With a minimum of six different winners per year since the creation of the category in 2005, every season has been hotly contested. Following the collective tests this winter, the competitors are now ready to begin a 2015 edition more competitive than ever
This first confrontation is full of promise. Topping the list of contenders, Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) returns to battle for the title with a team he knows well. Fourth last year, the Englishman scored his first triumph at Motorland Aragón. However, he will have to beware of Roberto Merhi (Pons Racing). Third in 2014, the Manor F1 driver is taking on a stout challenge in joining a team whose last podium result dates back to 2011.
Against them, the DAMS team lines up 2014 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winner, Nyck de Vries. The McLaren Young Driver Development Programme protégé will attempt to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors: Robin Frijns, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly, all formidable competitors in their debut season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. At his side, Dean Stoneman returns to a category he first raced in 2010 before putting his career on hold. Runner-up in the GP3 Series, the Englishman is now a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and is now a serious contender in the team that has monopolized the titles since 2013.
Matthieu Vaxiviere (Lotus) will too be a candidate. The Lotus F1 Junior Team driver shined during the off-season in dominating four consecutive test sessions, including three at Motorland Aragón where he also scored a pair of victories in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 two years ago. For their part, Pietro Fantin (International Draco Racing) and Jazeman Jaafar (Fortec Motorsports) have raised their objectives for their third season respectively in the category.
After competing in their maiden Formula Renault 3.5 campaigns, Meindert van Buuren (Lotus) and fellow Dutch driver Beitske Visser (AVF) will want to move up to the sharp end of the order. It is the same objective for Alfonso Celis (AVF) and Nicholas Latifi (Arden Motorsport), who ran on occasion with Tech 1 Racing in 2014. By his side, the French team is putting their confidence in two rookies: Aurélien Panis and Roy Nissany, the sons of Olivier Panis and Chanoch Nissany.
The fastest man at the Jerez tests, Tio Ellinas (Strakka Racing) will be another driver to watch. Among the other debutants worth following their progression will be Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport), Gustav Malja (Strakka Racing) and Bruno Bonifacio (International Draco Racing), all coming straight from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. Philo Paz Armand (Pons Racing) and Sean Gelael (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) will also be contenders for rookie of the year honours. The Indonesian driver will team with the experienced Tom Dillmann (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin) for the returning Carlin team, which has won three titles in the category.
Race 1: Saturday 25 April at 14h30
Race 2: Sunday 26 April at 13h30
World Series by Renault