The temperature is rising not only on the track, but within the nerves of all drivers as the first race of the official calendar is almost upon us. The final obstacle in pre-season was the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, a track which splits opinion as it offers good over-taking opportunities, but with a tricky second sector leading into a very slow third sector, the drivers have to be on the limit to find every last fraction of a second from the car.
It was the Mexican circuit which would play host to the final preparations of all drivers, whether they be scouting the opposition, finalising set-ups or getting comfortable back in pack racing. However, with a number of drivers already well up to speed, the level of competitiveness and intensity showed no sign of being curtailed due to the lack of points on offer. This was about making a statement and taking the psychological edge leading into next week.
After opening pre-season last week in Spain Scopefielder was looking at making it a double on track with successive wins, however with the likes of reigning Champion Scott (BoyBetterKnowSB), Samuthepito and newcomer FPL_Charlie on the pace it seems, the likelihood for an all-time great season is truly expected.
The Renault’s of LR_Archy and White-fountain had impressed in their debut here last season, and it was the two once again who ended up at the front end of the grid, as the French manufacture was split by the Swede Scopefielder in his Haas after a superb qualification lap from Archy put him at the head of the pack.
The race began with a sparkle as we saw an immediate change for second as white-fountain moved past Scope and then embroiled himself in a fantastic three lap battle with team-mate Archy, but with white-fountain spinning on the exit of turn three on lap four, it opened up the race for the drivers on the medium tyre such as Scope and Charlie to come back late into the stint.
It seemed to be a race long battle for the likes of Sam, Scope and Charlie as the Haas drivers tried everything to keep the Williams behind, and with Scott struggling with wing damage after a collision with Charlie, it was left to the three to try and make a late charge to Archy who had a comfortable lead out front.
Penalties were the order of the day as drivers struggled to keep the cars within the white lines, and with several drivers picking up time penalties it made Archy’s race slightly easier as both Haas cars found themselves not only involved in a battle with each other, but against the stewards adding on time to their finishing position.
Archy completed the 36 laps in comfortable fashion and took a strong win, the Renault looked really strong in Mexico, and he himself as somewhat gone under the radar as a potential challenger for Scott’s title. The Haas of Scope and Sam finished on the podium after a fascinating battle with Charlie with all three making daring moves especially on the main straight.
It was a race to forget for Scott who retired late in the session after collecting the wall, and with perennial title challenger SpeedQueen also well off the pace in seventh, could we see a new driver leading the field over the next 12 weeks?
In a stacked season full of talent, hype and desire for victory, you need to be at your absolute best to stand-out. The driver who certainly did that on Tuesday evening was Frenchman SkyZii who although starting on the second row behind last weeks winner Scopefielder and No-Assist winner LR_Archy was able to come away with the victory after a fantastic battle with the pair ahead plus a charging Scott.
The Alfa Romeo pair of Scott and Archy went toe-to-toe with the Haas’ of Scopefielder and SkyZii, with the four cars giving us some magnificent action on track, and with it only being pre-season you could forgive the grid taking it easy to ensure they were ready for next week. This evidently wasn’t the case, and with SkyZii coming across the line second on track, a post-race penalty applied to Scott promoted the Alfa onto the top-step as the top four all finished within 1.6 seconds of each other.
Pre-season ends in spectacular style for the Performance league, but now the allocations will come into play! Who will be sitting on the grid at the Red Bull Ring and confident they can take the top step of the podium?
It’s a variable who’s-who of talent in F1 this season and with the likes of VSR_Marqueses, Scopefielder and LR_Archy all taking to the grid in F1, the season is shaping up to be as electric fast as ever.
The second pre-season race was won by TamworthFox, who after utilising the perfect strategy was able to cross the line well ahead of potential title winner Marqueses, who himself suffered with penalties during the race and was subsequently dropped from second to third in the standings promoting Scopefielder into second.
The last two races have both proved that we could have a number of different winners in F1 this season, and we certainly can’t count out the title going to the final race in Germany.
AaronJSpence drove a masterclass in Mexico, and after a strong pre-season received a promotion to F1 with Partridge99 who equally after standing out in the first races in F2 will make the jump to the ‘Big’ league as F2 now re-assess where the potential champions may come from.
After starting outside of the top-10, Aaron flew through the field and after a battle at the head of the race with Partridge he was able to clear the Renault and finish just under ten seconds up the road.
This race had started however with a bang as Williams team-mates Steen and Tinuss collided on the start line as Steen struggled to get off the line as both cars retired within seconds of the lights going out. The opening laps saw a fantastic battle with the likes of Tony-Y, Warislander, NoFudge and Partridge (who had had a mega start from 13th to lead by the end of lap five), but as the race continued, it was Aaron who on fresh tyres at the start enjoyed the pace in the mid-part of the race.
He came across the line after the 36 laps ahead of Partridge, whilst NeverMiss jumped onto the podium after penalties in a surprise result for the Toro Rosso who certainly had his elbows out after slight contact in the early laps with multiple cars around him, but came through well to contend late in the race.
F2 is blown wide-open with the promotion of Aaron and Partridge to F1, leaving a big gap at the head of the pack to be filled. Who will be the first one to throw their hat in the ring at Austria?
FerociousDan makes it two from two in pre-season as the McLaren driver stood on the top step of the podium in Mexico City. This was after rookie driver Shabz who had picked up pole in the Mercedes was the first driver to DNF in the race which saw another retirement from dmac. Whilst it was a strong race for the likes of Sab7786 and Luke Bailey who stood on the podiums in equal performance for the first time.
F3 is the only league this season without a reigning champion, and therefore leaves a huge gap that will be intensely fought over in the coming weeks, and with results for Dan, Sab and Luke like this, it will raise their hopes of not only a good season for the drivers crown, but the constructors too.
There is plenty to watch in F3 and it always provides edge of your seat racing, hopefully in Austria next week they can once again show why F3 is usually viewed as the most unpredictable on the Invictus calendar.
Pre-season is officially ticked off and now the real nerves kick in! The season starts next week at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Join us from Monday for the opening round of what is going to en an exhilarating season.