Crash-strewn Monza F3 race abandoned

Weekend Racing Wrap

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The third European Formula Three race Monza yesterday was called off by the organisers following a series of major accidents.

Elsewhere, rain played havoc with IndyCar’s only double-header meeting of the year, and DRS trouble hit the Formula Renault 3.5 field.

European Formula 3

Round 4: Monza, Italy

Dismal driving standards and ferocious crashes led the organisers of the European Formula Three meeting at Monza to abandon the final race.

After a slightly scrappy first race – won, like the other two, by pole sitter Felix Rosenqvist – a frantic second race on Saturday saw aerial accidents for two drivers.

The first was Ferrari development driver Lance Stroll, who was pitched into a terrifying somersault following contact with Antonio Giovinazzi at Curva Grande (first video). That prompted the first Safety Car intervention which was soon followed by another as Michele Beretta crashed at the Rettifilio chicane.

Further incidents led to the race being red-flagged short of full distance and half-points awarded. Hopes that any further dramas might be avoided were dashed within seconds of the third race starting, as Ryan Tveter became the next driver to fly through the air after contact with Fabian Schiller (second video). Tveter, who suffered a back injury in a first-lap crash in a Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup race at Paul Ricard last year, was taken to hospital for checks.

Following a spate of further minor incidents the Safety Car appeared on track and the race was red-flagged. Once again, only half-points were awarded.

Next race: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium


Rounds 7 and 8: Detroit

The red flags flew in both the weekend’s IndyCar races as heavy rain hit the Detroit street circuit. Carlos Munoz and Sebastien Bourdais shared the wins as seven different drivers have now claimed victory in the opening eight rounds.

Will Power led a single-file start on a soaked track in race one but Takuma Sato took the lead before a spate of caution periods affected the race. Marco Andretti pitted early for slick tyres as the track dried, and it took him to the head of the field as others eventually did the same.

But with the radar screens showing a large band of rain nearby, and with many drivers needing to pit for fuel, several teams took the surprising decision to switch their drivers to wet-weather rubber before the rain arrived. Munoz resisted the temptation for longer than most and it proved an inspired decision, handing him a 20 second lead after he eventually pitted. Within laps the predicted downpour then occurred, and with lightning in the area the red flag was thrown, handing Munoz his first win.

The rain persisted on Sunday: qualifying was abandoned and the grid set based on entrants’ points. Montoya built up a lead as the track dried at first then the rain returned. Montoya lost the field when the field pitted en masse during the safety car and one of his crew members lingered over a front wing settings change. Fast pit work by KV put Bourdais in the lead, then Sato controversially squeezed past Montoya at another restart. A late collision between Power and team mate Helio Castroneves led the organisers to red-flag the race so it could finish under green. Had the race gone its distance Bourdais might have been in trouble with his fuel, but as a time limit was now imposed he was able to keep Sato at bay for victory.

Next race: Texas Motor Speedway

Formula Renault 3.5

Round 3: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

A DRS glitch led to a controversial decision from the Formula Renault 3.5 race organisers at Spa: drivers were told they could use it whenever they liked during the second race. This was good news for those who had opted for a high-downforce set-up, such as Mathieu Vaxiviere.

The Lotus driver, who won the mandatory-low-downforce race one thanks to an inspired pass on Nicholas Latifi at Pouhon, overtook Tio Ellinas after their mid-race pit stop then went off in pursuit of Dean Stoneman. Taking up to two seconds per lap out of his rival in the twisty middle part of the lap, Vaxiviere demoted his rival at the chicane then pressed on in pursuit of the other DAMS car of Nyck de Vries.

But unlike at Aragon earlier this year there was to be no repeat of the last-lap action between the pair. De Vries’ skinny rear wing helped keep him safe on the straights and he punched the air in delight as he collected second place behind runaway winner Oliver Rowland. The latter now holds a six-point lead over Vaxiviere, while Monaco winner Jazeman Jaafer recovered from last on the grid to claim sixth thanks to a stellar first lap.

Next race: Hungaroring, Hungary


Round 2: EuroSpeedway Lausitz

Jamie Green took victory for Audi in race one, which came alive in the final part. Miguel Molina headed an Audi-dominated grid, with Green, Edoardo Mortara and Mattias Ekstrom behind. They fought for more than 40 minutes with the four separated by less than two seconds, and with only eight minutes to go, Green dived inside of Molina in turn one to take the victory.

Sunday’s second race saw Green win again, this time from pole. He was overtaken by Ekstrom at the start, but after 10 minutes he made another move into turn one to regain the lead. Despite the late appearance of the Safety Car, after Lucas Auer got stuck at turn eight, Green pulled out a two-second lead over Ekstrom at the finish, followed by Molina and Timo Scheider. Having filled the top four spots in race one, Audi went one better in the second event, locking out the top five.

Next race: Norisring, Germany


Round 13: Dover

The 13th round of the NASCAR season marked halfway in the build-up to the championship-deciding Chase for the Cup, which will begin at the 26th event in their mammoth 36-round calendar. Jimmie Johnson was already assured of a place among those eligible to win the title, and his fourth victory of the season at Dover further strengthens his hand. Kevin Harvick, who took his ninth top-two finish of the year, remains the points leader.

