Antonio Felix da Costa ends FR3.5 test on top

Antonio Felix da Costa

Antonio Felix da Costa ended this weekend’s collective testing at Paul Ricard on a high, dominating the final day of the two-day get-together by posting the fastest times in both the wet and the dry. Focusing mainly on his race set-up, Da Costa’s main rival Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) finished the day second on the timesheets, while Kevin Magnussen (Dams), Marco Sorensen (Lotus) and Arthur Pic (AV Formula) all picked up their pace behind the pre-season’s leading duo.

On this the second day of collective testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the 13 teams on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series grid followed the same program as they did on Friday, concentrating on two main areas: race performance and fine-tuning the handling of their cars. And that was not the only similarity with yesterday, as damp conditions prevailed in the morning before the skies cleared in the afternoon.

A wet track forced the teams to change their plans as the day began, prompting them to work on their race-start and pit-stop procedures instead of comparing set-ups. “The track was changing from one lap to the next and there was no way we could analyze what we were doing with any kind of precision," said Carlin. “We could see that times were improving but we had no way of knowing if that was down to what we were doing or to the changing track conditions."

In a repeat of Friday morning, slicks were the preferred option as the end of the first session neared, though the cool track temperatures prevented the Michelin tires from warming up sufficiently. As far as the timesheets were concerned, Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens (P1 Motorsport), Marco Sorensen (Lotus), Nico Muller and Andre Negrao (International Draco Racing) were all within half a second of each other going into the break.

Tire temperatures rose and times dropped as the sun made a welcome appearance after lunch. Arthur Pic (AV Formula), Sam Bird (ISR) and Marco Sorensen were the first to show, trading fastest laps with each other. The afternoon session was mainly about race preparation, however, as most of the drivers stayed out for long runs. The last half hour of the day was devoted to qualifying simulations using two sets of new tires, with Antonio Felix da Costa emerging from the pack to record the fastest time of the weekend, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne and Arthur Pic.

What they said

Kevin Magnussen: “We were fast in the wet and the dry, which is very satisfying, though we can’t stop there. We tested a few different set-ups. Some were good, others not so good. We were looking for performance in the afternoon and worked on our starts and pit stops, and there’s room for improvement in every area."

Will Stevens: “It’s shaping up to be a really good year for me. I feel very much at ease in the team and I feel confident inside the car too. We’ve got plenty of pace, and now that we’ve laid some good foundations we can really push on. I was a few hundredths off Antonio and Kevin yesterday in the same conditions, and today we prepared for the races by going through some race-pace and endurance tests, which were very promising."

Arthur Pic: “I didn’t do much driving yesterday or this morning, so I didn’t really have a benchmark when I went out this afternoon. As my times showed, I was having a lot of fun. We were on a minimum program this week and got down to the basics, while leaving a few other jobs for the Barcelona tests. The team has only just been set up and I need to build up the best possible understanding with my engineer. That said, everything’s in place and we all feel we can do even better yet. It’s all very encouraging."

Day 1 Times

Morning times:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 1m57.555s +0.000s 30
2. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m59.814s +2.259s 31
3. Sam Bird ISR 2m00.954s +3.399s 32
4. Daniil Move Comtec 2m01.383s +3.828s 19
5. Marco Sorensen Lotus 2m01.920s +4.365s 34
6. Lucas Foresti Comtec 2m02.154s +4.599s 31
7. Will Stevens P1 2m02.199s +4.644s 39
8. Carlos Huertas Carlin 2m02.529s +4.974s 29
9. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 2m02.700s +5.145s 47
10. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 2m03.065s +5.510s 42
11. Nico Muller Draco 2m03.105s +5.550s 37
12. Andre Negrao Draco 2m03.195s +5.640s 36
13. Nikolay Martsenko Pons 2m04.596s +7.041s 43
14. Yann Cunha AV 2m04.790s +7.235s 46
15. Oliver Webb Fortec 2m04.913s +7.358s 31
16. Sergey Sirotkin ISR 2m04.976s +7.421s 37
17. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 2m05.200s +7.645s 30
18. Nigel Melker Tech 1 2m05.350s +7.795s 36
19. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 2m06.154s +8.599s 25
20. Matias Laine P1 2m06.337s +8.782s 41
21. Mihai Marinescu Zeta 2m07.220s +9.665s 24
22. Norman Nato DAMS 2m07.316s +9.761s 38
23. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 2m07.817s +10.262s 42
24. Zoel Amberg Pons 2m07.857s +10.302s 15
25. Arthur Pic AV 2m08.316s +10.761s 12

