Red Bull Ring's Formula Renault 3.5 Sunday double-header a one-off

The Formula Renault 3.5 Series holding both of this weekend's Red Bull Ring races on Sunday, for the first time in a decade, is likely to be a one-off

Red Bull Ring's Formula Renault 3.5 Sunday double-header a one-off

Although formats have been tweaked through the years, each round's opening race has been held on a Saturday since 2005.

Neither race will feature a pitstop, and the changes are a result of the FR3.5 series sharing the bill with the European Le Mans Series.

"It is just a special case for this weekend," said FR3.5 category manager Pablo Martino. "We had to adapt our timetable to the ELMS.

"For sure it can create a little bit more work for the organisation and the teams, but at the end it's something positive to be alongside a championship like ELMS.

"The teams also think like this. Having a race like this is positive for us, the ELMS and the FR3.5 teams and drivers.

"In the future, if we are with them again, we will think again, but our idea is to have one race on Saturday and one on Sunday."

Fortec managing director Jamie Dye, whose drivers Oliver Rowland and Jazeman Jaafar are first and third in the drivers' standings commented: "It has not really affected us having two races on Sunday.

"The biggest difference is having one session on Friday, three on Saturday and two races.

"It is a shame that both qualifying sessions are on Saturday, in case it doesn't go so well, but unlike in Formula 3, there should be enough of a gap in between to sort out car balance and issues - if there are any.

"There are no pitstops, so it is not going to be as spectacular as we normally have, but there is one race at the start of the day and one at the end, so we will treat it as closely as possible to a normal weekend."

Although the revised format has not posed any great issues for teams, Dye stated his preference for the championship to retain its regular timetable.

"The teams strongly believe that having a two separate day format is the right way forward, for training drivers and giving teams a good chance of doing well," said Dye

PONS ROOKIE TO MISS

Pons Racing's Indonesian rookie Philo Paz Patric Armand will miss this weekend's round due to visa issues.

Team manager Emilio de Villota Jr told AUTOSPORT: "Philo Armand has a problem with his visa and he will not be able to leave his home country on time.

"The team is trying to finalise a replacement driver but the short notice is making it very difficult to find the right candidate."

Armand's difficulties could see the Spanish team reduced to a single entry for Roberto Merhi. The Manor Formula 1 driver scored Pons' first podium since 2011 at the Hungaroring last month.

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