Take your pick! Both in 2005 and 2006, seventeen drivers made it onto the podium at least once in a World Series Formula Renault 3.5 race. The 2007 season doesn't look likely to be any different with the thirty participating drivers seemingly so...
Take your pick!
Both in 2005 and 2006, seventeen drivers made it onto the podium at least once in a World Series Formula Renault 3.5 race. The 2007 season doesn't look likely to be any different with the thirty participating drivers seemingly so evenly matched. As the season gets underway in the 'temple of speed', everyone will be hoping that they will prove to be the chosen one.
The World Series Formula Renault 3.5 comes to Monza for the second time in its history. In 2005, the Italian circuit played host to the final round of the World Series by Renault. Felix Porteiro (Epsilon Euskadi) then took both pole positions, with the victories going to Adrian Valles (Pons Racing) and Markus Winkelhock (Draco Multiracing USA). We can therefore expect to see these teams in the thick of the action right from the word go this season!
By retaining the services of Milos Pavlovic, Draco can continue to draw on the experience of one of the two most seasoned drivers in the category. Like Celso Miguez, the Yugoslavian driver has contested 34 races organized over the past two seasons. This season should be the one for Milos, who will nevertheless have to fight off the challenge from his teammate Alvaro Barba, who looked impressively comfortable in the last session of collective testing at the Nurburgring.
At Epsilon, everyone will be hoping this is their comeback season. With the support of Red Bull, the Basque team has held on to the Italian driver Davide Valsecchi, who will be joined by Filipe Albuquerque. The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winner has already shown he is at least an even match for his teammate. Another two favourites to add to the list then..
Both new to the category last season, Red Devil Comtec, Prema Power Team and Tech 1 Racing will not have the benefit of previous experience of Monza. But that's not to say that these teams are short on strengths. At Comtec, Jaap van Lagen seems to have no shortage of motivation to succeed the 2006 Champion Alx Danielsson. At Prema, the RDD driver Ben Hanley will clearly be going for the title after a promising first season last year. The same goes for Alvaro Parente, who has made the move to Tech 1 after his three wins in 2006. All of which means that Alejandro NuÃ±ez, Xavier Maasen and Julien Jousse, the respective teammates of these three leading drivers, will all be able to call on some sound references to forward their careers.
But sound references don't always work to your advantage. Plenty will be out to upset the plans of the three F1 test drivers competing in the Championship. The first man on the target list is Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport), who has teamed up with Mikhail Aleshin to form one of the strongest pairings in the field. At Victory Engineering, Giedo van der Garde reckons that it may be hard for him to be in with a chance of victory from the outset. Finally, Fairuz Fauzy also looked very convincing at the Nurburgring, confirming Cram Competition's return to form.
Other drivers to look out for include Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com), Guillaume Moreau and Bertand Baguette (KTR), Miguel Molina (Pons Racing), as well as James Walker (Fortec Motorsport). Moreau will be active on two fronts in Monza, as he will also be taking part in the Le Mans Series in a Courage LMP1!
In addition to Valsecchi, there will be three other Italians taking part: Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport), Alessandro Ciompi (Eurointernational) and Pasquale di Sabatino (GD Racing).
On a circuit where the effect of slipstreaming is of utmost importance, the new 'push-to-pass' system on the Formula Renault 3.5 should lend an extra touch of spice to the race action for the fans. For logistical and safety reasons, there will be no compulsory pit stop in race one. In another new development introduced by the 2007 regulations, the grid for race two will be reversed for the ten leading drivers from race one.