Με την άφιξη του Max Verstappen στην Toro Rosso το 2015 και την “προαγωγή” του Daniil Kvyat, ο οποίος θα αντικαταστήσει τον Sebastian Vettel στη Red Bull, μένει να δούμε ποιος οδηγός θα είναι δίπλα στο νεαρό Verstappen. Οι επικρατέστεροι οδηγοί για τη θέση είναι ο Jean-Eric Vergne, ο οποίος γνωρίζει ήδη καλά την ομάδα, και ο Carlos Sainz Jr.
Σύμφωνα με τον γιό του Ισπανού πρώην οδηγού των WRC, η απόφαση δεν έχει βγει ακόμα από την Toro Rosso και το μόνο που μπορεί να κάνει ο ίδιος είναι να περιμένει υπομονετικά.
Δεν ξέρω ακόμα. Δεν με έχουν καλέσει, αλλά είμαι υπομονετικός. Εύχομαι να μπορούσα να πω ναι, αλλά πρέπει να περιμένω. Όλα είναι ακόμη ανοιχτά. Ελπίζω να είμαι στη Formula 1 με την Toro Rosso, αλλά αν δεν είμαι, θα συνεχίσω τη ζωή μου και θα πετύχω άλλους στόχους.
Κάποιος ο οποίος θα βρεθεί σίγουρα πίσω από το τιμόνι μιας Toro Rosso, είναι ο πρωταθλητής των DTM, Marco Wittmann. O Γερμανός, ο οποίος ανανέωσε το συμβόλαιό του με τη BMW, θα κάνει το παιδικό του όνειρο πραγματικότητα, αφού η BMW σε συνεργασία με τη Red Bull θα του προσφέρουν ως δώρο την οδήγηση του μονοθεσίου.
Ένας ακόμα πρωταθλητής που θα οδηγήσει μονοθέσιο Formula 1, είναι ο νικητής του φετινού πρωταθλήματος Formula 3, Esteban Ocon. Στην Βαλένθια, στις 22 και 23 του μηνός, ο 18-χρονος θα βρεθεί πίσω από το τιμόνι της Lotus E20. Ο νεαρός Γάλλος δήλωσε:
Θα ήθελα να ευχαριστήσω τη Lotus και την Gravity Management για αυτή τη θαυμάσια ευκαιρία. Η υποστήριξη που μου έχει δοθεί από το 2011 με βοήθησε να κερδίσω το πρωτάθλημα Formula 3 κόντρα σε πολύ σκληρό ανταγωνισμό και δεν βλέπω την ώρα να ξεκινήσω το επόμενο στάδιο της προπόνησής μου. Η οδήγηση ενός μονοθεσίου Formula 1 ήταν πάντα ένα όνειρό μου. Ανυπομονώ να ξεκινήσω.
Μονοθέσιο του 2012 θα οδηγήσουν και οι Adderly Fong και Roy Nissany στη Βαλένθια, για λογαριασμό της Sauber. Ο 24-χρονος, Κινέζος Fong θα οδηγήσει την Τετάρτη, πριν παραδώσει την C31 στα χέρια του 19-χρονου Ισραηλινού την Πέμπτη.
Esteban Ocon to test for Lotus F1 Team
Lotus F1 Team Junior driver Esteban Ocon clinched the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title in Imola last weekend following a season that the 18 year-old Frenchman completely dominated. As part of his ongoing development programme and a reward for his exceptional work this season, Esteban will test a two-year old Lotus F1 Team E20 in Valencia later this month.
It’s no mean feat for Esteban, who competed in a field of promising drivers including his title rival and future Toro Rosso Formula One driver, Max Verstappen. Esteban’s achievement this season has been phenomenal with nine wins and twenty-one podiums. He currently has 454 points with nearest rival, Max Verstappen, on 368. Esteban has also secured the Rookie title, currently with 558 points to Verstappen’s 448.
We caught up with him as he arrived back at Enstone….
Esteban, how did it feel to win the FIA Formula 3 European Championship?
