Raffaele Marciello (Strakka Racing) outpaced everyone on the first of three days of collective testing at Motorland Aragon. The Italian dominated both the morning and afternoon session and posted the day’s fastest time of 1:39.258. Esteban Ocon (Lotus) also made the most of Renault Sport Technologies’ invitation to take a seat in the Formula Renault 3.5, finishing second ahead of Sergey Sirotkin (ISR) in the morning, with the two drivers trading places in the afternoon.
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series pitched up at Motorland Aragon on Wednesday for the start of the last round of collective testing for 2013. On the grid were some of the season’s leading drivers and a clutch of guests invited by Renault Sport Technologies. Prominent among them were the top quartet in the final Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings, the leading trio in both Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the top two in Formula Renault 2.0 Alps and this year’s Eurocup Megane Trophy winner.
Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) set the early pace in the morning before being shunted down the timesheets by Matthieu Vaxiviere (Pons Racing), Matias Laine (Strakka Racing) and Luca Ghiotto (Pons Racing). Ferrari Driver Academy member Raffaele Marciello took control at the midway point before setting an ever fiercer pace with 11 minutes of the session remaining, the Italian eventually ending it ahead of Esteban Ocon, Sergey Sirotkin, Oliver Rowland and Zoel Amberg (DAMS).
Marlon Stockinger (Lotus) dominated the start of session two only to be upstaged by Raffaele Marciello. The pace quickened in the final half-hour, with Esteban Ocon the first to dip under the 1:40 mark. Back came Raffaele Marciello once again, however, the reigning FIA European Formula 3 champion recording the day’s fastest time of 1:39.258 seven minutes from the close. Finishing behind him were Esteban Ocon, Oliver Rowland, Matias Laine and Sergey Sirotkin.
What they said:
Felix Rosenqvist: “This was my first time in the car and I was really impressed by the brakes. You can really feel them when you press down on them at the end of the straight and that’s the big difference from Formula 3. The car is heavier but the driving style is more or less the same.”
Mirko Bortolotti: “This was my first drive in a single seater since 2011. I had to get used to it all over again and regain the pace you need for a car like this. It’s totally different to driving in the Megane Trophy. I’d like to thank Renault Sport Technologies and International Draco Racing for giving me this opportunity.”
Antonio Fuoco: “This car has got the lot. It’s got more power and more grip than the Formula Renault 2.0. The engine and the amount of downforce are amazing. The test went well even if I was only able to do 30 or so laps. Half a day to get to grips with this car is too short!”
Matt Parry: “I made a few mistakes on my last run. I was disappointed with the times but it was still a great experience in what is a fantastic car. The speed overall is unbelievable and taking it through fast corners is quite a challenge. DRS is also an interesting tool to use. I hope to be back in 2015. I’ll be devoting my energies next year to Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0.”
Esteban Ocon: “It didn’t take me long to get used to the car, its power and grip. The braking, speed through the corners and grip at the entrance to and middle of the turns was amazing. It’s not that different to driving a Formula Renault 2.0. I was starting to feel tired by the end of the day, but it was a good experience, even if we did put the new tyres on a little too early.”