Next race: Pocono

Guest series: Renault Sport Trophy

Round 1: Spa-Francorchamps

Renault’s new single-specification sports car support race made its bow at Spa. The triple-header format began with a one-hour race where the professionals and amateurs (‘elite’ and ‘prestige’ are Renault’s preferred euphemisms) shared driving duties on Saturday, then separate sprint races for each class on Sunday.

David Fumanelli and Dario Capitanio had the honour of sharing victory in the first race on Saturday ahead of fellow Oregon drivers Niccolo Nalio and 2012 Formula Two champion Luciano Bacheta.

Next race: Hungaroring, Hungary

Over to you

Which of these races did you watch over the weekend? What other motor racing action on four wheels – or two – was keeping you entertained in the gap between grands prix? Let us know in the comments below.

This week, as well as the Canadian Grand Prix, the IndyCar drivers are racing for the third weekend in a row at Texas. The FIA is taking its Formula E and World Touring Car Championships to Moscow in Russia, though both are racing at different venues on different days.

In Britain the Euroformula Open will be in action at Silverstone while the British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park. Which of these will you be watching – and what else? Over to you in the comment.

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22 comments on “Crash-strewn Monza F3 race abandoned”

  1. Very disappointed with Formula 3. The top drivers drove really well but they, especially three-time winner Felix Rosenqvist, suffered for what others did. Felix lost a lot of points that he should have. Here’s hoping this does not decide the championship in favour of the Italian driver Giovinazzi. Shameful.

    1. @chrischrill
      Why would that be such a shame? I have absolutely no background in F3, but as far as I could see, Giovinazzi was taken out by Stroll in Race 2, so he could be considered just as unlucky as Rosenqvist.

      1. Giovinazzi leads the championship and Rosenqvist is chasing him. Rosenqvist won all 3 races but ending the races early caused half points, effectively stealing 25 points from him. That is a shame seeing how I am Swedish and therefore root for the Swede!

    2. I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the 3 races of F3. Really funny! Every second there was a crash or cars would zoom past the camera as they cut the chicane. Loved it when Callum Illot knocked over those cones as well. Also, it was very funny when someone in an orange car spun at the exit to the second corner and then in the background you could see someone had a separate accident at the same time! What a funny weekend!

      1. At last, the long elusive theoretical fan that Bernie has based all his ideas on… found.

  2. I watched the following: the IndyCar, the Euro F3 (most of it thanks to work), Formula Renault and the Renault Sport Trophy.

    IndyCar managed to get so many things wrong over the weekend that it was hilarious. We had some abysmal driving from the GP2 alumni (and some stunning driving from Conor Daly) and a completely bonkers decision in abandoning qualifying with two minutes to go, nulling the results. The first race and the second half of the second race were far too stop-start for my liking and this sort of thing needs to be looked at. Having cautions are all well and good but having seven within the space of 30 laps or so is just unnecessary.

    The standard of driving from the European F3 guys was appalling. I gave them the benefit of doubt when I stood on the outside of Club Corner at Silverstone for the first race of the season, but what happened over the weekend was certainly too far. Felix Rosenqvist was absolutely right with his comments after race 2.

    The Formula Renault guys, however, did a much better job for the most part. There was some brilliant side-by-side action at Spa, even two-wide through Eau Rouge at times and Vaxiviere’s pass around the outside of Pouhon was sensational. There’s some very strong guys in the 3.5 category this year for sure.

    The new Renault Sport car looked and sounded really good on track. The racing wasn’t the most exciting I’ve ever seen but as a single-make category it does look to hold some promise.

    1. I was almost embarrassed watching the second IndyCar race. Every time they flew the green flag towards the end of the race, someone would crash into a wall, a team mate or some other competitor. I was under the impression these were professional racing drivers.

      1. @jules-winfield @craig-o

        I think some things to consider when talking about the Indycar was that 90% of the Belle-Isle track is a concrete surface that has very little grid under optimal conditions & even less grip when its wet.
        The temperature was also unusually cold so they were having extra trouble getting tyres upto temperature & that on top of the wet/damp track was decreasing grip levels even further.

        The 1st half of the 2nd race when they were all on wets was fine because the wet tyres are designed to work in those sort of conditions, Moving to slicks that are meant for warmer conditions & don’t work well on a wet/damp track thats got little grip to start with was always going to be tricky.

        I really think Indycar needs to look at adopting intermediate tyres, There better suited to the sort on conditions we saw yesterday & if they had them I bet we would have seen less problems.

        I’d also point out that 2-3 of the cautions were caused due to debris (These new aero kits are a bit too fragile in areas) rather than actual accidents.

      2. Additionally, the Belle Isle circuit is really tight and narrow in most places. Which means that even in the event of a minor error, there is no where to go other than the wall or another car.

