Double win for Geronimi, Gutierrez celebrates title victory. Monza (IT), 14 September 2008. Formula BMW Europe hails its new champions. After Mexican Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing) had already secured an early Formula BMW Europe title...
Double win for Geronimi, Gutierrez celebrates title victory.
Monza (IT), 14 September 2008. Formula BMW Europe hails its new champions. After Mexican Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing) had already secured an early Formula BMW Europe title after Saturday's race in Monza, the season's final race on Sunday determined who would emerge as the best rookie. After 16 races, it was Danish driver Michael Christensen (Double R Racing) who claimed the "Rookie of the Year" title. Brazilian Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing) won the last round to enter the Formula BMW Europe list of winners twice on this final weekend of the season. In round 15 he left polesetter Carlos Huertas (CO/Double R Racing) and Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing) trailing, while round 16 saw him beat Wittmann and Gutierrez.
Numerous drivers fell foul of Sunday's challenging weather conditions in Monza. The front of the field managed to get away from the main pack fairly quickly, although the top three contenders were battling it out against each other right up to the final few metres of the race. Geronimi, who had started from pole, had the edge in car set-up, gaining on the straights, thanks to carrying little wing and a high top speed. From positions four on, there was contact and spins. Only 17 out of 25 starters saw the chequered flag.
After an exciting first season staged as part of the Formula One support programme, the results reflect the keen competitiveness of the series: six different drivers managed to win a race in Formula BMW Europe, and eight drivers from six different teams gleaned extra points for gaining pole position. Fans certainly won't forget the orange Formula BMW car driven by the new champion Gutierrez. He started from pole three times, won seven races, and made 12 podium appearances. His final points tally was 353. Wittmann made his mark as the most consistent driver: with 327 points, the championship runner-up was the only driver to get into the points in all 16 races. He made it onto the podium 11 times, and his worst result was a sixth-placed finish. French driver Adrien Tambay (Eifelland Racing) concluded the season in third place (260 points).
After 16 rounds, 18-year-old Christensen is delighted with his "Rookie of the Year" title. It means the Dane will receive one of BMW's sponsorship packages including financial backing of 75,000 euros and a place in the Education and Coaching Programme if he signs up for a second season in Formula BMW Europe next year. The runner-up in the rookie rankings was David Mengesdorf (DE/Mucke Motorsport), followed by Facundo Regalia (ES/Eurointernational) in third place.
In the team rankings, Josef Kaufmann Racing dominated the season with its drivers Gutierrez, Wittmann and Kazeem Manzur. Based in Bitburg, Germany, the team finished with 723 points ahead of another German team, Eifelland Racing from Dudeldorf (481 points), and Double R Racing (374 points).
Round 16, 1st place: Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing), 5th in the Formula BMW Europe championship:
"This is the perfect ending to an exciting season. Two wins to finish off with - you can't do better than that. Now I have to work out how to get my four trophies from the last few races back to Brazil in one piece. All in all, I will remember two great years in Formula BMW. As an introduction to formula racing, this is the perfect series."
Round 16, 2nd place: Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing), 2nd in the Formula BMW Europe championship:
"Having gained a second and a third place in these last two races, I can look back on a good weekend at the end of the season. On Sunday's race I was very close to Tiago Geronimi throughout, but because I was carrying a lot of wing, I just couldn't get past him on the straights. As championship runner- up, I'm the only driver who managed to finish every race successfully."
Round 16, 3rd place: Esteban Gutierrez (MX/Josef Kaufmann Racing), winner of the Formula BMW Europe championship:
"It's fantastic to end the season on the podium. Up to the final race, all the drivers were just getting better and better, which meant it wasn't all that easy. Now I feel as if the time has just flown by. It all started in Barcelona, and suddenly I'm the champion here in Monza and all the races are behind us. But there's still the Formula BMW World Final, which I'm definitely looking forward to."
"Rookie of the Year 2008", Michael Christensen (Double R Racing).
"For me the 'Rookie of the Year' title is really important. The financial backing that it means and participation in the Education and Coaching Programme in season 2009 are fantastic. Basically, I went into the season with slightly higher expectations, but the competition with the other good drivers was very tough. In the end what counts is the title, and I've won it."
