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Deletraz, de Vries, Merhi in New Seats For Belgium

Fitting into new surroundings will be a theme of the Belgian Formula 2 round as three drivers find themselves with different teams.

Monaco Sprint winner Nyck de Vries moves to Racing Engineering to partner Gustav Malja.

The McLaren junior racer has finished on the podium four times since graduating from GP3 and is in eighth in the drivers’ championship with 72 points.

“Perhaps this move is a surprise in the middle of the season, but I am very excited to join Racing Engineering,” he said. “We have been in touch since 2015, and it is great to finally get the chance to work together as they have a very high level of professionalism and a great track record. I hope we will be able to turn around their momentum and score the successes they have always had.”

Louis Deletraz swaps with the Dutchman, going to Rapax, where Roberto Merhi joins him for the weekend.

Deletraz claimed his only point last time out in Hungary’s feature after a post-race penalty. He has completed all-but-one event, outqualified Malja 4-3, but the Swede outperformed him 8-4 in the 12 races they have both finished and scored 27 more points.

Sergio Canamasas – who has been at the team since moving from Trident for Austria – said on Twitter that he is currently having ‘personal issues’ preventing him from competing.

Merhi previously made his F2 debut in Spain for Campos, having a best result of 12th in the sprint contest.

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Sirotkin Becomes Renault Reserve Driver

Former GP2 driver Sergey Sirotkin has become Renault’s reserve driver ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season.

His new role was clarified as their new R.S.17 car was unveiled in London, UK, as the Russian driver appeared on stage at the event alongside full-time race drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer.

The role is an upgrade on his development driver position of 2016, and he is expected to take part in practice sessions throughout the year. SMP Racing, the group that supports young Russian talent, also features on the lower bargeboards of the car.

Sirotkin has spent the last two seasons in GP2, finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship in both years while racing for Rapax and ART Grand Prix. He made 44 starts, winning three times and standing on the podium on 13 occasions.

Managing director Cyril Abiteboul praised Sirotkin as each of their drivers was described by him.

“Stability is important,” he said during their event, which was live-streamed on the team’s website and social media accounts. We are happy to continue the development program with Sergey. After a very good GP2 season, he will continue to focus on his development role with us as reserve driver for the team. He will have more opportunity to run in the car on Fridays.

“What struck us, Nick [Chester] and Alain [Prost], all the team involved, was the professionalism, the attention to detail and also his appetite to be at the factory constantly each time looking at the simulator. He’s focused.”

ACADEMY CHANGES

Renault has also made changes to their academy, dropping Louis Deletraz and Oliver Rowland from their program.

The two drivers comprised a five-driver lineup in 2016, but the team has selected a young foursome to complete their 2017 total.

GP3 driver Jack Aitken and Formula Renault Eurocup’s Sun Yue Yang remain in the program for a sophomore season, with other Eurocup competitors Max Fewtrell and Jarno Opmeer being invited to progress their careers.

Deletraz and Rowland are both competing against each other on the GP2 grid in 2017, racing for Racing Engineering and DAMS respectively.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Deletraz Confirms Full-Time 2017 GP2 Ride

Racing Engineering will spend the winter comfortably knowing their plans for 2017 after confirming that Formula V8 3.5 Series’ 2016 runner-up Louis Deletraz will race in the next GP2 season.

The Renault Sport Academy driver will partner Gustav Malja at the team after being with the team and his new teammate in post-season testing in Abu Dhabi.

It will be his first full season in GP2 after taking part in the final round of the 2016 season in Abu Dhabi for Carlin, failing to finish the feature race before claiming a finish of 17th in the sprint race.

This was followed by three days of testing, finishing in 11th, sixth and 14th at the end of the afternoon sessions at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Deletraz says racing in GP2 is the best place to be to continue learning before his target of reaching Formula One.

“GP2 is where I want to be in 2017 since after the strong season in Formula V8, it’s the natural next step in my career,” Deletraz said.

“It’s the final category before reaching Formula One and getting to F1 is my primary goal. Racing Engineering are a good team and have produced some top results during the last five years.”

Deletraz believes a driver needs a good team to help them with the difficult parts of the series, and that he will have that with Racing Engineering.

“For me, there’s no better option and I am very happy with the choice. As a rookie, I’ll have much to learn during the next season. We all know that the most difficult point in GP2 is learning the Pirelli tires, so it’s very important to have a good team behind you so they can help you as a driver and work well together.”

Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon, the team’s president, is delighted to be able to welcome Louis to the team and is excited about possible success.

“We first evaluated Louis on our simulator in 2015 and were in close contact with him during the 2016 season to have insight with his progress as a racing driver.

“Having tested him in Abu Dhabi during the post-season testing earlier this month, it has allowed us to see how much he was able to learn and mature during the last year, which is very promising keeping in mind that he is only 19-years-old.”

He hopes that Deletraz can become the latest driver from Switzerland to bring success to the team.

“The Swiss drivers that we worked with in the past, like Sebastien Buemi [current Formula E champion], Neel Jani [current World Endurance Champion] and our 2013 GP2 champion Fabio Leimer have all achieved great success. We hope to prolong this connection with Louis.”

Jani took two wins for the team in the first season of the series in 2005, while Buemi raced twice in Spanish Formula Three for the team in the same year.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Deletraz and Carlin Team Up for Abu Dhabi Finale

Formula V8 3.5 Vice Champion and Renault Sport Academy driver Louis Deletraz is racing for Carlin in the GP2 Series finale in Abu Dhabi.

The 19-year-old replaces Marvin Kirchhofer, and partners Sergio Canamasas for the 11th and final round of the 2016 season. Up until now, Kirchhofer is the only person to have piloted the Carlin car in every round, getting the team’s current best finish of 2016 with second in the Monaco sprint race in May.

Deletraz is the son of former Formula One and sportscar driver Jean-Denis, who is known for taking part in three races for Larrousse and Pacific in 1994 and 1995, with his only finish of 15th place coming in the 1995 European Grand Prix.

The Swiss pilot says that he is aiming for a full campaign in the series next season after coming close to winning the Formula V8 3.5 championship in his rookie year. He finished second to former GP2 race winner Tom Dillmann, finishing seven points behind his French rival.

“GP2 is the championship that I want to race in next season so it’s great that I have the opportunity to contest the final race of the season with Carlin,” he said.

“They are a very experienced team and have been successful in GP2 after finishing second in the 2014 championship. That’s something that will benefit me as I start to learn about a completely new racing formula.”

The team’s racing director Trevor Carlin is excited to start working with the racer.

“We’re pleased to have Louis on board for the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

“We’ve watched Louis over the course of the season and he has impressed us with his ability to be challenging for the Formula V8 3.5 title in only his rookie season.”

“Abu Dhabi will be a learning curve for him and no doubt he will take on a lot from the experience of racing in the GP2 car but we’re excited to have him in the cockpit and look forward to working with him.”

The Formula V8 3.5 championship (formerly Formula Renault 3.5) is known for introducing racers into the series, with 2015 champion Oliver Rowland and other former drivers Gustav Malja, Nicholas Latifi, and Sean Gelael all being rookies in GP2 in 2016. Deletraz joins Rowland, Latifi and ART Grand Prix’s Sergey Sirotkin as Renault-affiliated drivers on the track.

Carlin confirmed he would race in the final round, but there has not been an official confirmation over whether he will also take part in the post-season tests on November 30-December 2.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.