Robert Wickens collected the second race win in the opening Formula Two event in Valencia, Spain to complete what was to be a remarkable start to the new championship. Race winner Robert Wickens celebrates in parc ferme. Photo by ...
Robert Wickens collected the second race win in the opening Formula Two event in Valencia, Spain to complete what was to be a remarkable start to the new championship.
Fellow Red Bull driver Mirko Bortolotti came home in second, 5.911 seconds behind Wickens, with Philipp Eng rounding out the final podium place.
Wickens commented, "It was a good race, Mirko pushed me a lot at the beginning but it was just fantastic. I can't believe the weekend and the year have started so well. This is the best weekend of my career so far!"
The 20-year-old Canadian has dominated the revived F2 championship so far, posting the fastest lap time in the official test in Snetterton and now adding both pole positions and race wins from the opening rounds in Valencia -- plus setting the fastest lap in the first race.
"It's pretty much the perfect weekend. From start to finish it has been good; we struggled a little in free practice but we didn't lose our cool and everything fell into place nicely -- it's basically been a fairy tale weekend," said Wickens.
Wickens started his open-wheel career at 16 in the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship, and already in his maiden season he demonstrated his potential with a third place in the championship, achieved with two victories along with five other podium finishes.
The race itself started well for the Canadian with a good standing start off the line. It was not to be an easy cruise to the first turn though, as Bortolotti also made a good start, overtaking Andy Soucek and was quickly putting pressure on his teammate.
Soucek did not get a good start, being passed by by Bortolotti, Philipp Eng and Nicola De Marco off the line but he had recovered one place by the end of the opening lap, getting past De Marco and putting him back up to fourth.
Bortolotti pressed push Wickens hard in an effort to force him into a mistake but the Canadian held on, and by the mid-point of the race the order had settled down and Wickens opened up a clear lead. Wickens was to retain the gap, crossing the finish line comfortably ahead of his rival.
The battle for third between Soucek and Eng carried on with Soucek seemingly determined to recapture the places he lost. The 19-year-old Eng was equally determined to hold on to the place and secured his first podium in F2, leaving Soucek with 4th. De Marco stayed close to the battle ahead crossing the line in 5th place with Mikhail Aleshin behind in 6th. Edoardo Piscopo took 7th place with Carlos Iaconelli taking the final points position in 8th.
The opening event of the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship were attended by some of the sports key players including FIA President Max Mosley, FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting and Patrick Head, Director of Engineering at the AT&T Williams F1 team.
Mosley was delighted by the opening event. "I'm astonished with how successful the day has been," he said. "Jonathan Palmer and Williams have done an absolutely fantastic job; the championship, the racing and the whole set up is extraordinary and it has been a really great success."
Mosley also commented on the fit for F2 in relation to his vision for F1 stating, "I think the championship fits precisely with the cost cutting measures that are being adopted in Formula One.
"The barriers to entry have just been too big and too expensive in the past, and this championship is a means for people to get into Formula One without spending a fortune. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see some drivers from this year's Formula Two championship progress into Formula One," added the FIA president.
Head, who presented the trophies on the podium for today's race on Sunday -- Mosley had done so on Saturday - was similarly enthusiastic about the new F2. "I think its a fantastic start and a great achievement to get here. The whole setup has looked very professional, and the series is certainly one that we would look at in terms of selecting drivers," he said.
The next event is scheduled for the 19th to 21st of June and will be held at The Brno Circuit located close to the city of Brno at Kohoutovice in the Czech Republic.