It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for us here at Carlin both on and off the track, we’ve finalised our GP3 line-up with the announcement that Will Buller and Antonio Felix da Costa will be driving for us this year and we’ve also officially joined the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Will and British Formula Three race winner Carlos Sainz Jr.
Further testing and race meetings have also been on the cards, as well as lots of action back at base from seat fits to pit stop practice to simulator sessions.
So here’s a quick run-down…
Our opening race of the season got underway in the humidity of Malaysia with the Marussia Carlin GP2 team where both Max and Rio had extremely strong weekends. Max drove well from the first practice session through to qualifying and eventually the race, where he confidently scored Carlin’s first ever GP2 podium. Meanwhile Rio was also having a strong weekend and as a result scored points for securing the fastest lap of the second race. The entire team worked extremely hard throughout the entire weekend and now hope to carry that momentum through to this weekend’s Bahrain round of the championship.
The British Formula Three team also had a good opening round in Oulton Park and continued that success in Monza the following week – not once leaving the podium in either round.
Both Jack Harvey and Carlos Sainz have led the 2012 championship with their team mates not too far behind, everything’s lining up to be another very exciting season. The team now look forward to a return to Pau in a few weeks’ time.
Testing has been the main focus for the GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5 teams these past few weeks. The GP3 team have been at Silverstone most recently with their newly completed driver line-up of Will, Antonio and Alex Brundle. Despite the rain providing tricky conditions, all three drivers completed a solid final test regularly running in the top five ahead of the opening round in Barcelona next month.
As we speak the Formula Renault 3.5 are out in a very windy Spain as they undertake their final pre-season test. Having so far run out in a warm Paul Ricard and a torrential Barcelona, the windy Motorland circuit should provide the team with enough data to help them to successfully compete in any weather conditions thrown at us during this year’s racing!
Meanwhile it was announced officially that we would be joining the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Will and Carlos – a new challenge for the team and one which we’re certainly looking forward to. The first round in Hockenheim gets underway at the end of this month.
Back at base the simulator has been in what seems like constant use as many drivers have been in using it to gain valuable experience before they hit the track. We’ve even had Tom Chilton, from our sister outfit Team Aon having a go before he headed off the Marrakech for the World Touring Car Championship, which clearly paid off after he qualified eighth!
Other than that the factory has felt pretty lonely these past few weeks. The GP2 cars haven’t been here since before their first race in Malaysia and the F3 cars which left for Oulton Park and Monza didn’t come back until yesterday. Thankfully we’ve had the GP3 and FR3.5 cars around to brighten up our day but even they’ve been coming and going as testing beckons them.
It’s the start of a very busy season!!