Austria’s Red Bull Ring provided three highly challenging encounters for Double R Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi, Sean Gelael and Tatiana Calderón over the weekend, 1st/2nd June, during the fifth event of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Italian driver Giovinazzi did manage to secure his best starting slot yet for a round of the European series by qualifying an excellent 10th quickest for round 15, but hopes of a point-scoring finish went awry on lap 11 following a tangle with Eddie Cheever Jnr.
Giovinazzi, who achieved his maiden Formula 3 race victory last weekend during the season-opening event of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series, made an outstanding start to Sunday’s race to leap into the top eight on the run up to Turn One.
Following an early Safety Car period, the 19-year-old became embroiled in a very hotly contested multi-car battle and having negotiated his way to the front of it he was pitched into a spin on the run to Turn Four – resulting in retirement. Post-race, Giovinazzi was actually deemed at fault for the collision by officials and so incurs a five place grid penalty for the next round in mid-July.
Indonesian driver Gelael fought through from 24th on the grid into 17th position and with just three laps remaining, the 16-year-old was in a position to challenge Andre Rudersdorf. Positioning himself on the inside, Gelael had the pass done but the German got his car up on the kerbs on the outside, lost control and slammed into the Double R Dallara-Mercedes which led to instant retirement.
Calderón, meanwhile, remained out of trouble and came through to take 17th position as a result of Gelael’s non-finish. Progressing well from 26th position on the grid, the Colombian driver was involved in some entertaining battles along the way to post one of her best results of the year.
During Saturday’s pair of races at the Red Bull Ring, Giovinazzi came away with a best finish of 15th position in round 13 having started 18th on the grid. Climbing into the top 15 by lap four, he slipped back again to 18th before mounting a good recovery to regain the lost places. Calderon and Gelael, meanwhile, were 21st and 22nd having started 25th and 26th respectively.
Round 14 on Saturday afternoon was the highlight of the weekend for double British F3 podium finisher Gelael as he raced to a strong top 15 result, progressing brilliantly from 25th on the grid. His team-mates Calderón and Giovinazzi were 19th and 22nd – the latter losing significant time after receiving a drive-through penalty.
“After the highs of Silverstone last Sunday, this weekend was pretty tough for all three drivers”, said team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Antonio was unfortunate not to score in race three, he was racing well until the off, and Sean and Tatiana did race strongly too on their first time at the Red Bull Ring. We’ve got a big break in the championship now, so it’s a good chance get some testing done.”
Germany’s Norisring will host the sixth event of the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship some six weeks from now, over the weekend 13th/14th July.