Antonio Giovinazzi once again led Double R Racing’s challenge during the third race meeting of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Hockenheim over the weekend, 4th/5th May, but the event wasn’t without its dramas for the Italian or team-mates Sean Gelael and Tatiana Calderon.
Much like the season-opening visit to Monza in Italy and the subsequent event at Silverstone in the UK, wet-weather played a role in Germany this weekend to throw another variable into the mix for the Woking team’s three F3 rookies. Even so, Giovinazzi stormed through the order in round seven on Saturday to claim a weekend’s best of 12th place, having started outside the top 20.
Taking place on wet track, round seven started outstandingly well for Giovinazzi and by the end of the first lap he had already scythed his way through the order into a superb 14th position. Gaining two more places on the second tour, he moved into 11th at mid-distance before being pushed back to 12th again five laps from the finish.
Gelael and Calderon each made progress too with the former climbing as high as 18th position by lap nine before eventually having to settle for 21st in extremely difficult conditions. Lady racer Calderon, meanwhile, finished a very challenging race in 26th spot.
Giovinazzi’s involvement in round eight on Saturday afternoon didn’t last too long when an attempt to pass Jann Mardenborough ended up with the Double R driver’s Dallara-Mercedes being launched into the air and instant retirement.
As a result of the incident, the Safety Car was deployed and when racing resumed on lap four Calderon was the best placed of the two remaining team-mates in 21st position with Gelael 25th. On lap 11, the pair ran nose-to-tail and Gelael soon moved ahead but a moment on lap 16 dropped the Indonesian to last place. Calderon, meanwhile, again finished in 26th position.
Both Giovinazzi and Gelael came to grief in round nine with the latter forced to end his race on lap three in a multi-car tangle which resulted in the deployment of the Safety Car. When racing resumed, Giovinazzi made good progress into the top 14 but he picked up a damaged front wing after contact with Josh Hill. After pitting for a new nose box he eventually ended the race in 24th position while Calderon was 23rd.
“It’s been a tough weekend”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “We had hoped for much more from Hockenheim but qualifying didn’t go as we’d hoped, the weather threw in an even bigger challenge and then there was quite a bit of incident in the races. We’re back on home soil at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks, hopefully that can be the turning point of our season.”
Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship will see the category make its second visit in as many months to the UK with the fourth race meeting of the season taking place at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent, Double R’s ‘home’ track, on 18th/19th May.
Double R Racing