Action-packed races in Formula BMW.
The 20th Formula BMW season was certainly thrilling. The Formula BMW Europe title was eventually decided in the last of the series' 16 rounds, with Robin Frijns (NL) overhauling Britain's Jack Harvey in the final straight of the championship to secure the most important title of his motorsport career to date, after winning the Formula BMW Europe Rookie Cup in 2009. Richard Bradley (GB) managed to clinch overall Formula BMW Pacific honours ahead of the finale in Macau, the 19-year-old taking the title during the Okayama event.
Over the course of their seasons the young drivers raced nine times on the Formula 1 World Championship's supporting bill. The Formula 1 grid, too, featured many Formula BMW graduates, with no less than eight current F1 drivers having taken their first steps towards single-seater racing careers with BMW's young driver development initiative. Sebastian Vettel (DE), who raced in Formula BMW in 2003 and 2004, underscored the qualities of this driver development programme, which will continue in 2011 under the banner of the new Formula BMW Talent Cup, by winning the Drivers' Championship.
Formula BMW Europe: Thrilling finale in Monza.
Frijns crowns comeback with title in Formula BMW Europe.
Throughout the entire season, Robin Frijns (NL) and Jack Harvey (GB) were embroiled in a captivating duel for the Formula BMW Europe title. A victory and a third place at the finale in Monza (IT) proved sufficient to catapult the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver ahead of his English rival and secure the drivers' title in the renowned junior series.
Frijns follows in the footsteps of many prominent drivers who gained their initial experience in single-seater racing and achieved the first important victories of their racing careers in Formula BMW: in 2010 eight Formula BMW graduates lined up in the FIA Formula One World Championship, in the form of Sebastien Buemi (CH), Timo Glock (DE), Nico Hulkenberg (DE), Christian Klien (AT), Nico Rosberg (DE), Bruno Senna (BR), Adrian Sutil (DE) and Sebastian Vettel (DE). Vettel became the first former Formula BMW driver to clinch the coveted title.
Frijns and his rivals for Formula BMW Europe success quite literally followed in the footsteps of their role models. At seven of the eight race events, the talented youngsters demonstrated their skills on the Formula One support programme.
In 2010 it was obvious from race one, the battle was going to be between Frijns and Harvey, who had met for the first time years before in karting. However, this time Harvey took the lead from the opening weekend and never gave that up until round 15 in Monza. As the two youngsters lined up in Monza it was six wins to Harvey and five to Frijns and all to play for. After race one it was six all and then in race two it was seven six to Harvey.
Like any driver Frijns had his ups and downs this season and his own personal thoughts on what has happened were: "My low of the season was in the first race in Barcelona as I crashed, but it wasn't my fault. The high was I would say Zandvoort in the rain as I won by eight seconds and I was really fast. However, I had a lot of highs as I won six races and the first one in Monza was special as I needed to win that to keep me in the championship."
Formula BMW Pacific: Beaming winners and a happy champion.
Richard Bradley enjoys perfect debut season in single-seater racing.
New Zealand's Earl Bamber was the latest driver to win the Formula BMW Pacific title in his first season in 2006. In 2010 Richard Bradley (GB), who lives in Singapore, achieved the same feat. After 13 of the 15 races, the 19-year-old had already secured both the championship and the Rookie Cup.
In Okayama (JP), Bradley celebrated his seventh win of the season, which gave him an unassailable lead over Oscar Tunjo (CO) in the Drivers' Championship. The Eurasia Motorsport driver ended the season on 217 points, 76 ahead of his Columbian rival in second place.
Like their fellow drivers in Europe, entrants in the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific series were able to show off their skills on the most prominent stage in international motorsport: Formula One. The youngsters shared the bill with motorsport's elite class at the "Sepang International Circuit" in Kuala Lumpur (MY) and Singapore's "Marina Bay Circuit". Bradley drove his way into the list of winners on both occasions and added further victories in Guangdong (CN) and Okayama.
"I'm thrilled to have won the championship," he said. "I think one of the reasons why I've been so consistent this year is because of age and maturity. I'm 19-year old and I can calculate these things better. It's been a great year, I've really gelled with the team and it's been a great learning process."
The season finale of the Formula BMW Pacific series at the narrow "Guia Circuit" in Macau was also the final Formula BMW race in its old format. Formula BMW Pacific once again boasted a record starting field, with no less than 27 drivers lining up in the series. Carlos Sainz Junior (ES) was the final Formula BMW winner to be entered into the history books at the 6.117-kilometre circuit.