Red Bull junior driver Carlos Sainz Jr. has been crowned the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 champion at Jerez, Spain today after finishing ninth in the penultimate race of the season.
Sainz has dominated the championship in 2014 by claiming seven wins, but was guaranteed the title after the very first corner in Jerez when title rival Roberto Merhi crashed out.
With just one race remaining, Sainz enjoys a 46-point lead with 25 on offer, making him the first Red Bull-backed driver to win the championship despite it being a favorite of the energy drink giant’s motorsport division.
Sainz follows in the footsteps of McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, who won the title in 2013 for DAMS before moving up to Formula 1. The Spaniard will be hoping to make a similar move, but his far from convincing performance in today’s race is unlikely to have done his hopes of a seat at Toro Rosso in 2015 much good.
The race was won by Marussia reserve driver Will Stevens, with Oliver Rowland and Sergey Sirotkin completing the podium in Jerez. The final round of the year will be held tomorrow afternoon.
Formula 1 enjoys a great deal of support from Formula Renault 3.5, which acts as a rival to GP2 as the sport’s leading feeder series. Of the current field, Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi and Giedo van der Garde all raced in the series before graduating to F1.
Roll of Honor – Formula Renault 3.5 champions
2005 Robert Kubica
2006 Alx Danielsson
2007 Alvaro Parente
2008 Giedo van der Garde
2009 Bertrand Baguette
2010 Mikhail Aleshin
2011 Robert Wickens
2012 Robin Frijns
2013 Kevin Magnussen
2014 Carlos Sainz Jr.