“FIA F3: Raising the dust at the Norisring”

It doesn’t take too long for the plumes to disperse unevenly in the warm German air at the Norisring.

This simple street circuit, surrounding a sinister house amidst a dark history, forms a tense competitive layout.

It’s fast. With only five real corners and a couple of straights, there appears to be not too much to this track.

At approximately 49-50 seconds per lap, the gap in the field is small indeed. The margin for error is barely present – the slightest of mistakes will lead to a significant loss of ground – or worse.

Beyond that, difficulties can eat away at confidence. Through the chicane leading onto the back straight, the differences in confidence can be very telling. On entry, those with daring pitch their Dallara’s hard to the right, merely shadowing the barrier as they do so, before releasing onto a short chute to the left-handed exit.
The decisive ones run close to the Armco, holding speed and gaining time, but running risk of clouting the outer wall. Those who are tentative or nervous in their approach are, at best, a nuisance and at worse crash fodder – an accident waiting to happen.

Zandvoort Masters winner Felix Rosenqvist headed the firs practice session and of Raffaele Marciello, Alex Lynn and Dennis van de Laar.
The slippery nature of the circuit almost caught several drivers unaware, as the exits of each turn proved a wayward adventure. Only Jann Mardenborough suffered a spin of any consequence at the exit of the chicane; however the Briton piton for a brief check up before returning to the track.

Over at the first turn, drivers appear to spend an inordinate amount of time either outbraking themselves and allowing their tyres and brakes to screech, while others meekly approach the tight hairpin, braking early and turning in limply.
In a sense, one can see racing minds developing and shaping respective weekends. Some spend their practice taking a tight line into the bend, while hugging the high kerb and closing off any chance of a rearguard attack; however this merely serves to punish ones exit.
Alternatively, a driver might take a wider, carrying more speed through the turn, although the risk of a being taken is greater, especially for those who see themselves as opportunists.

Daniil Kvyat made the most of the second session, topping the sheets just 0.001s clear of Carlin teammate harry Tincknell. Raffaele Marciello – who missed the opening 20 minutes due to complex setup changes – ended the practice in 3rd spot ahead of Tom Blomqvist, Sven Muller and Jordan King. Guest driver Alexander Sims made it to 7th spot for T-Sport in the first of two outings for the team.
The likes of Sven Muller and Lucas Wolf appears to specialise to outbraking the hairpin, as grip refuses to generate in the Hankook tyres. Meanwhile Andre Rudersdorf seems to make an art form of going off, having taken to the run off six times during FP2.

Alas, there are some whose names will now drop from the F3 conversation. Josh Hill quit motorsport for a music career during the week, Will Buller has stepped out of the European championship to concentrate on the British Series and some World Series by Renault rounds, while Mans Grenhagen is a no show for van Amersfoort having run into some funding difficulties.

Realistically there is no right way to tackle the Norisring – just the quick way and such is the nature of this bumpy animal that may be totally driver dependent.