        Also, the other factor increasing the number of yellow flag periods, is that IndyCar’s approach is to have a group of marshals that are deployed to incident locations via truck instead of having a small army stationed all around the circuit, similar to the F1 medical car. This works great on ovals where the length of the tracks are usually less and local yellows are impossible. When this is carried over to the road and street courses however, it results in lengthy full course caution periods since deploying a truck full of marshals on track is ridiculously unsafe otherwise.

  3. I was at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday. The debut of the R.S. 01 was interesting, the cars look nice and fast and they sound great as well. It was a pity the grid is still very small, out of 13 entries 6 of them were eliminated after T1 (in the first race) due to collisions and blown up engines. Made for a rather dull race. I left during race 2, but not before I passed at La Source and saw two cars crashing into each other. Conclusion: series has potential, but needs more and better drivers.

    The FR3.5 race was a blast. Standing at Bruxelles, which is about halfway down the lap, it was amazing to see Jaafar already up into 11th when the field passed us by the first time. I still need to watch the race on TV (recorded it), because I’m wondering how he pulled that off. He made a good recovery the following laps as well.
    Rowland, de Vries and Vaxiviere were impressive as well. de Vries needs more consistency before he can challenge for the title but the duel between Rowland and Vaxiviere (and possibly Jaafar) will be good this year.

  4. I followed the Le Mans test day on Sunday. It was mostly damp so little could be learned from it. Porsche locked at the top 3 as usual, but perhaps more significant was the debut of the new Nissan LMP1. They set no competitive laptimes (lingering between the LMP2s and GTEs on the timesheets) but at least got all 3 cars out on the track, and had mighty top speeds.

    Most exciting about the test was that Porsche are already on par with last year’s pole time, in a test, in less-than-perfect conditions. The lap record for the current configuration is almost certainly going to be smashed, and I can’t wait!

    1. nissans top speeds were only 2-3 kmh faster then the next best, and they were about 20 seconds off the pace. major flop in the making – if it already isnt. they are running slower then lmp2 runners,
      and unlikely to finish even 10 hours.
      already this week Nissan are talking about the future before they are competitive – 2016-17. they have said they do not even have qualifying tires for the lemans 24 hr event, that is pretty pathetic when you think of all the hype they have garnered for this car earlier this year.

      1. kpcart, actually, the gap Nissan had in the speed traps was even smaller than that – their peak speed of 337kph was only 1kph faster than the next car (one of the Toyota’s was clocked at 336kph). I agree that, considering that the car was built with the express purpose of being as fast in a straight line as possible, to be only just ahead – and bearing in mind that all of their rivals are thought to have been sandbagging slightly too – makes their current performance a major failure.

        They are also even further off the pace than you think too – the fastest Nissan was nearly 30 seconds off the leading cars. Even Rebellion, who have had a torrid time of late, were able to introduce an untested car at Le Mans and immediately set times 17 seconds a lap better than Nissan.

        Given how widely they publicised their new car, I wonder if Nissan might be regretting that decision given that it looks like it could be a very high profile failure…

  5. I think these racing-weekend recaps are my favorite kind of posts. Great work and really convenient. Props!

  6. I hate these weak collective punishments. The bad driving comes from timid stewarding; they need some consistent black flags, bans and revoked licences for individuals.

  7. I watched the second WSbR 3.5 race at Spa. Brilliant driving out there, taking DRS out of the equation (more or less) didn’t hurt the race one bit. Looks like we need to keep an eye on Matthieu Vaixivière, among others. I would’ve loved to see him dash past de Vries and give Rowland a run for his money, but apart from a slip-up at Bus Stop, great defensive drive by the Dutchman.
    Jaafar was awesome, too. Starting from the back of the grid, he managed to overtake half of said grid within lap one, scoring some valuable points on P6.

    1. @nase (you can ignore this other post, hit post by accident)

      taking DRS out of the equation (more or less)

      Ah but DRS wasn’t more or less taken out of the equation. On the contrary, its impact was much bigger than it would normally be. Because its use was unlimited, those on high downforce configuration, like Vaxivière, could greatly benefit from it.
      Normally you choose the HDF config and you trade off some top speed for a higher cornering speed. Because they could use DRS at will, they got the higher cornering speed AND the high straight-line speed in every lap.

      This is partly why Vaxivière was so much faster than de Vries once he got past Stoneman. de Vries (and Rowland) were on LDF config and thus had lower cornering speeds, but didn’t have the big straight-line speed advantage they would normally have had.

      As you say de Vries really did a great job defending that.

  8. Robert Jones
    1st June 2015, 16:14

    The driving standards in F1 have traditionally been assured by taking drivers who are over 24 years old and are at the top of their game. If the sport is to provide a career path to drivers they must stick to this. I am actually so surprised that F1 could not hold a European GP at Le Mans festival of speed as most of their drivers are there anyway ?

  9. Watched the MotoGP ItalianGP at Mugello. Great race and battles.

    1. @brianfrank302 MotoGP was a good race. But Moto3 was really stunning. Fantastic slipstream battles on the main straight, huge group that was still together over halfway of the race, riders turning onto the main straight in eighth position and leading going into T1. Utterly brilliant stuff.

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