Silence for Bianchi in Japan and America

Weekend Racing Wrap

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The American IndyCar championship and Japan’s Super Formula series were among those to hold a minute of silence out of respect for Jules Bianchi, who died on Saturday.

Super Formula

Round 3: Fuji Speedway

Ahead of the third round of Japan’s Super Formula Championship at Fuji Speedway a minute’s silence was held in honour of Jules Bianchi, whose fatal accident occurred at the Suzuka circuit where the series begins and ends.

A rain-hit qualifying session (see first video) left Andrea Caldarelli on pole position ahead of Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daisuke Nakajima. However a slow start for the pole sitter allowed Oliveira into the lead, pursued by ex-F1 racers Kazuki Nakajima – back in action following his Spa Six Hours crash – and Kamui Kobayashi.

Andre Lotterer’s lap 11 pit stop prompted responses from most of his rivals. Meanwhile Caldarelli’s fortunes had gone from bad to worse: he was embroiled in a tight scrap for 14th with Koudai Tsukakoshi, Takuya Izawa, Naoki Yamamoto.

Lotter’s late stop got him ahead of Kobayashi, but not Nakajima. However Hiroaki Ishiura, who stayed out until lap 42, took the final podium place away from his closest championship rival. Caldarelli battled past Kobayashi on his way to sixth.

Next race: Twin Ring Motegi (23rd August)


Round 13: Iowa Speedway

The IndyCar paddock also observed a minute’s silence for Bianchi ahead of their race, which saw 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay take his first win since the same race last year.

It was a pot-boiler of a race for the championship. Leader Juan Pablo Montoya was in the wall after nine laps due to a suspension failure. Closest rival Scott Dixon was also sidelined with a broken upright, and lost second in the points standings to Graham Rahal.

The RLL driver had fallen two laps down early on with a puncture before recovering back to the lead lap, only to lose another lap with a shifting problem. He got back onto the lead lap once more with a lucky yellow, and sliced his way through the pack to finish a fine fourth.

It was a weekend to forget for Penske: pole sitter Helio Castroneves faded mid-way through the race and finished eleventh behind a similarly sub-par Will Power, while Simon Pagenaud came in a lap down.

An excellent restart on lap 185 was the basis of Hunter-Reay’s triumph: he jump from fifth to second, then moved past Josef Newgarden in the pit stops and held his CFH Racing rival back in the closing stages. Sage Karam completed the first all-American IndyCar podium since the 2006 Indianapolis 500, but was hunted down in the pit lane after the race by a furious Ed Carpenter following a robust exchange between the two on track.

One driver who did gain big points on leader Montoya was Graham Rahal, after a real rollercoaster of a race.

Next round: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2nd August)


Round 18: Kentucky Speedway

Kyle Busch won for the third time in four races in the Energy 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race ended under yellow flags and the Kentucky track saw its 12th consecutive different winner. Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski finished second having lead 101 of the 301 laps, ahead of Kevin Harvick in third, Joey Logano in fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jnr in fifth.

Next race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (26th July)

Guest series: F4 Sudamericana

Rounds 5 and 6: Powerpark, Uruguay

The farthest outpost of the FIA’s Formula Four series is the Sudamericana championship, which is in its second season. Points leader Pedro Cardoso stretched his advantage with victory in race one at the Powerpark circuit in Uruguay but was pipped to victory in the second event by Federico Iribarne, who was making his debut in the championship. You can see both races plus five hours of support races in the video above.

Also last weekend

IndyCar feeder series Indy Lights was also in action at Iowa. Former F1 driver Max Chilton took his maiden pole position and victory, and dedicated both to former Marussia team mate Jules Bianchi who passed away on Saturday. Chilton led home team mate Ed Jones for a Carlin one-two while RC Enerson completed the podium in third.

Over to you

Was there any other motorsport you watched this weekend that caught your eye? If so, let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend is the next round of the Formula One Championship with the Hungarian Grand Prix, accompanied by GP2 and GP3. NASCAR also continues with their round from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Thanks to @mathers for contributing to this article.

