Tuesday, August 29, 2017

FIA F2 Rising Star Charles Leclerc Honing in on Formula 1 seat?

But where will he find an open seat next year? Unless la Scuderia does the unthinkable by jettisoning the Iceman; Uhm, Scratch that...

Current FIA Formula 2 points leader Charles Leclerc, who leads the title fight convincingly, with six Poles and five Wins to date, recently sat down with Britain's "top of The Pops" F1 Reporter James Allen, for a somewhat lengthy interview, as Allen wanted to beat the rush to the apparent title winner who's relatively unknown at the moment - to "Mainstream" Formula 1 audiences, during the Silverstone weekend.

Although I know just the basics regarding the Monegasque lad, which I gleamed for last year's Shooting Starz' report here on No Fenders, when I discovered he was part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the 19yr old Leclerc definitely seems destined for Formula 1, having finished no worse than fourth overall in his stellar three years of single seater racing.

As Leclerc notes, his family were friends with the Bianchi's, and Charles was helped immensely by the late Jules Bianchi, who not only mentored the multi-Karting champion from Monaco, but was vital in Nicholas Todt becoming his manager.

Yeah, that Nicholas chap's the son of FIA President Jean Todt, along with being co-owner of the powerhouse Feeder Series ART Grand Prix team.

Interestingly, Leclerc finished runner-up in his final Karting campaign, the CIK-FIA World KZ Championship behind some Niederlander Hot Head known here in Nofendersville as "the Brat!" Formally known as the Dutch sensation Max Verstappen

For 2014, Charles Debutante season in Cars, he finished second overall in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps, before graduating to the Formula 3 European Championship the following year, where he finished fourth overall.

As the 2016 European F3 title was won by Sweden's Felix Rosenqvist, with Ferrari F1 reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who made his Formula 1 debut this year for Sauber as Pascal Wehrlein's substitute, finished runner-up.

Current GP3 driver Jake Dennis was third with Leclerc P4, finishing one place ahead of some KuhNuck named Lance Stroll.

Twenty-sixteen was his "Breakout Year," where he not only won the GP3 championship for ART Grand Prix, but made his Formula 1 debut for Haas F1 at Silverstone, just over a year ago during Friday morning's (Free Practice) FP1 session.

He then continued his FP1 outings at the next two races in Hungary and Germany, and was slated for two more Friday morning outings, but with the Malaysian GP weekend's schedule changes, his GP3 "Day Job" clashed too closely with Formula 1, along with being in a tight title fight with fellow Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco. As ironically the pair would graduate to Prima Racing's F2 squad for this season's campaign.

The Monegasque teenager made his fourth and final Friday morning FP1 appearance for Haas F1 at Interlagos during the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend last November, before capturing the GP3 Championship title.

Now comes word that Leclerc will return to the cockpit of a Formula 1 machine, this time making his debut for the "Works" Scuderia Ferrari squad at the post-Hungarian GP In-season test outing between August 1-2.

As Leclerc's future seems quite bright, and I'll be really surprised if he doesn't replace Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber next year, where his past ART Grand Prix Boss Fredric Vassar, whom he won the 2016 GP3 title for, is the Team Principal...


Monday, August 28, 2017

A Few more low hanging pieces of 2018 F1 Season fall into place.

As Formula 1 awaits 2019 for Mega' Driver Market changes...

Two more current F1 Drivers have been confirmed by their respective F1 Teams upon their continuation on the grid for next year's campaign, as not surprising in the least, Scuderia Ferrari has confirmed that the Monosyllabic Finn, the unflappable Kimi Raikkonen will be retained another season, presumably signaling Vettel's intent to continue with Ferrari...

On the technical side, Toro Rosso's Technical Director James Key has extended his contract to continue with thou 'lil Bulls', nee Red Bull's "Junior Team," where Carlos Sainz, Jr. has been Thar main Talking Point recently.

Meanwhile, in another Spectacular Yarn; Err PR Speak moment, McLaren has announced that junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne will remain at the wheel in 2018 just prior to the Belgian's home race, whilst still milking the Will He, Wont' He? Alonso staying next year fodder; YAWN!

F1: 2018 Driver Market Heating Up?

Prior to this weekend's Formula 1's return to action after the summer break, speculation upon the annual "silly Season" seemingly centered round Felipe Massa and his Team Willy' seat being the key to the Midfield Driver market.

And Y'all don't need to be no Rocket Scientist, as I've already predicted Mercedes "Junior" driver Pascal Wehrlein being in line to move to Williams, as it seems like a foregone conclusion that this year's soon to be crowned FIA Formula 2 champion Charles Leclerc is Sauber bound...

