1. Bertrand Baguette
Championship position: 1st
Grew in stature to reel in early leader Marcos Martinez. Made no serious errors and retired just once, with clutch failure, in Barcelona. Could not lay claim to being the strongest qualifier, but excellent race-craft brought five wins.
2. Fairuz Fauzy
Championship position: 2nd
Like Baguette, another third-year man. Fauzy's pre-season buy-in of Fortec's FR3.5 team resulted in a recruitment push and the F1 hopeful responded by finally delivering consistent speed, an attribute missing in his GP2 years and previous World Series campaigns. He took a solitary reverse-grid win, but other strong points finishes went begging, not least through some peculiar strategies.
3. Charles Pic
Championship position: 3rd
Pic made strides after a promising, if patchy, rookie year in 2008. He had continuity in remaining with Tech 1, but Renault Driver Development support increased expectations. Rain prevented a probable win in Barcelona, thereafter he had a quiet spell before two feature race wins and a fighting drive when ill at Portimao. But by then Pic was long out of title contention. A constantly changing roster of team-mates cannot have helped form.
4. Oliver Turvey
Championship position: 4th
The top rookie. Thoughtful and even tempered, Turvey's season was crowned by a superb win at Monaco. Like all of the newcomers, he struggled initially to exploit the most from new tyres in qualifying and equal the outright pace of the third-year brigade.
5. James Walker
Championship position: 5th
Walker possessed the speed to win the championship and, in contrast to three of the men above him in the standings, for a lengthy period appeared to be in contention. In his first championship assault since Formula Ford, his impatience sometimes got the better of him and he threw points away at Barcelona, Spa and Le Mans. His P1 Motorsport team had a severe upheaval of a fire post-Portimao that destroyed their cars and factory.
6. Jaime Alguersuari
Championship position: 6th
As with Carlin team-mate Turvey, Alguersuari took time to master qualifying and match the third-year drivers. He took a measured approach and made no mistakes of note. His Portimao win was top-class. During the finale at Motorland he was set for the runner-up place in the standings until suffering a delayed pitstop. It was a brave programme combining World Series duties with Formula 1 and he deserves plaudits.
7. Marcos Martinez
Championship position: 7th
A bizarre season for Martinez. He was at a loss to explain an appalling eight race run without scoring at the end of the year. A maiden, double, victory at Barcelona somewhat fell in his lap, but the result spurred him on and by mid-season he held the points lead to claim a prize Renault F1 road-show drive.
8. Jon Lancaster
Championship position: 13th
Quick. He rocked up at Comtec four races into the year with no testing, so 13th in the championship is little reflection of the impact he made. A confident, aggressive racer, he took pole at Le Mans and scored a reverse-grid win at Portimao. Three other podiums slipped away through breakdowns, punctures and penalties.
9. Miguel Molina
Championship position: 8th
On paper, the combination of proven winner Molina and 2008's impressive upstart Ultimate Motorsport should have provided a title assault. In practice, the partnership never quite gelled and was a brought to an unsatisfactory close when the team was forced to withdraw with budget issues.
10. Brendon Hartley
Championship position: 15th
The Kiwi gets our tenth slot by a whisker thanks to his impressive raw speed. He conceded far too many errors, even allowing for the absence of any pre-season testing and the constant uncertainty over his part programme. Hartley should deliver more in a full season with Tech 1 in 2010.
|The 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 season review|
|Formula Renault 3.5: Holding its own|
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