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Formula One Open Wheel

Gelael Given Toro Rosso Practice Opportunities

Three drivers have already been given time in cars during Formula 1 practices in 2017, but another will join them in half of the remaining events.

Arden Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael will take part in four first practice sessions in the last eight races for Toro Rosso.

His period in the STR12 will begin at Singapore before continuing at the Malaysia, United States and Mexican Grands Prix.

Gelael has already been involved in two days of testing for the team as part of the sport’s rules over allowing young drivers – those with no more than two Grand Prix starts – a chance to gain mileage.

He competed on day one of the two-day Bahrain tests after the race in the country and was eighth overall with a time of 1m33.885s after 78 laps, 2.527s off the best time set by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

A second opportunity came in the session after the Hungarian event, again competing on the first day for 101 laps, setting a 1m20.341s, 2.595s behind F2 rival Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.

Team principal Franz Tost described how positive Gelael’s role was to the team.

“During the tests in Bahrain and Budapest Sean performed very well, helping the team in a very professional way, with a mature approach to the complex task of providing engineers with useful feedback,” Tost said. “Everyone within the team was impressed by his performance, his technical understanding, and his commitment.”

It is not currently confirmed which of regular drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat will step aside from their seats at each round.

A chance to practice for the Italian team is usually rare, with Kvyat and Max Verstappen’s appearances in 2013 and 2014 being indications of a future drive.

Gelael currently sits 20th in the F2 drivers’ championship after 16 races with three points.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

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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.

Categories
F2 Open Wheel

Gelael Joins Toro Rosso as Test Driver

Red Bull shocked everybody with the new name joining their family this season.

Arden F2 racer Sean Gelael has joined Toro Rosso as a test driver for three in-season test sessions during the year.

His first test is scheduled to begin in Bahrain on April 18-19, before a visit to Hungary on August 1-2 ahead of the final sessions in Abu Dhabi on November 28-29. He is already set to race on each of these circuits with his team in the junior series just days before his time with the Italian team.

The Indonesian visited its factory in Faenza to take part in a seat fitting to find a perfect position for its STR12 machine.

Gelael is the third young driver available to the team, with Red Bull junior Niko Kari already involved in a test role for the team, while Pierre Gasly currently tests for Red Bull itself. Gasly competed in similar in-season testing at Silverstone in 2016.

This is the latest step in his development as a driver after making 31 starts in GP2 between 2015 and 2016, completing his first full season in 2016 with Campos Racing. He stood on the podium at the Austrian round of the championship last July after finishing second at its feature race.

He is set to become just the second driver from his country to take part in the sport after Rio Haryanto drove for Manor in 11 races of the 2016 campaign.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @PatersonCameron

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.

Categories
F2 Open Wheel

Teams Present Liveries Before Start of F2 Testing

Some teams have released the designs for their cars ahead of the start of the first Formula 2 testing session.

Arden, Prema and MP Motorsport have all shown their latest colors to the world ahead of the opening session of the new F2 championship on March 13 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Reigning series’ champions Prema will use an all-red design for 2017 with Ferrari Driver Academy logos on the cars of their drivers Antonio Fuoco and Charles Leclerc.

It is the first use of a more traditional team color for its sophomore season in the series after backing from Red Bull and Jagonya Ayam dictated a blue and yellow car for former drivers Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi in 2016.

Arden’s car design is dictated by sponsorship, with Jagonya Ayam’s yellow colors being used to support their drivers, Sean Gelael and Norman Nato. This design is incredibly similar to that of Campos – Gelael’s former team – from last year.

MP is using a design with minimal changes compared to 2016, sticking with a red and white design, with red circles on the front wing and engine cover replacing the red squares from last season. Drivers Jordan King and Sergio

Drivers Jordan King and Sergio Sette Camara have been given the task of producing points-scoring finishes throughout the season in their new car.

Every team on the F2 grid is using the Dallara GP2-11 chassis for the first series of the new championship and the seventh season of an F1 feeder series in 2017.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @PatersonCameron

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.

Categories
F2 Open Wheel

Arden Confirms Gelael and Nato

Arden has confirmed Sean Gelael and Norman Nato as their driver line-up for the 2017 GP2 season along with having Gelael’sPertamina backers as their title sponsor.

Former race winner Nato will pilot their no. 20 car, with Gelael piloting their no. 21 machine. Gelael already has some knowledge of the team having driven for them during all three days of post-season testing in Abu Dhabi last December, while Nato did not appear during testing for any team.

The Pertamina Arden selection is the first line-up to be announced with two drivers with experience of GP2, with both drivers having stood on the podium during the last season of racing.

Nato will enter his third full season of racing in the category after starting his career with Arden in 2015 before moving to Racing Engineering last season. He has completed 43 races, with a best result of first place in the 2016 feature race in Spain and sprint race in Italy.

The Frenchman finished in fifth place in the standings last year with 136 points, finishing ahead of team-mate Jordan King, and has never failed to outscore his rival during the course of a season.

Gelael is preparing for his second full season in GP2, after making nine starts for Carlin in 2015 and completing a full 22-race season with Campos Racing in 2016. He has made 31 starts, claiming his best finish in last year’s Austrian feature race where he finished second in a Campos 1-2 with former team-mate Mitch Evans.

The Indonesian finished in 15th place last season with 24 points, 66 less than Evans and was outscored by team-mates Julian Leal and Dean Stoneman during his races in the 2015 campaign.

Current Confirmed 2017 GP2 Series Grid (TBA = To Be Announced):

Prema Racing: #1 Charles Leclerc, #2 Antonio Fuoco

Racing Engineering: #3 Louis Deletraz, #4 Gustav Malja

Russian Time: #5 TBA, #6 TBA

ART Grand Prix: #7 TBA, #8 TBA

DAMS: #9 TBA, #10 TBA

Campos Racing: #11 TBA, #12 TBA

MP Motorsport: #14 TBA, #15 Sergio SetteCamara

Trident: #16 TBA, #17 TBA

Rapax: #18 TBA, #19 TBA

Pertamina Arden: #20 Norman Nato, #21 Sean Gelael

Hilmer Motorsport (TBA): #22 TBA, #23 TBA

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.