Formula One will have a new support race at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, but recent crashes have called into question driving standards in the junior category.
Formula Renault 3.5 has been part of the Sunday race-morning build-up at Monaco since Renault took over the championship ten years ago. But with the French manufacturer pulling its backing for that championship next year, its junior Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup category has been announced in its place on the Monaco Grand Prix support bill.
The Eurocup is open to drivers as young as 16, some of whom are competing in their first season out of karts. With the Monaco event taking place so early in the season, some could have very little prior experience of racing the 2.0-litre Formula Renault cars before taking part on the event at one of F1’s most demanding tracks.
While series for more experienced drivers in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 have run for years at Monaco, incorporating younger championships has been problematic. GP3 made a one-off appearance at the track in 2012, but hasn’t returned following Conor Daly’s aerial crash when he was launched off the back of Dmitry Suranovich’s car.
The Formula Renault Eurocup has seen four cars launched in the air over the past two weeks. Jehan Daruvala landed upside-down on a barrier at Silverstone and moments later Ferdinand Habsburg was flipped high when he hit team mate Ben Barnicoat as the field slowed when the Safety Car came out. The same weekend Harrison Scott flipped his car – again in contact with Barnicoat – and at the Nurburgirng yesterday Anton De Pasquale flipped his car over following a post-race collision. All of these incidents would have been far more dangerous and more likely to happen in the first place on a circuit as confined as Monaco.
There were 35 cars entered for last weekend’s Eurocup round at the Nurburgring. Monaco will not be able to accommodate as many as that, but following these recent crashes perhaps the question should be asked if it is appropriate for the Eurocup’s inexperienced drivers to race there at all.
Jehan Daruvala and Ferdinand Habsburg crashes
Anton de Pasquale crash
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7 comments on “Eurocup supporting F1 at Monaco? Expect carnage”
14th September 2015, 12:11
I’ve lost track of what’s happening to 3.5 next year, could someone fill me in please?
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th September 2015, 12:32
@jmc200 Renault aren’t involved any more so Jaime Alguersuari Snr’s RPM Racing, which set the championship up pre-2005, is taking over administration at least for the next three years.
14th September 2015, 18:36
Seems like a terrible idea to me, although I suppose if you decide to limit certain series at a track, you’d have to take a closer look at the reason for that (Monaco really isn’t acceptable from a safety standpoint).
14th September 2015, 19:07
Formula Renault 2.0 also has one of the biggest field of open-wheel, single seater car*: 45 drivers have raced in the championship yet, with only 26 drivers eligible for points. As it is a spec series, the field is packed and accidents happen week-in week-out.
*41 drivers have competed in Formula 3 this season.
14th September 2015, 23:20
There’s nothing like a race car flipping into the harbor for worldwide publicity.
16th September 2015, 19:13
@hohum Indeed. Keep a link of this comment just in case this scenario does occur next year. F1fanatic expects carnage at Monaco!
Now getting way ahead of ourselves. Will the F1 race go ahead as planned after the predicted Renault 2.0 Armageddon?
15th September 2015, 1:09
I was at Silverstone and saw the two Eurocup races on the Saturday. They were great races to watch; fast and frenetic throughout the field but I wouldn’t say wild.
I was watching the first race from Becketts and saw the Daruvala crash which wasn’t really a big one, the car got pitched onto the tyre wall because it dug in during a high speed spin through the gravel and that certainly is not going to happen at Monaco. The spectacular Habsburg crash appears to be a freak accident with a group of cars not noticing the safety car boards, something which can easily happen at a corner like club with a long distance and a wide angle between the track and the marshal’s posts. The marshalling posts are practically on top of the drivers at Monaco, making them far more visible along with the light boards being used, it being an F1 weekend.
I certainly don’t see a specific problem with Eurocup cars getting airborne or the general standard of driving. They would be great around Monaco, although where the organisers would find the paddock space for an additional grid full of cars would be a problem. The teams might have to push the cars all the way from Nice…
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