Austrian driver Rene Binder will be competing in his second full season in the GP2 series in 2014 having signed a deal with Arden International alongside Andre Negrao. He initially made his debut for the Venezuela GP Lazarus at the back end of the 2012 season before racing for them full time last year.
Binder is happy to be joining Arden for the new season, and has ambitions of finishing on the podium for the first time this year.
“I was contacted by Julian Rouse, their sporting director, while the friendly contact between my manager and Garry Horner (team principal) has definitely has ensured a successful start to our cooperation,” said Binder as he described how the deal to drive for Arden came about. “So we decided to test for them in Abu Dhabi where I was absolutely happy with their car and with their professional approach.
“I have targets but it doesn’t make any sense to put myself under pressure. Racing for Arden you should of course aim for podiums.”
The 22-year-old admits that he is still learning his race craft, having joined GP2 direct from German Formula 3, where he raced between 2010 and 2012, winning three races for Van Amersfoort Racing in his final year in the series, just prior to his GP2 debut at Spa-Francorchamps.
“We must not forget, that I arrived here straight from German Formula 3. So, needless to say, that it is still a challenge to compete in one of the strongest categories in motorsport. I am still learning every day making progress in terms of self-confidence
and technical understanding. It is just so important to put all the small things together but I enjoy this period very much.”
He looked back over his 2013 season where his best finish was a sixth place around the streets of Monte Carlo, but he believes that he had a better season than the results show, although it was very up and down.
”The season started quite well at Sepang, with P7 in qualifying and gap of just four tenths to pole position. I managed to confirm that in the sprint race with P8 and my first point in GP2. We had some bad luck in the following races, but our pace, especially the race pace, was always there what we clearly demonstrated during my debut race weekend in Monaco (P6/P7).
”So far so good for the first half 2014, but the second half was a little bit up and down, as we struggled with the new tyres in Spa and Monza, but finished at least 9th in Singapore.”
With pre-season testing now over, Binder admitted that the new tyre specification for 2014 took a little while to get used to. He was also happy to have Andre Negrao as his team-mate.
“To be honest with you I had some problems with the new tyre specification so we will had to sort out some things and improve my car and driving style for the week in Bahrain. From what we have analysed so far, the tyre warm up procedure seems to be the key to success, considering that our race runs are much better than the qualifying simulations.
“I am happy to have Andre as team-mate and I hope we will be a strong driver combination for Arden. And he seems to be a nice guy, which makes it easier.”
Coming from a country that has provided drivers such as world champions Jochen Rindt and Niki Lauda, plus the likes of Gerhard Berger and Alexander Wurz, it is his uncle Hans who Rene Binder would like to follow into Formula 1, should he make it. Hans Binder raced thirteen times between 1976 and 1978 with a best finish of eighth at the 1977 Dutch Grand Prix.
“Well, it helps to have these strong personalities in the history books of Formula1 and therefore a strong motorsport fan community in our country. It would be a dream coming true to follow my uncle Hans.”
The younger Binder sees the Austrian Grand Prix as his personal highlight for the forthcoming season, as the Spielberg track makes its debut in GP2 this year. He also praises the work Dietrich Mateschitz and the Red Bull company have done to put Austrian motorsport back on the map.
“I can’t wait to race in front of our home crowds at the Austrian Grand Prix. It’s going to be my personal highlight in 2014. The last time I raced in Spielberg was two years ago in Formula 3 and I can only repeat that we are sincerely grateful to Red Bull and Mr.
Mateschitz for what they have done for Austrian motorsport.”