As the only other major seat up for grabs is the second Renault seat, for which everybody's wondering if "The Krakow Kid," aka Robert Kubica will return to F1 next year? Or will it be another Brit named Oliver Rowland replacing Joly? Inquiring Minds wanna Know...

Friday, August 25, 2017

LIGHTS: 2017 appears to be Kyle Kiser's year...

Although thee Fat Lady hasn't sung yet, she's definitely warming up her vocal chords...

It seems like such a long time ago I scribbled Thy 2017 Indy Lights Season preview, especially since I don't pay rabid Attenzione to the series, nonetheless I do find it enjoyable, especially since it give me a Peak at who the potential next wave of IndyCar Drivers will possibly be.

As it seemed like All of the Pundits expected 17yr old phenom Colton Herta to run off 'N hide en route to winning the championship, for which hasn't exactly happened, as the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing rookie's had a tendency of fading in races after lightning quick starts, albeit having stood atop the podium twice so far.

Instead, it's been third year Juncos Racing driver Kyle Kiser methodically waltzing his way towards the title, picking up three wins en route to a probable championship.

Whilst the two Lights drivers I've enjoyed most are both rookies: France's Nico Jamin, obviously hoping to emulate fellow Frenchman "Symone Pageantry," nee Simon Pagenaud, the reigning IndyCar champion. As the 21yr old Andretti Autosport rookie's impressed with three wins to date.

Along with Brazil's Matheus Leist, part of Carlin's four car Armada. Who's season will be remembered for winning the Big Kahoona' Freedom 100 at Mother Speedway this May, his Debutante Lights victory!

Having notched two further W's, his addition to Indy Cars next year would be well suited since I think both HULIO' and TK' need to move onto Sports Cars...

Meanwhile, last year's title runner-up Santiago Urrutia, who has had a tough season, finally got his Mo-Jo back on track with victory at Mid Ohio, and now sits tied for  second on the points table with Herta, both chasing Kiser.

(Double Header Weekend: Rounds 13-14 of 16)
July 29-30, 2017

Coming into Mid-Ohio, third year Lights competitor Kyle Kiser held a commanding points lead, 51 markers ahead of second place Brazilian rookie Matheus Leist. As Kiser had 279 points vs. Leist's 228.

third place was held by the lightning quick rookie Colton Herta, with 213, followed by the Kuhnaidiun' lad with the longest name, i.e. Zachary Claman DeMelo with 207 and rookie Aaron Telitz rounding out the Top-5 with 203 points.

Yet the Mid-Ohio Double Header weekend was a disaster for points leader Kiser, who left with a slimmer, but still healthy 42 points lead after a pair of uncharacteristic 12th place finishes.

As Santi' (Urrutia) who now seems more focused on graduating to Indy Cars next year, proclaiming he's got 70% of the budget needed, won Mid Ohio's Saturday race before "Mr. Mid Ohio," aka Nico Jamin, having finished runner-up to Urrutia, won the Sunday race, to continue his amazing podium streak at Mid Ohio, Chock O'block with victories!

Thus, heading into this weekend's penultimate round at Gateway, a brand new Oval track for all competitors. Rookies Jamin and Leist were tied with Kiser for most victories, with three apiece.

While title protagonists Herta has two to Urrutia's lone win, with fellow Balardi rookie team-mate Telitz and Carlin's Zachary Claman DeMelo the only other drivers to stand on the podium's top step this season.

Yet by my very unofficial Ryth-Muh-tickin', Thars' 66-points on offer for the remainder of the season, and as long as Kiser leaves Gateway ahead by 34 or more, he's the champion, and I'd expect him to make the leap to the B-I-G CARZ', nee Indy Cars next year with his current Juncos Racing squad.

As Y'all would have to ARSE-Sume that the title's Kiser's who'd have to start outside Pole and DNF both races to even make it interesting, as the real battle's on for who'll emerge as the runner-up to Kiser.

Whilst I've almost forgotten that supposedly Chad Boat, son of the ex-IRL A.j. Foyt enterprises driver Billy boat will be contesting his second and final Oval race this season at Gateway...

1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th --- 20th
30-25-22-19-17-15-14 --- 1
(Positions  6th to 20th decrease by one point)
Bonus Points: One each for Pole, Fastest lap and Most Laps led.

(Prior to Gateway Oval Race; Round 15 of 16)

               Name                                 Points
1. Kyle Kiser                                   297
2. R-Colton Herta                        255
    Santiago Urrutia                     255
4. R-Matheus Leist                     249
5. Zachary Claman DeMelo    243
6. R-Nico Jamin                            242
7. R- Aaron Telitz                        233
(R Denotes Rookie)