Lotus have confirmed that they will be giving junior driver Alex Fontana some track time next week during a private test at Paul Ricard using the 2010 Renault R30 car.
Fontana currently competes in GP3 for Jenzer Motorsport, but he was signed up by Lotus for the team’s junior programme at the beginning of the season. The team opted to give the majority of its young driver running to Davide Valsecchi at the Silverstone test back in July, but Fontana will finally get his first taste of a Formula One car next week at the French circuit.
“I’m naturally delighted that Lotus F1 Team has given me the opportunity of this test,” Fontana explained. “Every driver’s dream is to sit behind the wheel of a Formula One car.
“For me it’s a great honour to be able to undertake a day’s testing at Paul Ricard. I’ve been to Enstone on a number of occasions to prepare myself to best effect with intensive work on the simulator, and I’ll be tackling this test with great respect for the team, the car and with a healthy dose of humility. I’ll be giving it my best shot, to grasp the opportunity and to live up to the expectations.”
The Swiss driver has enjoyed a solid first full season in GP3, scoring one podium and a string of points-scoring finishes. This test for Lotus (who, of course, evolved from Renault) does point to a bright future for Fontana relying that he can excel in the junior categories to make himself a contender for an F1 seat in the future.
Greaves car, lineup confirmed for FIA WEC’s Mexico City race
Junqueira (above) back in action. Photo: Getty Images
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”