Afternoon times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 1m46.745s +0.000s 25
2. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 1m46.773s +0.028s 34
3. Will Stevens P1 1m46.943s +0.198s 28
4. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m46.979s +0.234s 18
5. Nico Muller Draco 1m47.185s +0.440s 31
6. Andre Negrao Draco 1m47.240s +0.495s 24
7. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m47.281s +0.536s 27
8. Nick Yelloly Zeta 1m47.584s +0.839s 30
9. Carlos Huertas Carlin 1m47.684s +0.939s 26
10. Nikolay Martsenko Pons 1m47.705s +0.960s 42
11. Lucas Foresti Comtec 1m47.738s +0.993s 35
12. Sergey Sirotkin ISR 1m47.775s +1.030s 28
13. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 1m47.989s +1.244s 38
14. Oliver Webb Fortec 1m48.021s +1.276s 26
15. Norman Nato DAMS 1m48.127s +1.382s 30
16. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m48.178s +1.433s 24
17. Daniil Move Comtec 1m48.202s +1.457s 29
18. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m48.307s +1.562s 21
19. Matias Laine P1 1m48.372s +1.627s 21
20. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 1m48.439s +1.694s 36
21. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 1m48.440s +1.695s 41
22. Yann Cunha AV 1m49.211s +2.466s 40
23. Nigel Melker Tech 1 1m49.703s +2.958s 16
24. Sam Bird ISR 1m49.778s +3.033s 8
25. Mihai Marinescu Zeta 1m50.220s +3.475s 29
26. Arthur Pic AV 1m59.888s +13.143s 4

Day 2 Times

Morning times:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 2m02.528s +0.000s 39
2. Marco Sorensen Lotus 2m03.573s +1.045s 36
3. Zoel Amberg Pons 2m04.717s +2.189s 32
4. Sam Bird ISR 2m04.941s +2.413s 12
5. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 2m05.399s +2.871s 35
6. Oliver Webb Fortec 2m05.699s +3.171s 30
7. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 2m05.820s +3.292s 30
8. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 2m06.114s +3.586s 35
9. Sergey Sirotkin ISR 2m06.154s +3.626s 40
10. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 2m06.206s +3.678s 32
11. Nigel Melker Tech 1 2m06.583s +4.055s 34
12. Norman Nato DAMS 2m06.686s +4.158s 34
13. Andre Negrao Draco 2m06.732s +4.204s 17
14. Nikolay Martsenko Pons 2m06.817s +4.289s 21
15. Will Stevens P1 2m06.820s +4.292s 32
16. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 2m06.859s +4.331s 33
17. Lucas Foresti Comtec 2m06.933s +4.405s 13
18. Nick Yelloly Zeta 2m06.994s +4.466s 29
19. Matias Laine P1 2m07.329s +4.801s 27
20. Yann Cunha AV 2m07.621s +5.093s 36
21. Nico Muller Draco 2m07.897s +5.369s 20
22. Daniil Move Comtec 2m08.211s +5.683s 21
23. Mihai Marinescu Zeta 2m08.786s +6.258s 33
24. Carlos Huertas Carlin 2m08.872s +6.344s 22
25. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 2m09.470s +6.942s 8
26. Arthur Pic AV 2m09.629s +7.101s 10

Afternoon times:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Antonio Felix da Costa Arden Caterham 1m46.425s +0.000s 38
2. Stoffel Vandoorne Fortec 1m47.007s +0.582s 43
3. Arthur Pic AV 1m47.134s +0.709s 35
4. Kevin Magnussen DAMS 1m47.184s +0.759s 45
5. Sam Bird ISR 1m47.278s +0.853s 27
6. Marco Sorensen Lotus 1m47.375s +0.950s 39
7. Nico Muller Draco 1m47.393s +0.968s 39
8. Andre Negrao Draco 1m47.497s +1.072s 36
9. Norman Nato DAMS 1m47.650s +1.225s 38
10. Lucas Foresti Comtec 1m47.655s +1.230s 19
11. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 1m47.733s +1.308s 34
12. Sergey Sirotkin ISR 1m47.964s +1.539s 37
13. Daniil Move Comtec 1m48.009s +1.584s 47
14. Nigel Melker Tech 1 1m48.022s +1.597s 40
15. Pietro Fantin Arden Caterham 1m48.099s +1.674s 45
16. Zoel Amberg Pons 1m48.117s +1.692s 39
17. Carlos Huertas Carlin 1m48.125s +1.700s 31
18. Oliver Webb Fortec 1m48.142s +1.717s 27
19. Will Stevens P1 1m48.381s +1.956s 28
20. Mikhail Aleshin Tech 1 1m48.392s +1.967s 23
21. Daniel Zampieri Zeta 1m48.394s +1.969s 31
22. Nikolay Martsenko Pons 1m48.405s +1.980s 45
23. Matias Laine P1 1m48.554s +2.129s 28
24. Marlon Stockinger Lotus 1m48.923s +2.498s 33
25. Yann Cunha AV 1m49.827s +3.402s 29
26. Mihai Marinescu Zeta 1m49.944s +3.519s 53

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