2014 VGPC Australian Grand Prix
| 2014 VGPC Australian Grand Prix
The 2014 VGPC Australian Grand Prix was a Virtual Grand Prix Championship race that was held on 25 March 2014 in Melbourne. The race was contested over 58 laps and was the first round of the 2014 F1F Virtual Grand Prix Championship.
The race was won by German driver Karl Beckenbauer in his Liverpool Grand Prix team's first ever race. It was also Beckenbauer's first ever win in the series and only his second ever podium. Teammate Adrien Simon had been leading until he was blocked by, and then involved in an incident with, backmarker Gerard Alaniz. Will Hoskins finished in second place for Franklin F1 ahead of his teammate Enrique Ruiz.
Nikolai Milkovich shocked on his race debut by going fastest in the practice session ahead of Enzo Domenicalli. Championship favourites Liverpool Grand Prix started strongly with fourth and seventh for Karl Beckenbauer and Adrien Simon respectively. Meanwhile defending champion Nathaniel Powers struggled down in twentieth place while the top two in last season's constructors championship also endured tough sessions. Franklin could only manage thirteenth and seventeenth while Team 23 - who also struggled in pre-season testing - could only manage sixteenth and nineteenth.
With a chance of rain during Qualifying every driver went straight out to set a lap. With all twenty four cars on track there was a considerable amount of potential for blocking, but there were no complaints during the entirety of the session. Puccio Giodano delivered on pre-season testing promise by going initially fastest but was soon usurped by the champion favourite duo of Adrien Simon and Karl Beckenbauer of Liverpool Grand Prix, who were never bettered and locked out the front row of the grid.
Will Hoskins managed to slot his Franklin into third ahead of Giodano after a poor practice session with teammate Enrique Ruiz securing sixth on the grid to confirm the reigning champions are still very much in the hunt. Last season's runners-up Team 23 didn't share the same success however with Jean Mattson and Elroy Wagner having to settle for twelfth and nineteenth respectively. Meanwhile defending driver's champion Nathaniel Powers had to settle for thirteenth in his new Downton car and was beaten by teammate Marcus Thunder, who qualified seventh.
Peugeot enjoyed a strong result having taken over Meteor Motorsport with fifth and eighth on the grid while Warrior Racing proved to be best of the new teams with a stunning sixteenth and eighteenth on the grid with rookie Michal Kubat beating more experienced teammate James Harding. Force Australia endured a difficult session in contrast however with only a last ditch effort by Felix Beyer keeping the team from locking out the back row.
The race started in wet conditions following a heavy shower prior to the parade lap but initially everyone got away from the grid cleanly. Karl Beckenbauer dived down the inside of teammate and polesitter Adrien Simon at turn one, however Simon kept the lead. Further back in the pack Gerard Alaniz got a great start but ruined it by braking far too late for turn one and hitting Jonas Phipps, losing his front wing in the process. This resulted in Phipps spinning into the wall and also losing his front wing before spinning back onto the track and being hit by James Harding, Felix Beyer and Diego Campos, none of whom could avoid the Lucas Grand Prix car, and all also lost their front wings.
Just a few laps later the majority of driver's came into the pits - including both Liverpool cars - to change from full wets to intermediates. Regi Abott, Nikolai Milkovich and a number of others stayed out hoping the weather would worsen again but pitted when they started to lose time allowing Simon back through into the lead.
Not long after, the leaders encountered traffic, in the form of first lap casualties Phipps and Alaniz. While Phipps moved cleanly aside Alaniz spent an entire lap blocking Simon and eventually blocked him to the extent that Beckenbauer was able to close up enough on his teammate to make a move to take the lead. Later in the lap Alaniz moved over into Simon's path while the Frenchman was making a move and Simon hit the back of Alaniz's car, resulting in the loss of his front wing and the elimination of Alaniz from the race. Will Hoskins narrowly avoided hitting Simon's slow car but Puccio Giodano wasn't so lucky, hitting Simon in a slow corner and losing his own front wing.
While Beckenbauer extended his lead up front, further down the field Hugh Dwyer half spun Michal Kubat in a poorly judged overtake causing the latter to lose two places. Meanwhile defending Champion Nathaniel Powers suffered a disastrous race littered with mistakes that culminated in a retirement after Romano Agostino's suspension failed in front of him and the Italian stopped in the middle of the track. Powers was unable to avoid the stricken Fun car and was also hit from behind by Simon, who couldn't see Agostino had stopped, damaging the rear of Powers' car beyond repair and costing Simon another trip to the pits for another front wing.
As the race wound to a close and the final round of pitstops commenced, Peugeot driver Regi Abott ran out of fuel while running in fourth position. This left teammate Lewis Ellington and Downton driver Marcus Thunder to fight for the position and the battle came to a head on the final lap when Thunder dived down the inside of Ellington at turn three and just tagged the rear of the Peugeot. No position change occurred however and both drivers were lucky to continue with no damage.
At the very front Beckenbauer claimed his and Liverpool's first ever win in the teams first race, with Hoskins and teammate Enrique Ruiz completing the podium. Ellington held fourth ahead of Thunder with Jean Mattson salvaging sixth for Team 23 after a poor pre-season testing. Tumo Kinnumen was seventh ahead of Enzo Domenicalli for Scuderia Rossi, who had a poor race following their impressive testing performance, with Carson Davenport finishing ninth and Nikolai Milkovich taking the final point in his debut race.
Following the blocking and collision with Adrien Simon, as well as for his involvement in the first-corner incident, Gerard Alaniz was called to the stewards to explain his actions. He was later issued with a ten-place grid penalty for the Malaysian Grand Prix for his part in the first corner incident and a further 40-second time penalty to be added to his race time, also in the Malaysian Grand Prix, for blocking and causing a collision with Simon.
Standings after the race
|Drivers' Championship standings
|Constructors' Championship standings
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
2013 Mexican Grand Prix
|F1F Virtual Grand Prix
2014 Malaysian Grand Prix
2013 Australian Grand Prix
|Australian Grand Prix||Next race:|
2015 Australian V-Prix