The Formula Renault with Michelin has been the proving ground of the 2007 and 2008 FIA Formula One World Champions, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton and the 2009 Champion, Dean Smith raced for the same team that Kimi and Lewis did.
2009 saw familiar faces returning from 2008, the 2008 Graduate Cup Champion Dean Stoneman, James Calado, Jordan Oakes who was leading the new Hitech Junior outfit in their first season in Formula Renault.
2009 also saw an influx of youngsters from abroad, with youngsters from the Phillipines, Bahrain, Ukraine, Croatia, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Hungary and the Netherlands. Alongside these debutants, a number of drivers graduated up, including the youngest ever competitor to enter the Championship, 16 year old Alice Powell, making the move from the Ginetta Juniors. Harry Tincknell, managed by former Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish and Will Stevens, a Brawn GP backed driver.
Everything was set for a competitive season, which was proved when Harry Tincknell took pole for his debut race in the CRS Racing car.
Thruxton saw Dean Smith re-join the series with Manor Competition. Having missed the 2 Brands Hatch races due to racing in the Porsche Carerra Cup, Dean had some catching up to do.
Donington Park saw a shift of power towards Dean as he claimed his first win of the season, which he backed up with a second place. Donington also saw Alice Powell break into the top 10 for the first time, and for a while end up as the Graduate Cup race winner in race 1, before Harry Tincknell was re-instated after appeal.
Donington Park saw Dean Smith start off an incredible run of podium finishes as he did not finish out of the top 3 for the remainder of the season, with 8 wins and 7 poles, it was this consistency that won him the title, as James Calado, who took 10 pole positions and 8 race wins also suffered some mechanical failures which denied him the chance to have a bigger say.
Oliver Webb, with 2 wins during the season led the Championship for most of the season but it was his inconsistency which let him down in the end, and for Dean Stoneman, who finished 4th overall, 1 win at Snetterton and another 7 podiums meant that a title challenge was never a real possibility.
The Graduate Cup Champion, Harry Tincknell, finished 5th overall with 323 points (295 for the Graduate Cup) and showed impressive speed straight from the start of the season claiming 4 overall podiums, 1 pole position and 2 fastest race laps.
2010 sees a new model of Formula Renault Car introduced, so next season should be an even more impressive season than 2009.
The top 3 drivers after the 20th and final round:
1. Dean Smith – 491
2. James Calado – 457
3. Oliver Webb – 419
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography