Alex returned to the track with the 8th event of the year in the Eurocup Championship held at the Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet in the south of France.
Alex was looking forward to the event but some wretched luck turned it into a difficult weekend which however allowed Alex to demonstrate his skills more than usual.
A fuel pump failure right when Alex was scheduled to leave pit lane to set a qualifying time meant that he didn’t register a time and would therefore start 32nd and last for race 1. Alex was determined to try and make his way up to the points (10th place and above).
By the third last lap Alex was 14th when a safety car bunched the pack up again and then releaed them with one lap to go. During the lap, a car in front of Alex retired which put Alex 13th and he made a passing attempt to get to 12th but narrowly missed out. On the last corner of the race, a very tight corner, a competitor behind Alex bungled his braking and smashed into the back of Alex’s car, eliminating him from the race. An unbelievable effort that delivered no reward!
In Qualifying 2 Alex’s car had some handling issues and Alex managed to qualify only 15th. However, by the second lap of the race he was 10th and moving forward rapidly until a nearly identical incident to race 1 occurred again. Alex retired after limping back to the pits. Very frustrating.
The last few races have certainly been difficult but they have added valuable experience to Alex’s racecraft that we sincerely hope he can continue to refine in the last two events and then put to good use next year. Some good luck must be due soon!
Alex’s positive sequence of results in the Formula Renault Eurocup championship came to an abrupt end in Hungary, the first event of the year with three races. Alex took away no points but still hangs on to 7th place in the championship
Both Alex and his team struggled to find the rhythm they had become accustomed to in the first 4 events of the year. In race one Alex started 12th and after some incidents ahead was 6th at the end of lap 1. Unfortunately an out of control car behind Alex ran into him and forced Alex out with car and tyre damage.
Race 2 was uneventful and saw Alex finish outside the points in 12th and then receive a 10 second penalty for exceeding track limits in the race.
Race 3 saw Alex start well back in 24th after having two of his fast qualifying laps deleted for exceeding track limits. It turned the race into an opportunity to work on different car settings and for Alex to build more experience at the Hungaroring. The final result was a 19th.
It certainly wasn’t the weekend everyone had hoped for but one that will make Alex more determined to bounce back at the Nurburgring.
POINTSCORE POSITION: 7th – 67 points (out of 30 drivers)
Solid results at Monaco have kept Alex the leading first-year competitor driver in the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup series.
The 17 year-old Hobart driver posted a pair of sixth placings in his debut at the legendary Formula 1 street circuit.
Alex’s performance was all the more creditable considering the round’s unique format and his two-position starting grid penalty for the first race.
He raised eyebrows in the Formula 1 pit lane by clocking the second-fastest lap in Thursday’s single all-in practice session. That was followed by fifth of the 30 drivers after Friday’s split-field qualifying session.
In Saturday’s first race he held station throughout the 18 laps on the narrow 3.78km circuit, which is notorious for making overtaking virtually impossible unless the driver ahead makes a mistake.
After the race his seventh placing was upgraded to sixth when the fourth-placed driver received a time penalty for a false start.
Alex’s chances of replicating his Pau pole position for the second Monaco race were stymied by the principality round’s unique format.
Unlike the usual schedule of a qualifying session for each race, Monaco’s second race grid was set according to the Friday qualifying session but with each group on the other side of the track.
Consequently Alex lined up sixth, and with no opportunity to improve during the race he finished in that position, picking up more valuable points for the championship.
He is now in fifth position overall in the Eurocup pointscore after four of 10 rounds, and remains the series’ leading debutant.
Alex was relieved to have racked up points in both Monaco races.
“After being second-fastest in the practice session I was looking forward to the prospect of another chance of getting on the podium,” he said.
“Eurocup was the first practice session for the race meeting, so the track was really slippery. But by Friday there was more grip from the rubber laid down by the Formula 1s and other cars.
