from what is available and to me it was clear from the first what happened. You haven’t provided any proof to the contrary just some factually wrong assumptions. I’d truly like to be proven wrong on this but you’re not helping…

        2. Dont get me wrong,Frijns did made a mistake, but Bianchi made a mistake and left the door open making it look like there was a change for Frijns. But to make it look like it was a planned attack from Frijns to take Bianchi out, you have NOTHING to back it up. Accidents like these happen a dozen times or more a season but now because it is in a final between the contender you judge it differently then you would otherwise. This is open wheel racing not a parade of cars. If his was any other race you would not even be thinking this way.

          1. K first when i say you are Biased, is broader then being biased before the accident, but more that you made your judgement based on a video from the worst angles possible. if you look in the rear view you see ALL other cars following the same line as Frijns did, not the one from Bianchi.

            With regard to the corner I get the feeling you are mixing up Repsol and Renault, one you actually take a pretty wide line to carry as much speed as possible where the other is hug inside apex and go wide out. Just watch any onboard lap of for instance the formula one. If you go in too fast you can take a very wide line to still make the corner it is pretty easy but not when Bianchi is closing the door because he realizes he left it wide open. Because if you go in wide you actually cannot accelerate properly out that corner which is what Frijns was hoping for, he did not try to Pass him in that corner but position it so that he could get a better exit speed and be in front before the next corner.

            Most comments also act like it was a instant move directly after the overtaking action. So far I have not seen any evidence to a do or die movement. So i find it remarkable how you manage to say ALL the evidence points to a do or die move. Look very good to the line of of ALL the drivers behind Bianchi they all hit the apex Bianchi missed it by atleast 2 meters because even though his turn in was on time he had either to much speed or to little grip. Like i said Bianchi was pushing it like a desperate man the whole race while Frijns seemed to drive the whole race mature and calm, letting Bianchi use all his DRS and tires in failed attempts. It would be weird to see that in a time frame of 10 seconds to go complete reversed. I am sure Bianchi panicked when he realized he left the door open and tried to close it. If anything this crash can be compared to it would be Hill Schumacher but then in Silverstone. Nobody when saying how shamefull it was from Hill to try and overtake Schumacher back then when he saw a gap. The drivers comment I heard was only from Bianchi who i dont care about about and Sam Bird, who I care even less about as he and Frijns are not on best terms and was way to far behind to even really see what happened cause he was not even right behind Frijns and magnussen but even behind that with a decent gap in it. The fact that he even says something like that just shows he does not deserve any future in formula one. Too me this is just a race accident, Bianchi left the door open and what kind of title contender would you be if you would not go for it? And if a couple of world champions are defending Frijns then I value their opinion a 1000x times more.

            To be honest I think Bianchi manager should not be allowed to manage anyone in the formula one because in several divisions there have been some questionable decisions made which hugely benefited drivers under his contract. (a driver got disqualified for something that was the other drivers fault losing a title so his drivrs score a one-two). But the higher the divisions the harder it is for him to manipulate.

  15. Jayfreese (@)
    22nd October 2012, 12:25

    “Felix da Costa wins Formula Renault 3.5 title at half attempt”

    1. Without the pressure that Frijns, Bird and Bianchi had. Easy talk.
      He did a marvelous job but to say that he would be champion if he started
      the season you can’t prenounce.

  16. Two tests isn’t bad going, is it?

    I remember Ricciardo did his test in a RB last year and much was made of how he beat the fastest lap set in the race (not factoring in a heavily rubbered-in track). It seems a lot of people expected big things from him, yet he’s still to deliver anything outstanding, albeit in a fairly rubbish car. It will be interesting to see how Frijn’s gets on in two different cars and whether or not he can put the Sauber anywhere near the Red Bull this will likely top the table.

    1. 6th on the grid in Bahrain? That’s pretty impressive if you ask me (given he as you said had a fairly mediocre car). Although he did balls the start so he threw it out the window pretty quickly.

  17. Felix da Costa’s impact in WSR3.5 this year has been impressive, very much like Jean Eric Vergne’s in the same category in 2010. So maybe we will see them at RBR together in 2014…2015… I look forward to it, whenever it might be.

    1. Yeah, probably in STR in 2014.

  18. Frijns: Cheater
    I want to see a legal race battle, not a guy that crashes to another just to win.
    Take Razia and Valsecchi as an example.

    1. indeed, but i wouldnt go as far as cheater however careless driving like this should have severe penalty so drivers would be more careful next time

  19. Wherever you look at it, he was at fault so no championship awarded should be the case. Anyone watching what grosjean is doing in F1? he almost kill someone with an amateurish move like this guy did that escalated into a flying car. Sooner or later letting drivers go with little penalty like 25 sec would let them feel all mighty and with the feeling they can do anything. Intentional or not, it wasnt a race incident since the guy was at faul with a amateurish move like that so a severe penalty should be place so he wont try a stunt like this in the future that could take another driver life like almost Grosjean did with ALonso. If anyone recall Grosjean started with small amateurish accident scalating into the last one because of his careless driving and since he wasnt really punished in the past he kept doing the same crap over and over again until finally almost took alonso head out and now people realized how dangerous he was and still the penalty was just small, 1 race ban, when you have other driver security compromise by this behaviour the driver should be ban for the entire season…keep giving excuses to driver like these sooner or later you will have a death toll on your hand to watch and then you will say oh sorry…

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