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11 comments on “Silence for Bianchi in Japan and America”

  1. A dark week for motorsport – two riders have also died in a World Superbike support event at Laguna Seca

    1. It’s always sad when drivers die but it’s better they go out doing something they enjoy.

  2. If you consider the heart a motor I am watching the Tour de France. I ended up sleeping late and missed the beginning of the NASCAR race so my weekend was otherwise left to Xfinity series, the NASCAR K&N series and Indycar.

    Now that I see a Super Formula video, though, I’ll probably watch that.

    Also: Chilton didn’t observe a minute’s anything. He made his little speech then walked down the pit lane talking to people as he passed. I didn’t like him before, I like him less now.

    1. Max Chilton knew and admired and respected Jules Bianchi better than most, and certainly knew him better than you. How dare you comment on how he copes with this tragedy? He has been hurting for the last nine months. Shame on you man. If he doesn’t want to share his deep emotions with a cameraman, then we should respect that.

      1. As far as I’m concerned, when he stands up and asks for a minute of silence then immediately walks down the pit lane with a half-smile and congenially talks with others during that minute, that ruined any “minute’s silence”. I find it disrespectful when anybody does that. If someone stands up and asks for a minute of silence for a tragedy, then that person should also keep quiet during that time.

  3. The Kentucky NASCAR weekend was LAST weekend. This weekend’s was in Loudon, NH. Might want to fix that error.

  4. How awesome is to have local motorsport featured in F1F, especially since Uruguay has little to no racing tradition or support. It’s all football, football (or soccer, but it really is football), a little basketball, a veeery little racing, and more football. Watch out for the “Super Beetle” series in the F4 video, awesome racing by almost 30 VW Beetles with tuned engines. Not blindingly fast but super fun.

    1. You might to keep an eye on Santiago Urrutia, he was racing in the Pro Mazda championship this weekend at Iowa. There will be a highlight show on Motors TV and NBC Sports Network covering that race later this year (it was streamed live on Saturday night).

  5. This might not be the best moment to say something like this, but the more I read about Indy Lights, the less I’m impressed. Sure, Max dedicating a victory to his late team mate is a nice touch. But looking at the data and background information, I can’t help but feel even less overwhelmed by this than by the FIA’s dedicating the number 17 to Jules.

    A not-so-impressive grid of just 11 drivers took part in the race (the largest grid size having been 12 earlier in the season), of whom just two were older than Max, with half of the grid being teenagers or recently having turned 20. In that grid, Chilton is only the 6th driver to win a race in 2015.

    Speaking of 20 year-olds: Chilton’s Carlin team mate Ed Jones, a young man from the United Arab Emirates, is confortably ahead in the championship (and would still be if the points he earned while Chilton was driving in Le Mans didn’t count), having won the first three rounds despite having no experience outside F3 and Formula Renault.

    Speaking of Carlin:
    Doesn’t it speak volumes that the British team, whose financial wheels are greased by Max’s father Grahame (which has been the case ever since his son joined the team’s ranks in 2009) have entered the US racing market just after Chilton dropped out of F1?

    I’m not going to say that Max used Jules Bianchi’s name to promote his rather underwhelming career in motor racing, that probably wouldn’t exist if his father didn’t happen to be obscenely rich. I do believe him when he says that he liked Jules and that he wants to pay him respect.
    Still, there’s another side of the coin: It certainly didn’t hurt his coverage in the media at a time when he was producing mediocre results in a meaningless racing series far, far away from F1.

    Make of that what you will, I had to get it off my chest.

    1. On an unrelated note:
      Compared to their minuscule grid, Indy Lights could turn out to be an Eldorado for Superlicense points: The champion gets 15 points, and even the driver who finishes 8th in the championship is rewarded with a point. It’s going to be a tough battle between Félix Serrallés (176), Max Chilton (173), Kyle Kaiser (172), Juan Piedrahita (171), and Scott Anderson (171), currently ranked from P5 to P9 in the championship.

      1. Yes, the current Lights grid is largely rookies, although the points leader Jack Harvey is a pretty good racer in his own right if you check his stats prior to his US move. Harvey hasn’t been able to dominate, he is only 19 points clear of Spencer Pigot with 4 races left. Prior to his win, Chilton hadn’t finished higher than 3rd, and was behind Enerson, Jones, Pigot, and Harvey.

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