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Formula Renault 3.5

In reward for their performances in Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3 and Formula 2 this year, 14 drivers were invited by Renault Sport Technologies to today’s Formula Renault 3.5 rookie test at Motorland Aragon. Seventh in this season’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series with one race win to his name, Kevin Magnussen (DAMS) posted the day’s best time, just ahead of Italian Formula 3 champion Riccardo Agostini (International Draco Racing).

Just as it does every year, Renault Sport Technologies has given some 14 drivers their first taste of Formula Renault 3.5 Series action, among them Stoffel Vandoorne, Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS champion Daniil Kvyat and Oliver Rowland, who took the top three places in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship. Joining them at Motorland Aragon were Jake Dennis, Jordan King and Josh Hill, the leading trio in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, along with Norman Nato and Paul-Loup Chatin, who finished second and third respectively in the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS standings, and last season’s top F3 drivers.

They included British F3 International Series winner Jack Harvey, Italian Formula 3 European Series champion Riccardo Agostini, ATS Formel 3 Cup victor Jimmy Eriksson, European F3 Open champion Niccolo Schiro, and Raffaele Marciello, who took third place in F3 Euro Series. The other driver in action on Wednesday was Formula 2 champ Luciano Bacheta, who knows what it is to drive the FR 3.5, having tested in the car courtesy of his second place in the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.

Formula Renault 3.5 Series title holder Robin Frijns was also on the track, performing the first of two days of testing for Renault Sport Technologies. Driving the development car, the Dutchman is trying out a series of upgrades, including new engine mapping.

Will Stevens (P1 Motorsport) drew on his experience to go fastest in the morning with a time of 1:40.371, ahead of Kevin Magnussen (Dams) and Norman Nato (Tech 1 Racing). Zoel Amberg (Pons Racing) and Daniil Kvyat (Arden Caterham) were the two other men in the top five.

Kevin Magnussen showed his class right at the end of the afternoon session, completing the day’s fastest lap in a time of 1:39.915. Second quickest was Italy’s Riccardo Agostini (International Draco Racing), with Carlos Sainz Junior (AV Formula), Will Steven and Daniil Kvyat completing the top five for the session.

Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing will continue at Motorland Aragon on Thursday and Friday.

What they said:

Stoffel Vandoorne, 2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion: “Unlike most of the rookies here today I’ve already got a few days of testing under my belt. I picked up €500,000 for winning the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title and this is where I’m going to be driving next season. After these three days I hope we’ll be in a position to decide which team to go for, and the sooner the decision is made the better, so we can get down to working with them straightaway.”

Daniil Kvyat, Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS champion: “I felt at ease in the car immediately and it’s very quick. It’s that bit more efficient in every respect than all the other cars I’ve driven, especially in terms of power, braking and downforce. I just need time now to really take it to the limit. I drove with Arden Caterham today and I’ve now got two days coming up with Fortec Motorsports.”

Jake Dennis, Formula Renault 2.0 NEC champion: “The tests were very interesting and not long enough for my liking. I’ve never driven a car like this before and there’s a huge difference with the Formula Renault 2.0. I’ve got so much to learn. We did some good work with Lotus and they’ve shown me a lot of things. I’m off to Valencia right now for the Formula Renault 2.0 tests, which is going to feel a bit strange after what I’ve been doing today.”

Raffaele Marciello, third in Formula 3 Euro Series: “I’d only done half a day in the old car so today was the first time I’ve driven this version. I’m pretty impressed I have to say. It’s not the engine power that stands out because you get used to that pretty quickly. What you notice the most is the downforce. It takes corners a lot faster than an F3 car and you carry a lot more speed through the turns. I haven’t made a decision about next season yet. It’s a pivotal year and I need to make the right choice.”

Luciano Bacheta, FIA Formula 2 champion: “I tested the previous version of the Formula Renault 3.5, but it’s hard to make a comparison because I’ve driven a lot of other cars since then, including a Williams F1. I did remember the braking points though, and braking later than usual takes a bit of getting used. The grip was also pretty similar to when I drove the Williams F1. I still don’t know what 2013 will bring though I’m hoping to do a few more FR 3.5 tests.”

Niccolo Schiro, European F3 Open champion: “This is the second time I’ve driven this car and it’s fun to handle. I need to get used to the power of the brakes now. The aim today was get a bit more familiar with the car, and I’ve got some more tests coming up this week with Tech 1 Racing. I’m hoping to step up the pace and set the car up the way I want. Formula Renault 3.5 Series is my main objective for 2013, no doubt about it.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 21 November 2012
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