Six Alpine Academy drivers took to the track this weekend with FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 joining the Formula 1 support bill at the historic Silverstone circuit and the F1 Academy Series running at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Victor Martins (ART Grand Prix) claimed his maiden win in FIA Formula 2, moving himself up to fifth in the championship standings. After a challenging start to his rookie season, Victor claimed his third pole position in Friday’s Qualifying session. Converting his first place start in the Feature Race into a maiden win he showed incredible pace, stretching a gap of over seven seconds from Zane Maloney in second to retain the top step on the podium despite a five second time penalty. Having finished seventh in Saturday’s Sprint, Victor collected a total of 30 points across the weekend.
Jack Doohan (Invicta Virtuosi) also continues to move up in the FIA Formula 2 Championship as he collected his second podium of the season in Saturday’s Sprint Race. Finishing third in Friday’s Free Practice Jack then qualified fourth in the afternoon’s session to secure himself a second-row grid start on Sunday. Saturday’s Sprint Race saw the Australian driver battling with Oliver Bearman, with Jack consistently putting pressure on the PREMA driver before taking the final spot on the podium. In Sunday’s Feature Race Jack charged back through the order after being forced off the track and falling down to 11th, ultimately crossing the chequered flag in fourth.
In FIA Formula 3 Gabriele Minì (Hitech) had a clean weekend, collecting points in both the Sprint and Feature Races to move himself up to third in the championship standings. Running in the top 10 for much of Friday’s Free Practice he finished the afternoon’s Qualifying session in seventh. In Saturday’s dry-to-wet Sprint Race the Italian driver chose not to pit for wet tyres under Safety Car conditions as others did, briefly falling through the order before seeing the decision pay off and ultimately finishing in fifth. Gabriele had a relatively straight forward Feature Race on Sunday, battling with Franco Colapinto to finish in seventh position.
Nikola Tsolov (ART) showed strong pace over the weekend moving up a total of 18 places across the Sprint and Feature Races. Starting the weekend off strong the Bulgarian driver finished Friday’s Free Practice in 12th but qualified 23rd after trying a new set up on his car in the afternoon session. Despite starting on the backfoot Nikola capitalised on an early pitstop in Saturday’s Sprint Race, moving up to finish in 15th. In Sunday’s Feature Race he once again made his way through the order, battling with various drivers and finishing just outside of the points in 11th place.
Sophia Floersch (PHM Racing) had a tough weekend at Silverstone, finishing Friday’s Free Practice in 23rd and 28th in the afternoon’s Qualifying session. Starting near the back of the grid for Saturday’s Sprint Race the German driver pitted for wets as rain started to fall, carving her way through the order she gained nine positions to cross the chequered flag in 19th. In Sunday’s Feature Race Sophia made up a handful of places to finish 23rd.
In Round 5 of the F1 Academy Series Abbi secured her fourth and fifth podiums of the season coming away from the weekend as the driver with the biggest haul of points. Starting off strong the British driver set the pace early in each Free Practice session, finishing both in second with less than a tenth of a second gap to the lead. Once again showing incredible pace in Qualifying Abbi finished Q1 in third after encountering traffic in her final flying lap but went on to claim pole position in Q2 with the fastest time of the day. Despite damage to her drive shaft after contact at Turn 1 Abbi battled for a podium position in Race 1, missing out by just 0.016secs to Marta Garcia but went on to carve her way through the pack from sixth in Race 2, crossing the chequered flag in third. Abbi had a good start in Race 3 but was overtaken by Bianca Bustamante and ultimately finished the final race of the weekend in second under Safety Car conditions.
The Alpine Academy now looks ahead to Hungary for Round 10 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship and Round 8 of the FIA Formula 3 Championship, and to Le Castellet for Round 6 of the F1 Academy Series.
Jack Doohan, Invicta Virtuosi Racing: “We had another decent weekend with two solid races. I am happy with the Sprint Race; it was a dog fight but nice to finish on the podium and climb to third from seventh. It was disappointing to get shuffled out in the Feature Race after the pit stops but I was happy to be able to come back through the order to 4th from 11th. Now it’s time to rest and recharge for Budapest in a week.”
Victor Martins, ART Grand Prix: “It was a mega weekend overall, another pole position following Austria and a Feature Race win on Sunday! It was a challenging weekend in terms of the weather conditions, but we managed to maximise everything on track with the team which I’m super happy about! It was great to finally get the results representative of the pace we have in the car. Now we keep our heads down and use the confidence and momentum to keep it up!”
Gabriele Minì, Hitech Racing: “We have finished the British Grand Prix. Overall, we improved quite a lot throughout the weekend. We weren’t the fastest in Qualifying and we were also missing some pace in the Sprint Race on Saturday, but we found it again in the Feature Race. Multiple times we were able to catch up with the pack of cars ahead but each time we got close there was a Safety Car which was very frustrating as the pace was there, but we couldn’t overtake. Looking ahead to the next round we just need to keep pushing and try to get the maximum points possible in Hungary.”
Nikola Tsolov, ART Grand Prix: “It was a different kind of weekend for me at Silverstone. I really enjoyed the track, but it didn’t go exactly the way we planned. Free Practice was pretty good, we were always looking inside the top 10, but going into Qualifying we tried a different set up that we thought was going to be better but was exactly the opposite. From then on having to start 23rd is never easy. The Sprint Race on Saturday was entertaining with us choosing to make a pit stop to change tyres and managing to come back to 15th place. Sunday was a better day for me, having a good start and first lap, then with some good race craft and strong pace I got 11th place. Finishing 11th and being just out of the points for the third time this year is disappointing, but we take away the positives and it was a good comeback to gain 12 positions.”
Sophia Floersch, PHM Racing: “It wasn’t the weekend I had wished for in Silverstone. There were certainly some positive things to take away from it, like gaining nine places in Saturday’s Sprint Race. On that level it is really about the details and trying to maximise every small aspect starting with the preparation which is something I think we can improve. Now we are looking ahead to Budapest in two weeks where we will try to come back stronger.”
Abbi Pulling, Rodin Carlin: “A good points haul this weekend, but we had so much potential. I was fast all weekend and had lots of confidence, it is just a shame we didn’t get double pole because of traffic in Qualifying 1. Then we were unfortunate to get hit from behind in Race 1 at the start. It broke our drive shaft making it difficult to run in a straight line, which is very important at Monza! We started sixth in the reverse grid Race 2 and made good progress with lots of aggression. Third was as much as I could do because of the shorter race but we also managed to take the fastest lap. In Race 3, I had a great launch and led for a long time but became a sitting duck as the PREMA car was very fast on the straights all weekend. I think the pace we have had has been very promising and Paul Ricard is a much more complex track with more corners and less straights.”