“Like the other teams we had to take a guess at car set-up for the different track conditions in qualifying. We got it close but not quite right.
“The Saturday race showed how important it is to qualify at the top of the field at Monaco.
“We’d improved the car’s set-up and I was able to hold my position, but there was no way to overtake.
“With no qualifying session for the Sunday race, and starting sixth, it was all about staying on the track and maintaining position.
“Even though it would have been nice to get a podium this weekend, racing at Monaco is amazing. There’s no other circuit in the world like it!
“Eurocup is incredibly competitive for newcomers, and even tougher here with only one practice session and one qualifying session. There’s no second chance.
“Thanks to Fortec Motorsport and my sponsors Blundstone, RACT, United, Renault Australia and Richardson Devine Marine.”
The 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup continues with round 5 at the Hungaroring on July 1-2.
ALEX PERONI’S 2017 FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP RESULTS
ROUND 4 – MONTE CARLO (MONACO), MAY 25-28
QUALIFYING: 3rd in Group A
RACE 1: Starting position – 7th (2-position grid penalty); Result – 6th
RACE 2: Starting position – 6th; Result – 6th
POINSTCORE POSITION: 5th (67 points) of 30 drivers
Alex Peroni has established himself as a contender for the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup title after a promising performance in the opening round at Monza last weekend
The 17 year-old Hobart driver was among the fastest drivers in Saturday’s first of two races at the legendary Italian racetrack.
He qualified fifth in the 30-strong international field, and held that position in the race until he was outjumped by experienced Belgian Max Defourny following the second of two Safety Cars.
Until then Alex had put up a spirited defence against the 2016 Eurocup third placegetter.
At one point he drove side-by-side on the outside of Defourny around the high-speed Curva Grande, and outbraked him into the Della Roggia Chicane!
Nevertheless he was the highest-placed Eurocup debutant.
Bad luck in qualifying for Sunday’s second race prevented Peroni from repeating the impressive result.
His fastest lap in the 15-minute session was affected by a full course caution for another driver’s incident. Consequently he started the race from 14th position.
An early-race clash with Portuguese Henrique Chaves eliminated both drivers.
Alex is ninth in the Eurocup pointscore despite finishing only one of the two races.
He’s confident that he can be competitive in the remaining nine rounds of the one-make Eurocup series, which has been a stepping-stone to Formula 1 for nearly three decades.
“I’m happy that I showed good pace and came away with a good result in Race 1,” he said.
“I’d hoped for a better starting position for Race 2, but yellow flags at just the wrong time in qualifying was a setback.
“Gaining race positions is always tough in such a competitive series as Eurocup – even more so when you’re trying to move forward from midfield.
“Contact with another car in the race was disappointing, but it’s always a possibility in that situation.
“Now I’m looking forward to the next round at Silverstone in a couple of weeks. I haven’t raced there before, so I’ll need to be on my game right from the start.
“Thanks to Fortec Motorsport and my sponsors Blundstone, RACT, United, Renault Australia and Richardson Devine Marine.”
ALEX PERONI’S 2017 FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP RESULTS
ROUND 1 – MONZA (ITALY), APRIL 22-23
RACE 1: Qualifying – 5th; Result – 6th
RACE 2: Qualifying – 14th; Result – Did not finish (contact on lap 2)
POINSTCORE POSITION: 9th (8 points)
FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP
Eurocup is Renault’s flagship series for its 2-litre openwheeler, which is raced in several Formula Renault national and international series.
The category has been a stepping stone in the Formula 1 careers of Australia’s Daniel Riccardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Kimi Raïkkönen, and past F1 stars Alain Prost and Jacques Laffite.
This year’s 10-round Eurocup series visits the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and classic Formula 1 circuits Monza, Silverstone, Hungaroring, Nurburgring, Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps and Barcelona.
The last three weeks have seen all teams in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup taking part in collective tests at Magny Cours, Paul Ricard – Le Castellet and Nurburgring in preparation for the season start at Monza on the 22-23 April.
