Spa practice crash prompts Formula Renault 3.5 format vote

Formula Renault 3.5 could drop the mandatory use of low-downforce settings in its Saturday races following a vote in the Spa drivers' briefing, though it will remain for this weekend

Spa practice crash prompts Formula Renault 3.5 format vote

This year open downforce settings are allowed for race two on Sundays, but a low-downforce set-up is compulsory for the Saturday race and qualifying session.

A crash for Pietro Fantin in free practice two at Spa on Friday prompted Renault Sport to gauge drivers' concerns and team reaction to the format.

Fantin's cockpit floor was penetrated by a wishbone that speared into a gap between the Brazilian's legs after a shunt just before Blanchimont.

"A lot of people have complained about the LDF [low downforce] for a while and nothing seemed to change," said Fantin.

"Today, I had a big crash in low downforce in a corner that is flat with HDF, or the normal configuration, and with LDF was always at the limit.

"On the lap I completely lost aero-load because of the low wing, then I had a big crash.

"I showed them a picture of a wishbone that went through the cockpit and in between my legs, then a video showing that I didn't hit any kerbs.

"Most of the drivers started saying the same thing, that it increases the danger and expense.

"It doesn't allow more overtaking."

Xavier Gonzalez, sporting manager at Renault Sport, said it was not clear whether the low downforce contributed to Fantin's crash, and added that changing regulations during an event would be difficult.

"The idea behind introducing the LDF was to make it easier to select the more talented drivers, because when the car slides more you have to control it better," he said.

"There was one crash with Fantin, and it was difficult to say if the LDF was the cause. I can't say that if the crash happened in high downforce it wouldn't have been worse because he would have been going quicker.

"But we always want to listen to our drivers and teams, who are also our customers, and we want to have a real relationship with them, so we asked them to express their opinion.

"At the beginning I thought everybody was against but during the discussion it was half-and-half, 11 to nine [in favour of retaining the current rules for Spa].

"So if we are not agreed together, we keep the same rule. It is difficult to change during the meeting. From a sporting point of view there is not sporting equity."

shares
comments
Spa FR3.5: Matthieu Vaxiviere fastest in free practice

Previous article

Spa FR3.5: Matthieu Vaxiviere fastest in free practice

Next article

Spa FR3.5: Matthieu Vaxiviere takes pole ahead of Beitske Visser

Spa FR3.5: Matthieu Vaxiviere takes pole ahead of Beitske Visser
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