GP2, GP3 schedules confirmed for 2016, featuring new races

© GP2 Series

The calendars for the upcoming GP2 and GP3 Series seasons have been released, featuring new events for both junior championships.

GP2 and GP3 feature on Formula 1’s undercard and are generally regarded as being the second and third highest ‘rungs’ on the motorsport ladder in Europe.

The grids for both series are most set, with GP2 poised to be particularly competitive as Sergey Sirotkin, Alex Lynn, Pierre Gasly, Raffaele Marciello and Oliver Rowland are tipped to battle for the championship.

GP2 will start later than usual in 2016 following the change in date for the Bahrain Grand Prix, making a weekend at Sakhir impossible given the timing of the final winter test at Jerez.

The first race of the year is in Spain on May 14, with round two once again taking place at Monaco. GP3 will also kick off in Spain, but will not return until the beginning of July at the Austrian Grand Prix.

In support of the inaugural F1 race in Azerbaijan, GP2 will also venture to Baku for round three of the year, and will return to Sepang, Malaysia for the first time since 2013 later in the year.

GP3 will make its first appearance in Malaysia as well, with both series wrapping up in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

2016 GP2 Series Calendar

1. Spain 13-15 May
2. Monaco 26-28 May
3. Azerbaijan 17-19 June
4. Austria 1-3 July
5. Great Britain 8-10 July
6. Hungary 22-24 July
7. Germany 29-31 July
8. Belgium 26-28 August
9. Italy 2-4 September
10. Malaysia 31 September – 2 October
​11. Abu Dhabi 25-27 November

2016 GP3 Series Calendar

1. Spain 13-15 May
2. Austria 1-3 July
3. Great Britain 8-10 July
4. Hungary 22-24 July
5. Germany 29-31 July
6. Belgium 26-29 August
7. Italy 2-4 September
8. Malaysia 30 September – 2 October
​9. Abu Dhabi 27-29 November

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.