The tests involved two days of intensive work at each track with all teams preparing cars and drivers for one of the most competitive years in the Formula Renault 2.0 championship’s history. With 30 drivers and at least 15 capable of winning races, it will be tough.
Alex and his team are pleased with the work they managed to get through. Alex has re-acquainted himself with a racing car and the team has been able to work with Alex to understand his needs and how to extract the best lap times.
While there is still more work to do, particularly in learning the many new tracks, results from the test indicate that come the first race meeting Alex should be a contender, despite the very high level of competition.
Australian teenager Alex Peroni has signed with leading UK team Fortec Motorsport for this year’s Formula Renault Eurocup series.
Peroni, 17, graduates to Eurocup following his victory in last year’s French Formula Renault Monoplace Championship, and a competitive wild card appearance in the 2016 Eurocup finale at the Estoril circuit in Portugal.
Fortec offered him a place in its Eurocup squad after an end-of-season test session with the team at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Peroni is excited at the prospect of racing in Europe’s most competitive development series.
“Ever since I started racing karts as a seven year-old I’ve dreamed of following the drivers I look up to into Formula 1,” he said.
“Daniel Ricciardo raced successfully in Formula Renault on his way to F1, and I hope to do the same.
”Winning the Monoplace Championship last year was incredible, but Eurocup is the next level so I’ll have to work even harder.
“Having tested with Fortec last year, I’m confident that we can achieve great results together.
“Thanks to Blundstone and RACT, who have been fantastic supporters of my racing career.
“Now RACT’s partner, United Petroleum, and Renault Australia have come on board to provide the opportunity to make my dream a reality.”
An indication of Fortec Motorsport’s confidence in Peroni is the attendance of the team’s Formula Renault Eurocup manager, Martin Young, at today’s announcement in Hobart.
“We are delighted that Alex will be racing with Fortec Motorsport this year,” Mr Young said.
“He came to our notice during the Monoplace Championship last year. Winning that series at just 16 years of age was no mean feat.
“Alex’s subsequent performances at the final Eurocup round and our Spa test session showed us that he had the speed to step up to Eurocup.
“He also worked very well with our race engineers, which was equally important.
“Alex is an exciting young driver. We believe he has the ability to be among the Eurocup front runners and challenge for race wins right from the start of the series.”
Peroni will travel to Europe in early-March for pre-season testing at Magny Cours (France), Paul Ricard (France) and Nurburgring (Germany). The 2017 Eurocup series begins on April 21-23 at Monza in Italy.
2017 FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP SCHEDULE
1. April 21-23 Monza, Italy
2. May 12-14 Silverstone, Great Britain
3. May 19-21 Pau, France
4. May 26-28 Monte Carlo, Monaco
5. June 30-July 2 Hungaroring, Hungary
6. July 14-16 Nurbürgring, Germany
7. July 21-23 Red Bull Ring, Austria
8. August 25-27 Paul Ricard, France
9. September 22-24 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
10. October 27-29 Barcelona, Spain
ALEX PERONI PROFILE
DATE OF BIRTH: November 27, 1999
RESIDENCE: Hobart, Tasmania
RESIDENCE DURING EUROCUP: Daventry, UK
MOTOSPORT CAREER: 2007-2014 karts (numerous race and series wins), 2015 Italian Formula 4 Championship (14th), 2016 French Formula Renault Monoplace Challenge (1st)
It’s been a great summer break for Alex back in Tasmania catching up with family, friends and supporters and doing a bit of part-time work at Fish Frenzy restaurant.
Things will quickly start to ramp up from here as fundraising work is completed and Alex prepares for the busy year ahead. The plan is to wrap up the fundraising by the end of February and then head back to Europe in March ready for pre-season testing in France (Magny Cours and Paul Ricard).
This year Alex will be competing in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship which comprises 10 rounds at some of the best race tracks in the world. The first round kicks off at Monza in Italy on 21 – 23 April.
