2013 Geneva Auto Show

F1 Flashback: Ferrari’s historic home one-two after founder’s death (VIDEO)

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Enxo Ferrari, who founded his great eponymous racing team in 1929, passed away on August 14th, 1988.

Two weeks later his famous red cars race at Spa-Francorchamps but came away empty-handed, while rivals McLaren claimed their eleventh win in as many races and eighth one-two. Prospects for the next event, Ferrari’s home race, looked gloomy.

But fortune smiled on the tifosi 25 years ago at Monza.

Race day dawned with the familiar sight of two McLarens on the front row of the grid. The Ferraris lined up behind them: Gerhard Berger swapping between his race and spare car as the team tried to pin down a niggling fault, Michele Alboreto making his final appearance in his home race as a Ferrari driver.

From the start things didn’t go quite according to plan for McLaren. Shortly after pulling away Alain Prost’s engine began to misfire. But Ayrton Senna assumed his usual commanding lead.

On the 15th lap Lotus driver Satoru Nakajima – who like the McLaren drivers was Honda-powered – pulled into the pits to retire with a faulty piston. This raised few eyebrows, but when Prost’s fault became terminal 20 laps later Senna was put on alert.

He had plenty of time to spare – at this point he was 26 seconds up the road from Berger. He backed off, took his time in traffic and looked after his engine. With two laps to go the Ferraris were closing in and Senna was beginning to feel the need to pick up the pace.

It was at this point he came across the Williams of Jean-Louis Schlesser. Deputising for an unwell Nigel Mansell, Schlesser had qualified two seconds slower than his team mate on a track with seven corners.

Wasting no time, Senna thrust his McLaren down the inside of Schlesser at the first chicane and took up the racing line. The Williams driver thumped into the side of the MP4-4, tipping it into a gravel trap.

While Senna impotently spun his wheels the two Ferraris motored past to a famous victory, and most of Italy erupted in applause. It was the only time McLaren were beaten all year.

Lotus prepared for close fight with Force India for P5

SUZUKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 26:  Romain Grosjean of France and Lotus drives during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 26, 2015 in Suzuka.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
© Getty Images
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Lotus technical director Nick Chester believes that the team faces a close fight with Force India for fifth place in the constructors’ championship that will rage on until the end of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Lotus currently ranks sixth in the teams’ standings, 17 points behind Force India in fifth with five races remaining this year.

Finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship would not only secure some much-needed additional prize money for Lotus, but it would also secure it a place on the F1 Strategy Group for 2016 when it is poised to become Renault F1 Team.

Reflecting on last weekend’s race in Japan, Chester said he was pleased with the double-points finished achieved by Lotus drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, and believes that the team can catch up in the coming weeks if Force India hits trouble.

“[Japan] was very rewarding and also very important for us in our fight for fifth place in the constructors’ championship,” Chester said. “We closed up a little bit more on Force India and of course there is a bit more to do.

“They had a good race in Monza when both our cars got knocked out but effectively we’re one good race away where they have a bad one and we can catch up. It will be tight all the way until the end of the season.

Looking ahead to the upcoming Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Chester spoke of the challenge posed to both the teams and the drivers by the tight and twisting circuit around the site of the old winter Olympic park.

“We know that the surface is very smooth and last year we struggled generating temperature with the tires, partly through the smooth surface and partly through what was a conservative tire allocation,” Chester said.

“Pirelli’s softer allocation for this year along with the more weathered track surface and our better knowledge of the circuit should mean we fare far better in this regard. In terms of its needs, we know that it’s a track that is quite power and traction-sensitive.

“The layout presents a lot of slow speed corners and long straights. Braking down into turn 13 is very severe and you come out of the kink before you brake so it is a difficult corner to get right. Overall, the whole track is quite technical, so it certainly a challenging one for the drivers.”

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.