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen:
"My special congratulations go to Esteban Gutierrez. Nobody wins such a hotly contested series like Formula BMW Europe by chance. 7 wins in the season speak for themselves. After these successes, Esteban is naturally also one of the favourites for the Formula BMW World Final at the end of the year. So far Esteban has taken what we see as the ideal path of an up-and-coming professional racing driver: he completed his first season in Formula BMW, immediately becoming 'Rookie of the year' in Formula BMW USA, and has now come top of the Formula BMW Europe rankings in his second year. I will be very interested to observe Esteban's further development and hope we'll get to hear a great deal more about him."
Statistics after 16 out of 16 rounds.
4 Juncadella (2 x Zolder, 2 x Budapest),
3 Gutierrez (2 x Hockenheim, 1 x Valencia),
2 Tambay (2 x Barcelona),
2 Pineiro (2 x Silverstone),
2 Geronimi (1 x Spa, 1 x Monza)
1 Breysse (1 x Valencia)
1 Wittmann (1 x Spa)
1 Huertas (1 x Monza)
(7) Gutierrez (2 x Zolder, 2 x Silverstone, 2 x Hockenheim, 1 x Valencia)
(3) Geronimi (1 x Valencia, 2 x Monza)
(2) Tambay (2 x Barcelona)
(2) Juncadella (2 x Budapest)
(1) Wittmann (1 x Spa)
(1) Breysse (1 x Spa)
Points standings after 16 out of 16 rounds:
1. Esteban Gutierrez (MX/Josef Kaufmann Racing) 353
2. Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing) 327
3. Adrien Tambay (FR/Eifelland Racing) 260
4. Daniel Juncadella (ES/Eurointernational) 237
5. Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing) 187
6. Michael Christensen* (DK/Double R Racing) 158
7. Pedro Bianchini (BR/FMS International) 145
8. Kevin Breysse (FR/DAMS Team) 136
9. Carlos Huertas (Co/Double R Racing) 136
10. David Mengesdorf* (DE/Mucke Motorsport) 124
11. Mihai Marinescu (RO/FMS International) 118
12. William Buller (GB/Fortec Motorsport) 87
13. Rupert Svendsen-Cook (GB/Double R Racing) 81
14. Jazeman Jaafar (MY/AM-Holzer Rennsport) 67
15. Doru Sechelariu (RO/Fortec Motorsport) 64
16. Facundo Regalia* (ITA/Eurointernational) 60
17. Jim Pla (FR/DAMS Team) 54
18. Kazeem Manzur* (GB/Josef Kaufmann Racing) 47
19. Henrique Martins* (BR/Eifelland Racing) 38
20. Ramon Pineiro* (ES/Fortec Motorsport) 37
21. Ollie Millroy* (GB/FMS International) 20
22. Mathijs Harkema (NL/Motaworld Racing) 20
23. Thomas Hillsdon* (GB/Motaworld Racing) 19
24. Jordan Williams (GB/DAMS Team) 4
25. Juan Cevallos (EC/Mucke Motorsport) 3
26. Bastian Graber (DE/AM-Holzer Rennsport) 2
27. Anthony Comas (FR/Mucke Motorsport) 0
28. Kyle Mitchell (ZA/AM-Holzer Rennsport) 0
29. Asad Rahman* (AE/Motaworld Racing) 0
* Rookie driver
1. Michael Christensen* (DK/Double R Racing) 158
2. David Mengesdorf* (DE/Mucke Motorsport) 124
3. Facundo Regalia* (ITA/Eurointernational) 60
4. Kazeem Manzur* (GB/Josef Kaufmann Racing) 47
5. Henrique Martins* (BR/Eifelland Racing) 38
6. Ramon Pineiro* (ES/Fortec Motorsport) 37
7. Ollie Millroy* (GB/FMS International) 20
8. Thomas Hillsdon* (GB/Motaworld Racing) 19
9. Asad Rahman* (AE/Motaworld Racing) 0
1. Josef Kaufmann Racing 723
2. Eifelland Racing 481
3. Double R Racing 374
4. Eurointernational 293
5. Fisichella Motor Sport International 283
6. DAMS Team 193
7. Fortec Motorsport Ltd. 186
8. Mucke Motorsport 127
9. AM-Holzer Rennsport 69
10. Motaworld Racing 39
-credit: fbmw eu