2013 FIA European F3 championship (Rd 6, Free Practice 1)
Pos Driver              Team/Car                        Time     Gap    Laps
 1. Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.549s           33
 2. Raffaele Marciello  Prema Dallara-Merc              49.584s  +0.035s  32
 3. Alex Lynn           Prema Dallara-Merc              49.638s  +0.089s  37
 4. Dennis van de Laar  Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       49.650s  +0.101s  41
 5. Sven Muller         Ma-con Dallara-VW               49.693s  +0.144s  36
 6. Harry Tincknell     Carlin Dallara-VW               49.739s  +0.190s  32
 7. Michael Lewis       Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.783s  +0.234s  38
 8. Tom Blomqvist       Eurointernational Dallara-Merc  49.814s  +0.265s  31
 9. Lucas Auer          Prema Dallara-Merc              49.836s  +0.287s  30
10. Daniil Kvyat        Carlin Dallara-VW               49.861s  +0.312s  34
11. Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW               49.902s  +0.353s  32
12. Eddie Cheever       Prema Dallara-Merc              49.938s  +0.389s  37
13. Alexander Sims      T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          49.947s  +0.398s  37
14. Pipo Derani         Fortec Dallara-Merc             49.953s  +0.404s  19
15. Antonio Giovinazzi  Double R Dallara-Merc           49.977s  +0.428s  34
16. Jann Mardenborough  Carlin Dallara-VW               49.981s  +0.432s  36
17. Lucas Wolf          URD Dallara-Merc                49.984s  +0.435s  34
18. Nicholas Latifi     Carlin Dallara-VW               50.044s  +0.495s  37
19. Nick Cassidy        EuroInternational Dallara-Merc  50.057s  +0.508s  30
20. Sandro Zeller       Zeller Dallara-Merc             50.161s  +0.612s  43
21. Andre Rudersdorf    Ma-con Dallara-VW               50.242s  +0.693s  40
22. Felix Serralles     Fortec Dallara-Merc             50.247s  +0.698s  27
23. Spike Goddard       T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          50.333s  +0.784s  33
24. Sean Gelael         Double R Dallara-Merc           50.369s  +0.820s  38
25. Mitchell Gilbert    Mucke Dallara-Merc              50.438s  +0.889s  35
26. Roy Nissany         Mucke Dallara-Merc              50.447s  +0.898s  40
27. Tatiana Calderon    Double R Dallara-Merc           50.964s  +1.415s  34
28. Michela Cerruti     Ferraris Dallara-Merc                              2

2013 FIA European F3 championship (Rd 6, Free Practice 2)
Pos Driver              Team/Car                        Time     Gap    Laps
 1. Daniil Kvyat        Carlin Dallara-VW               49.158s           33
 2. Harry Tincknell     Carlin Dallara-VW               49.159s  +0.001s  31
 3. Raffaele Marciello  Prema Dallara-Merc              49.218s  +0.060s  21
 4. Tom Blomqvist       Eurointernational Dallara-Merc  49.246s  +0.088s  28
 5. Sven Muller         Ma-con Dallara-VW               49.253s  +0.095s  38
 6. Jordan King         Carlin Dallara-VW               49.254s  +0.096s  42
 7. Alexander Sims      T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          49.269s  +0.111s  31
 8. Alex Lynn           Prema Dallara-Merc              49.304s  +0.146s  31
 9. Felix Rosenqvist    Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.324s  +0.166s  31
10. Felix Serralles     Fortec Dallara-Merc             49.379s  +0.221s  39
11. Nicholas Latifi     Carlin Dallara-VW               49.417s  +0.259s  37
12. Michael Lewis       Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.419s  +0.261s  31
13. Pipo Derani         Fortec Dallara-Merc             49.423s  +0.265s  37
14. Jann Mardenborough  Carlin Dallara-VW               49.424s  +0.266s  35
15. Lucas Wolf          URD Dallara-Merc                49.470s  +0.312s  40
16. Lucas Auer          Prema Dallara-Merc              49.517s  +0.359s  33
17. Antonio Giovinazzi  Double R Dallara-Merc           49.583s  +0.425s  34
18. Dennis van de Laar  Van Amersfoort Dallara-VW       49.603s  +0.445s  35
19. Andre Rudersdorf    Ma-con Dallara-VW               49.723s  +0.565s  41
20. Roy Nissany         Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.742s  +0.584s  36
21. Eddie Cheever       Prema Dallara-Merc              49.752s  +0.594s  33
22. Nick Cassidy        EuroInternational Dallara-Merc  49.838s  +0.680s  24
23. Sandro Zeller       Zeller Dallara-Merc             49.861s  +0.703s  29
24. Sean Gelael         Double R Dallara-Merc           49.892s  +0.734s  37
25. Mitchell Gilbert    Mucke Dallara-Merc              49.907s  +0.749s  24
26. Tatiana Calderon    Double R Dallara-Merc           50.118s  +0.960s  36
27. Spike Goddard       T-Sport Dallara-Nissan          50.315s  +1.157s  30
28. Michela Cerruti     Ferraris Dallara-Merc           50.483s  +1.325s  37

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