Matthieu Vaxiviere defends his driving after FR3.5 Le Mans penalty

Lotus Formula 1 junior Matthieu Vaxiviere gave a defiant defence of his driving following criticism from rivals after the opening Formula Renault 3.5 race of the weekend at Le Mans

Matthieu Vaxiviere defends his driving after FR3.5 Le Mans penalty

Vaxiviere was handed a 10 second time penalty during the race for being judged to have gained an advantage by breaching track limits when maintaining his second position from Arden driver Egor Orudzhev.

The Frenchman dropped from the runner-up position at the chequered flag to tenth as a consequence of the race officials' decision, but Orudzhev felt strongly that a penalty should have been awarded earlier in proceedings.

The result effectively ends Vaxiviere's title hopes, as championship leader Oliver Rowland is 74 points clear in the drivers' standings, with 75 on offer over the last three races of the season.

"With Egor, I felt he braked so late, and for this I cut the corner to avoid an accident," explained Vaxiviere.

"I don't really know what the race director wants."

Vaxiviere challenged race winner Rowland during the early laps, before contact on the run to Turn 1, the Dunlop Chicane, damaged the Charouz-run Lotus car's front-wing.

Rowland's left-rear tyre had three grooves embedded in it, and the Racing Steps-backed driver was fortunate to escape a puncture on his way to a dominant seventh win of the season.

"On the crash with Oliver, he moved a little bit, but it wasn't a sudden change of direction," said Vaxiviere.

"We can't really say anything as I touched him with the side of the wing, so I think that incident was just racing.

"But I'm upset with the 10-second penalty.

"I had a problem with the radio so I couldn't hear any information during the race.

"I was pushing like hell and at the end of the race I thought I had finished second.

"I am upset when we had such good car performance and the race director made this decision when I thought I was avoiding an accident."

Following his victory, Rowland repeated his ambition to seal the championship by completing the double at Le Mans in race two on Sunday.

"I am really happy to be 74 points clear," said Rowland, who matched reigning FR3.5 champion Carlos Sainz Jr's record of seven wins in a season.

"Of course it would be nice to win it by standing on the top step of the podium, but it is close to being all but done."

shares
comments
Oliver Rowland on brink of FR3.5 title with Le Mans victory

Previous article

Oliver Rowland on brink of FR3.5 title with Le Mans victory

Next article

Le Mans FR3.5: Tio Ellinas on pole, Oliver Rowland only 14th

Le Mans FR3.5: Tio Ellinas on pole, Oliver Rowland only 14th
Load comments
How the post-Renault 3.5 series is shaping up Plus

How the post-Renault 3.5 series is shaping up

When Renault ended its support of its 3.5 Formula, there were fears about the category's future. But as PETER MILLS explains, the rebadged FV8 3.5 series has retained an appeal to drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Feb 3, 2016
The all-time FR3.5 top 10 Plus

The all-time FR3.5 top 10

An era ended in 2015 as Renault withdrew its backing of Formula Renault 3.5. GLENN FREEMAN and PETER MILLS pick the 10 best drivers from the World Series by Renault years

Formula V8 3.5
Jan 8, 2016
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2015 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2015

The 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season will be notable for being the last with the French company's backing but also produced a worthy champion in Oliver Rowland. PETER MILLS evaluates this year's crop of drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 17, 2015
Renault's ladder to Formula 1 Plus

Renault's ladder to Formula 1

Since 2005 the World Series by Renault package has launched a host of young stars on the path to Formula 1. But there's much more to the events, both on and off the track

Formula V8 3.5
Aug 13, 2015
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2014

The field was perhaps not as strong as in the previous season, but Carlos Sainz Jr emerged as a worthy Formula Renault 3.5 champion. GLENN FREEMAN rates the top 2014 drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 11, 2014
The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2013 Plus

The top 10 FR3.5 drivers of 2013

There were some standout performances in the Formula Renault 3.5 title race this year, but one racer stood above all the others. GLENN FREEMAN looks back and picks out his top 10 drivers

Formula V8 3.5
Nov 15, 2013
The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 grid guide Plus

The 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 grid guide

Last year's field was extraordinary and hard to match, but the Formula Renault 3.5 grid will still have plenty of talent this season. Glenn Freeman runs through the field ahead of this weekend's season opener

Formula V8 3.5
Apr 4, 2013
Vandoorne: future McLaren F1 star? Plus

Vandoorne: future McLaren F1 star?

Landing the Fortec seat that took rising star Robin Frijns to the 2012 FR3.5 title was already a good sign for Stoffel Vandoorne. Then McLaren took him under its wing. Peter Mills tells Vandoorne's story so far

Formula V8 3.5
Feb 20, 2013