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Old 17 Oct 2001, 17:11 (Ref:162085)   #1
Craig
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Lewis Hamilton To Do FRenault WSeries

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2001
WORDS: 698

MCLAREN STAR CHOOSES FORMULA RENAULT ROUTE

The McLaren Formula One team's karting protégé Lewis Hamilton (Welwyn) has chosen Formula Renault to make his car racing debut and will contest November's UK Winter Championship, starting at Rockingham on 11th November.

Hamilton, aged 16 and the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula Renault in the UK, is one of two 'superstar' names from World Formula Super A - karting's highest category - to be signed up by multiple champion Formula Renault team Manor Motorsport. Dutchman Nelson van der Pol (Wijkenaalburg), aged 19, will also race for the team. They both follow in the tracks of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen who raced to the 2000 Formula Renault UK title for Manor after a successful career in Super A karts.

Hamilton commented: "Formula Renault looks fantastic and I can't wait to get out on the track. I have got my feet on the ground as I know I have a lot to learn and face good drivers with more car racing experience than I have right now."

Also choosing Formula Renault for his first step into car racing is British Formula A karting ace Jamie Green (Leicester), who will contest the winter championship for Fortec Motorsport. Green, aged 19, said: "I was attracted to the formula after seeing how well Heikki Kovalainen was able to do straight from karting this year. I'm still finding the car's limits and the thing that's really taken me by surprise are the braking forces and how deep into corners you can go, but I'm loving every minute of it!"

Hamilton, van der Pol and Green will all come up against Britain's 2000 World Formula A Kart Champion Colin Brown, who raced in the majority of this year's Formula Renault rounds and has competed against all three drivers in karts. Brown will race in the winter championship for the Aztec International team and headed the times in official testing at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on Monday, 15th October. "It's shaping up to be a fascinating battle between us all," said 19-year-old Brown.

Hamilton added: "It will be very interesting to see how Colin, Nelson, Jamie and I all rate against one another once the new boys find our feet."

Snetterton's test began with a washed out circuit in the morning until fine weather dried the track surface and enabled competitors to set quicker lap times in the afternoon. Second fastest, just 2/100ths of a second adrift of Brown, was new Manor signing Alex Buncombe (Taunton). Just 7/100ths behind him in third was local team, North Walsham-based Paston Racing's South African driver Martin Steyn (Norwich). Andrew Thompson (Glasgow), like Buncombe and Steyn with a season's Formula Renault racing under his belt, completed the top four for reigning champion team Motaworld Racing.

Fifth and sixth fastest were two names new to Formula Renault: 17-year-old Brazilian Roberto Streit (Sao Paulo) and Briton Charles Hollings (Harrogate). Streit, a dominant force in Brazil's 'slicks and wings' Formula Chevrolet series, tested for Manor with a view to contesting next year's championship. Formula Ford graduate Hollings, aged 20, impressed for the Saxon International team and will contest the winter championship.

Drivers graduating from Formula Ford also occupied the next four positions. Ryan Sharp (Aberdeen) and Alex Lloyd (Port Soderick) were seventh and eighth fastest, 20-year-old Hunter Abbott (Reading) ninth and Matt Howson (Preston) 10th.

Sharp, a revelation in a one-off Formula Renault race at Donington Park in September, tested for Motaworld. The highly-rated Lloyd, from Port Soderick, Isle of Man - like Hamilton also aged just 16 but older by 10 days - ran with his new team, Falcon Motorsport, winner of two rounds in 2001.

Motaworld's second confirmed winter championship driver, 18-year-old Scot Susie Stoddart (Oban, Argyll), impressed in 11th. Daniel Welch (Fleet), who contested the opening half of the full 2001 season, was 12th in his family-run car. Green, in 13th, headed newly-crowned 17-year-old T-Car champion Ben Reeves (Castle Cary), while Fortec's second confirmed driver, 22-year-old American Dominic Cicero (Vancouver), was next up in 15th.

Motaworld's third signing, 22-year-old Julian Greenhalgh (Bedford), stepping up from the BARC's 'club level' Formula Renault series, was 16th. Seventeenth, having run only in wet conditions in the morning, was Brown's Aztec team-mate Chaz Small (Silverstone).

2001 Formula Renault UK Winter Championship: Registrations, 17th October

No/Driver (NAT) Team
1. Andrew Thompson (GB) Motaworld Racing
2. Julian Greenhalgh (GB) Motaworld Racing
3. Susie Stoddart (GB) Motaworld Racing
4. TBA Motaworld Racing
6. Alex Lloyd (GB) Falcon Motorsport
7. TBA Falcon Motorsport
8. Ferdinand Kool (NL) AR Motorsport
9. TBA AR Motorsport
10. Chaz Small (GB) Aztec International
11. Colin Brown (GB) Aztec International
12. Hayanari Shimoda (JPN) Paston Racing
14. Martin Steyn (SA) Paston Racing
15. Jamie Green (GB) Fortec Motorsport
17. Dominic Cicero (USA) Fortec Motorsport
20. Alex Buncombe (GB) Manor Motorsport
21. Lewis Hamilton (GB) Manor Motorsport
22. Matt Howson (GB) Manor Motorsport
23. Nelson van der Pol (NL) Manor Motorsport
77. Charles Hollings (GB) Saxon International