Things then go up a gear and the program in May is crammed with races at Silverstone in the UK, the Pau street circuit in France followed by Monaco in conjunction with the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The full program is as follows –
Monza April 21st-23rd (2 races)
Silverstone May 12th-14th (2 races)
Pau May 19th-21st (2 races)
Monaco May 26th-28th (2 races)
Hungaroring June 30th, July 1st-2nd (3 races)
Nurburgring July 14th-16th (2 races)
Red Bull Ring July 21st-23th (2 races)
Le Castellet Aug 25th-27th (2 races)
Spa Sept 22nd-24th (3 races)
Barcelona Oct 27th-29th (3 races)
There will be formal announcements in due course concerning who Alex will be driving with this year, major partners and sponsors.
Finally, a special thanks to Collins SBA (Michael, Bruno and team) who helped set up a company to manage Alex’s racing career. Having a formal company also makes it easy for anyone wanting to make a donation (no matter how small) to do so by direct deposit to –
Teenage Tasmanian car racer Alex Peroni is the 2016 Monoplace Challenge champion after clean-sweeping the final round in Portugal.
Although the 16 year-old Hobart driver only needed a minor placing in one of the round’s three races to clinch the European series for Formula Renault openwheelers, he won them all!
Alex dominated the round at the 4.2km circuit, which was wet to varying degrees throughout the round.
He began by clocking the fastest qualifying lap on Friday by nearly four tenths of a second.
In Saturday’s first race he established a three-second gap on the first lap, added another two seconds over the next two laps, and took the chequered flag 4.121 seconds clear of Dutch driver Rinus van Kalmthout.
That sealed the title for Alex. His lead over the only other contender going into the finale, Frenchman Gilles Heriau, was an unassailable 205 points with only 120 available from the remaining two races.
His only anxious moment came after the race had finished, when officials investigated a possible jumped start. But the results remained unchanged, giving him the race and series victory.
Later on Saturday, Alex went further ahead by winning a crash-shortened second race.
Starting from second on the grid, he overtook pole sitter van Kalmthout on the first lap. He’d opened a 4.5-second lead over Frenchman Antoine Robert after three laps when a midfield pile-up at turn 1 brought out the red flags.
On Sunday Alex completed his second clean-sweep in the seven-round series with a crushing 14-second win, his 14th of the 21 races in this year’s Monoplace Challenge.
His final points margin over Heriau, after drivers’ two worst races were deducted from their scores, was 209 points. Third-placed Ukrainian Alexey Chuklin was a further 49 points back.
An elated Alex described what it was like to win an international car racing series in only his second season out of karts.
“I felt confident going into race 1, because the track was wet like it was when I raced here last week in the Formula Renault Eurocup round,” he said.
“I got a good start, and was able to build a lead in the first two laps that I could manage for the rest of the race.
“It was a great way to clinch the championship!
“The track was even wetter in race 2, and I wanted to start well so that I could have a clear track ahead. I managed to pass van Kalmthout into the first corner and open up a gap.
“It was very satisfying to win in such difficult track conditions.
“Race 3 was amazing. The track was damp, but everyone had to use smooth dry weather tyres instead of treaded wet weather ones.
“Even though I was comfortable with the way the car handled the conditions, I was surprised that I could drive away from the others.
“It was great to finish the series with a win!
“Thanks to Stefano Turchetto and everyone at TS Corse for their perfect car preparation and technical support throughout the series.
“It’s incredible what we have achieved together, and I’ll always be grateful to them.
“I’m also very grateful to my parents and my Tasmanian sponsors who made this possible.”
Before returning to Australia, Peroni will test with the Fortec Motorsport team at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Belgium on Monday.
The test is part of his plan to contest next year’s Eurocup, the premier Formula Renault race series that launched the careers of several F1 stars, including Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo.