It felt great! Everything went really well last weekend. It has been a very long season and to finish it like this is the best way it could have ended. Once more, I would like to thank everybody around me for all the work that has been accomplished: Lotus F1 Team, Gravity, PREMA Powerteam, and Mercedes Benz. It’s not over yet though, there is still one race meeting left but it’s great to have the championship in the bag before the end of the season. I can go into the last race weekend a bit more relaxed.
Your family must be very proud of your achievement…
They are, yes! They come to every race to support me which of course is a great help.
In a few days’ time you are heading to Hockenheim for the last round of the season…
Yes I’m heading there without pressure and it will be nice to race like at the beginning of the season. I won’t need to think about points but just race and enjoy it without stress.
You will drive the Lotus F1 Team E20. Will this be your first real taste of Formula 1?
It will be, yes. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it. To drive an F1 car is the goal of all young drivers so to get the chance to do it is just amazing!
You have worked with Gravity Sport Management since 2010. What has been your career path so far?
I was karting when Gravity took me on board for the seasons in 2010 and 2011 and then I went to Formula Renault in 2012 for a couple of years and then this year FIA Formula 3. I would not be where I am today without the support of Gravity. As a driver, I will keep pushing to achieve the goal to get into Formula 1.
How much have you developed as a driver in 2014?
A lot I think. I’m in a very good team who gave me a lot of good advice. It is undoubtedly the year that I developed the most, like I did when I first started racing.
Your season has been strong all year apart from a handful of difficult races at the Red Bull Ring – what went wrong that weekend and what have you learnt from it?
Nothing really went well that weekend except the pole on the Friday. I made mistakes and then I was unlucky too. In race one I was touched and I spun, and from there on it just didn’t go well. I tried to forget about it but I kept all the things that went wrong in my mind as reference points so it shouldn’t happen again. I have learnt from that.
How much help and support does the Lotus F1 Team Junior programme give you?
Full support! Without the programme I wouldn’t be where I am today and if the team hadn’t spotted me and taken me under its wing when I was karting I wouldn’t have been able to continue to race. The help I received was fully necessary and today I’m just so grateful for all the support.
We often see you here at Enstone where the Lotus F1 Team Junior programme is based. What do you do when you are here?
I do physical training to a programme set by my personal trainer. I meet up with the team that works with me all year. It’s always nice to come here and to catch up with other team mates from the Lotus F1 Team Junior programme.
How tough a competitor was Max Verstappen this season? Does it give you added motivation given that he has an F1 drive for next season?
He is tough in the races but I beat him! It doesn’t make much of a difference to me that he has an F1 drive next year. He was a normal competitor for me this season and the only thing that I wanted is to keep him behind me!
Esteban Ocon biography:
2014: FIA Formula 3 European Championship – Team PREMA Powerteam Mercedes- 2014 Champion
2013: Formula Renault 2.0L Eurocup 3rd in the Championship – 5 x Podiums, 2 x Wins & 1 x Pole Position
2012: Formula Renault 2.0LAlps Championship 7th in theChampionship – 2 x Podiums
2012: Formula Renault 2.0L Eurocup 14th in the Championship – 1 x Podium, 3 x Podiums, 2 x Pole Position, 1 x Win & 1 x Fastest Lap
2011-2007: Go Kart best results – 3 x Times French Champion /2nd World Series Karting / 2nd South European Trophy / 2nd Trofero Andrea Margutti / Winner of the French Cup
Adderly Fong and Roy Nissany will test a Sauber C31
17.10.2014 – Hinwil.
On the 22nd and 23rd October, Adderly Fong and Roy Nissany will test a two year old Sauber C31 on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.
Adderly Fong will be driving during the first day of testing on Wednesday. The 24-year-old Chinese driver has competed in several single seater championships in Asia and Europe. This year he has focused on the Audi R8 LMS Cup, an Asia-based sprint race series. “I am very pleased I am going to test a Sauber C31 in Valencia. It will be my first time driving a Formula 1 car with this high a power to weight ratio, and I am looking forward to it,” stated Fong.
Roy Nissany takes over the car on Thursday. The 19-year-old Israeli, who also holds a French passport, is currently competing in his second season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Over the last five years, Roy has competed in single seaters in Europe. “I am delighted to have the chance to test the Sauber C31, and I will put lots of efforts into it to do a good job,“ said the young Israeli.