Silverstone, strategy or attack? Ten points! That's the gap between Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) and Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing) before Silverstone, the penultimate meeting of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Third placed ...
Silverstone, strategy or attack?
Ten points! That's the gap between Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin) and Daniel Ricciardo (Tech 1 Racing) before Silverstone, the penultimate meeting of the season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. Third placed Esteban Guerrieri (ISR), the man who, for now, has won the most races this year having clocked up four wins, can still pip them all at the post. On the new Silverstone track, the hopefuls will certainly be doing their sums, which could, in the end, benefit outsiders, thirsting for victory.
There are four races left on the agenda, sixty points for the taking, so, mathematically there are still seven drivers who could take the title, from Mikhail Aleshin, first, to Nathanael Berthon (International Draco Racing), seventh. But it is more likely that it will be played out between Mikhail Aleshin, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Guerrieri. As far as teams go, Tech 1 Racing and Carlin are vying for first place, while ISR and Fortec Motosport are just a point apart for third.
Even if it's unlikely that Silverstone will reveal the name of the 2010 Champion, the slightest faux pas could jeopardise the chances of any one of these three boys. With three victories, six podiums and eleven out of thirteen races finished in the points, Mikhail Aleshin, the driver to have participated in the most rounds of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, is putting his experience into action and demonstrating exemplary consistency. Constantly finishing in the points, performing well on all tracks, the 23-year-old Muscovite is on the brink of winning the first major title of his career.
Facing him is Daniel Ricciardo, 21-years-old, 2008 runner-up in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and 2009 champion of the British F3 International Series, and who is determined to lift the title in his very first year in this category, just as Robert Kubica before him, in 2005. With six pole positions under his belt this season, a record, and winner at Monaco, Budapest and Hockenheim, the Tech 1 Racing driver will have to pull out all the stops at Silverstone. The Australian is playing on home turf - he lives in Milton Keynes, just a few miles away from the circuit - and he knows that if he is to catch up, victory in the UK is essential.
Twenty-six points behind Mikhail Aleshin, Esteban Guerrieri hasn't got much left to lose, but a lot to gain. Despite failing to finish in the points five times, the Argentinean is still in the running for the title, thanks to his four wins. As far as he is concerned, there are no sums to do. He has to walk away with as many races as possible and be ready to grab any chance he can, especially if things heat up between Aleshin and Ricciardo.
Apart from these three drivers, Sten Pentus (Fortec Motorsport) and Nathanael Berthon are the only two to have tasted the sweetness of victory. Often skimming success, Stefano Coletti (Comtec Racing), Daniel Zampieri (Pons Racing), Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi), Filip Salaquarda (ISR) or Anton Nebilitskiy (KMP Racing) have only got four races left to finally try and make their mark.
Playing to a large Silverstone crowd, where all the available free tickets have already been given out for this round of the World Series by Renault, the two British drivers will certainly be charged up and raring to go. Boosted by his first podium of the season at Hockenheim, Jon Lancaster (Fortec Motorsport) is dreaming of making his presence felt at home. Greg Mansell (Comtec Racing), under the watchful eye of his World Champion father, Nigel, is still out to get his first podium in the category. Carlin, P1 Motorsport, Junior Lotus Racing, based a few miles from the circuit, Comtec Racing et Fortec Motorsport will all be playing a home game.
For once, a Frenchman might be a favourite for the English crowd at Silverstone. Crowned F3 British International Series Champion on the very same spot in August, something that no other Frenchman has achieved before, Jean-Eric Vergne (Tech 1 Racing) made a good impression for his first ever Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Hockenheim. The podium seems to be within his reach.
-source: renault sport