2016 MONOPLACE CHALLENGE FINAL ROUND – ESTORIL, PORTUGAL
1.Alex Peroni (AUS) 941
2.Gilles Heriau (FRA) 732
3.Alexey Chuklin (UKR) 683
* corrected points (worst 2 races deducted), subject to official confirmation.
Even though Alex’s outright third place in race 1 was subsequently changed to fourth, he made it into third on the Rookies podium.
[Renault Sport photo]
A fourth place in his first Formula Renault Eurocup race at Estoril has exceeded Alex’s expectations.
The 16 year-old Hobart driver was initially upgraded to the race 1 podium when third-place finisher Robert Shwartzman was penalised for overtaking under yellow flags, but the original finishing order was restored later after the Russian driver’s penalty was rescinded.
Alex’s placing among the other rookies in the race was also adjusted from second to third after Schwartzman’s reinstatement.
On a damp track, and with an injured right hand after an incident during Friday’s first practice session, Alex finished the opening race 10 places higher than he started.
Unfortunately the wrong car set-up for the constantly changing track conditions during the weekend prevented him from figuring in the race 2 results.
Nevertheless, Alex made the most of his wildcard entry at the 2016 Eurocup finale.
He startled the series regulars on Friday by clocking the fourth fastest lap in the first practice session.
But he was unable to post a competitive time in the second session due to a hand injury, suffered in a minor collision with another car in the first session.
Although damage to Alex’s car was minimal, his right hand was cut and bruised when the steering wheel whipped around suddenly.
Consequently he could only complete several slow laps in the second practice session, costing him valuable track time in his first appearance at the former Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit.
On Saturday he ignored the pain to qualify 14th for the first race, although he was unlucky with the changing track conditions.
Early in the session he was sixth fastest when the track was wet, but he just missed a brief period of dry running when other drivers had changed to slick tyres.
He was bumped down the order as a result.
In the race, aggressive driving paid dividends, and with incidents taking out some of the front runners he ascended the order rapidly to claim almost a podium result.
It looked like he’d have to repeat his Saturday race comeback in Sunday’s second heat, after his eighth fastest time in the second qualifying session was scrubbed for a pit lane violation.
But any chance of another brilliant recovery drive from 12th on the grid disappeared when a gamble on car set-up for the drying track backfired.
He struggled for tyre grip throughout the race, and finished a lowly 18th.
Peroni had mixed emotions after sampling the premier Formula Renault series, which has been a stepping stone to Formula 1 for Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and others.
“I was really happy with race 1, especially after not being able to do any quick laps in the second practice session. It was a lot better result than I’d expected for my first Eurocup race!
“But I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to do anything in the second race. We thought that a dry set up would work as the track dried, but it didn’t.
“I fought as hard as I could, but it was all I could do to keep the car on the track.
“The best part of this weekend was knowing that I can be competitive at Eurocup level.
“It’s a step up from the Monoplace Challenge series that I’ve been racing in this year, but when you’re against tougher competition you just push yourself harder.
“I’m really looking forward to participating in the Eurocup 2017 Rookie Test here on Tuesday!
“Thanks as always to my sponsors and supporters for this fantastic opportunity, and to TS Corse for preparing the car.”
2016 FORMULA RENAULT 2.0 EUROCUP ROUND 7, OCTOBER 22-23 (ESTORIL, PORTUGAL)
ALEX PERONI’S RESULTS
Qualifying for race 1: 14th
Race 1: 4th
Qualifying for race 2: 12th (8th before pit lane infringement)
Race 2: 18th
ALEX PERONI’S CALENDAR
October 26 – Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup 2017 Rookies Test (Estoril, Portugal)
November 4/5/6 – Monoplace Challenge final round (Estoril, Portugal)
Alex Peroni’s website
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup website
Monoplace Challenge website
Piero Peroni 0407 334 020 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Quinn 0418 123 282 email@example.com
17 year old Racing Driver from Tasmania, Australia