ENDS
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 17:34 (Ref:162096)   #2
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Rennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Lewis Hamilton to do FRenault W series

Lewis is one of several good young Brit's I have had the opportunity to watched since they were 8 year old Cadet 'mini-karters' In my humble opion he is coming in too young and in the wrong formula. He must be 17 not 16 to be in the Super A factory kart class this year. Even so he's too young and should be adding to his racing experience in that ultra competitive class before turning to cars!...what's the rush Lewis & father Anthony?
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 18:19 (Ref:162114)   #3
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jiggly_puff should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Lewis seems to have been ages progressing from karts........i remember hearing about him years ago now! well lets hope he is as talented at they all make out!
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 18:21 (Ref:162116)   #4
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ghinzani should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridghinzani should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ok whats the odds on Hamilton beating Mike Thackwells 19years and 182 days or whatever it was when he made his F1 debut? He could even be the first 18 year old F1 driver - imagine the marketing value of this kid based on his ethnicity and his age - a marketing mans dream!
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 18:42 (Ref:162133)   #5
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bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!bella is the undisputed Champion of the World!
it'll be interesting to see if lewis hamilton can make the transition from ickle karts to big ugly f.renaults.

big congratulations to charles hollings for getting a seat
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 19:35 (Ref:162180)   #6
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Rennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Lewis Hamilton to do FRenault w series

'Jiggy-puff' Lewis has been karting since he was 8. Won all the main UK junior class stuff, and progressed to the International scene and still won at the tough formula A level (thats usually over 100 drivers from all over the world in elimination heats to qualify for one of the 34 final grid slots) you have to be a good driver to win those and Lewis did and is. Then you progress to the level called Formula Super A This is where a driver meets the worlds top factory professional drivers (20 of the 70 men in this class are all Senna's) Racing these guys is the way to learn how to race! before moving to cars. Thats where Fisichella, Trulli, Alonso, Button, Raikkonen all popped up from after at least 12 years of karting. F3 lads like Courtney, Davidson etc did that route too and it shows! Lewis only did one year! "not enough Lewis"
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Old 17 Oct 2001, 19:40 (Ref:162188)   #7
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Rennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Lewis Hamilton to do FRenault w series

p.s: Colin Brown made the same mistake, great karting career but jumped the Super A class to FRenault, (Raikkonen did do Super A and was a fine runner-up in the European champs series) That's how to do it right!
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Old 21 Oct 2001, 10:06 (Ref:163478)   #8
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Francesca should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
But until this year, who would have guessed that a driver would jump from Formula Renault straight to F1 but Raikkonen did.
I can see Lewis Hamilton breaking all the rules too.
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Old 21 Oct 2001, 16:03 (Ref:163567)   #9
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Simon Pullan should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Reliable sources present at Lewis' first test at Donington told me that he chucked it off a couple of times. It looks like he'll take a bit of time getting used to FRenault. I don't blame him, it's a big step and I'm sure he'll be right on the pace very soon.
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Old 22 Oct 2001, 22:39 (Ref:164172)   #10
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Rennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridRennen should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Lewis Hamilton to do FRenault W Series

Francesca...Raikkonen was older than Lewis and did more factory level FSuperA karting. No real harm in Lewis doing the FR winter series, but McLaren wont put him in an F1 at 18! My guess is he'll do F3 after FR.
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Old 24 Oct 2001, 02:56 (Ref:164698)   #11
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Liz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridLiz should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
No. Seven is now filled by one Josh Beaulieu of Langley, British Columbia, CANADA. Hurrah!
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Old 24 Oct 2001, 14:09 (Ref:164861)   #12
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BootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
This kid is clearly good, but I dare say that his race will actually be an advantage to him in terms of reaching the top. imagine the marketing kudos for Mercedes- you don't see many black guys driving their cars, but that'd change with Lewis in an F1 McLaren. I think the winter series is basically an extended test session for the full series next season, which he'll be hoping to finish top 5 with at least 1 win, and fight for the title in 2003. But I wonder what odds you can get on him reaching F1 by 2006?
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Old 9 Nov 2001, 18:55 (Ref:172635)   #13
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superbird should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
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Lewis is one of several good young Brit's I have had the opportunity to watched since they were 8 year old Cadet 'mini-karters' In my humble opion he is coming in too young and in the wrong formula. He must be 17 not 16 to be in the Super A factory kart class this year. Even so he's too young and should be adding to his racing experience in that ultra competitive class before turning to cars!...what's the rush Lewis & father Anthony?
why don't you wait and see? I personally would love to see him in karts more because I love karting and he's great to watch, but why are people so quick to judge?

Anyway Rennen, the age rule for FSA was changed for 2001. You have to have an "A" license and the FIA have to think you're good enough for them to give you a superlicense. Even before that, World and European champions were usually exempt from having to be 17.
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