2015 F1 Powerboat World Championship
|2015 F1 Powerboat World Championship|
The 2015 UIM F1 H2O World Championship was the 32nd season of Formula 1 Powerboat racing. The season consisted of six races, beginning in Doha, Qatar on 14 March 2015, and ending in Sharjah, UAE on 18 December 2015.
Philippe Chiappe, driving for the CTIC China Team, entered the season as defending world champion having won his first title, and the first for a Frenchman, the previous year. Chiappe successfully defended his title, securing enough points at the penultimate round in Abu Dhabi and thus became the series' fourth back-to-back championship winner. In addition, the championship witnessed its first ever female race winner, when Marit Strømøy won the final round at Sharjah, with the occasion attracting international media coverage.
Teams and drivers
Team and driver changes
The 2015 season would see the biggest team and driver changes for some time, as sporting and political decisions upset the balance of recent years. By far the most significant development was the Qatar Team's withdrawal from the sport following a merger between the Qatar Sailing Federation and Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF); the latter of the two bodies having previously run the Qatar F1H2O operation. The team ran a single boat at the opening race on home waters in Doha for Shaun Torrente, with former teammate and triple world champion Alex Carella having already left for bitter rivals Team Abu Dhabi.
Carella had been tempted to switch teams after manoeuvres behind the scenes at Team Abu Dhabi resulted in Guido Cappellini replacing Scott Gillman as the team's technical director. But whilst Torrente won the opening race of the year for the Qatar Team, by June the squad had been shut down, and Torrente instead joined forces with the widely respected offshore outfit Victory Team, who now turned their attention to the inshore scene. At the third race of the year in Porto, Torrente was joined by reigning Class 1 and X-Cat champion Nadir Bin Hendi, making his debut in the series. Initially, both Victory pilots used customer BaBa hulls, but the team were unsatisfied with their performance and looked to source a supply of Moore boats which were being campaigned successfully by the CTIC China team. Moore refused to supply Victory however, preferring to keep exclusivity with their fellow French-based China team. Denied, Victory went and built their own hulls which were ready by the Abu Dhabi GP, where the new self-titled Victory hulls made their debut. It was noted however that the new boats bore somewhat of a resemblance to their Moore counterparts.
At Team Abu Dhabi Carella was initially partnered with Thani Al Qamzi, but on 13 March, the day before the season-opening Qatar GP, Al Qamzi and new team principal Cappellini had a bitter argument over which boat the driver should use. The outcome resulted in Al Qamzi being sacked from the team, and at the eleventh hour was replaced by Italian rookie David Del Pin. After the second round in France however, Del Pin was demoted to reserve driver and Al Qamzi returned to Team Abu Dhabi in time for the third race in Portugal.
Having been replaced by Carella, Ahmed Al Hameli was left on the sidelines but joined up with ousted principal Scott Gillman. Having been sacked, Gillman took his organisation Gillman Racing and renamed it Emirates Team. This forced Cappellini and the rest of the Team Abu Dhabi management to lodge an entirely new entry as Abu Dhabi had been effectively title-sponsoring Gillman Racing previously. Returning to how he began his team in the 1990s prior to Abu Dhabi involvement, Gillman described his new venture as aiming to "nurture Emirati talent". For the first race of the year, with no F1 hull readily available at such short notice, Gillman and Al Hameli had to source an F2 boat – Ivan Brigada's BaBa from the previous year – replacing the smaller capacity F2 engine for an F1-standard one. By the second round of the year, the team had new BaBa hulls ready to race, and alongside Al Hameli, Erik Stark was signed from Team Nautica. Considered one of the sport's brightest prospects, Stark had finished sixth in the 2014 championship, and backed the performance up with a third-place finish in the first race of 2015. Stark was replaced at Team Nautica by Frenchman Christophe Larigot, making his debut in F1, and prior to the French GP, Nautica announced they would be changing their team name to Team EMIC, at the same time switching from racing under the American flag, to the Emirati one.
Brigada's former employers Caudwell Racing did not return for 2015, having folded last year without completing the season. This left Brigada and Slovakia's Tomáš Čermák without drives and ensured that the field returned to being entirely powered by 2.5 litre two stroke Mercury engines.
Reigning champions CTIC China Team retained their line-up of Philippe Chiappe and Xiong Ziwei, and F1 GC Atlantic Team, Mad Croc BaBa Racing and Team Sweden, also all named unchanged line-ups from 2014. Francesco Cantando's Motorglass F1 Team saw a change as Austrian Bernd Enzenhofer joined, whilst Bartek Marszalek skipped the first race in Qatar and rejoined the team from the French GP. France also saw the entry of another new team alongside Victory, with French team Maverick Racing running Cédric Deguisne, who returned to the sport after a ten-year absence. Maverick competed in just the French and Portuguese rounds and did not travel with the rest of the teams for the remaining races outside of Europe.
A provisional calendar of eight races was released by the UIM on 24 January 2015, the largest since 2010 and featuring two races in Europe for the first time since the 2011 season when Portimao and Kiev appeared. Portugal returned after a four-year absence, whilst France appeared on the calendar for the first time since 2007, an eight-year gap. The French race featured as a consequence of Chiappe's title success in 2014. Qatar returned to a single slot having filled in for the cancelled Ukraine round in 2014 with an additional race, whilst the traditional end-of-year double header in the UAE continued at Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. An additional race in China at Shanghai was initially planned alongside regular venue Liuzhou, however this race was later cancelled in August. Another race that was planned and subsequently cancelled was a visit to Thailand, in what would have seen the series return to the country for the first time since 1994. With the two cancellations, the calendar reverted to six races over the course of the year.
|Round||Race Title||Date||Circuit Location||Race Winner||Hull/Engine|
|1||12th Grand Prix of Qatar||14 March||Doha||Shaun Torrente||DAC/Mercury|
|2||19th Grand Prix of France||28 June||Évian-les-Bains||Youssef Al Rubayan||DAC/Mercury|
|3||14th Grand Prix of Portugal||2 August||Porto||Philippe Chiappe||Moore/Mercury|
|4||19th Grand Prix of China||2 October||Liuzhou||Philippe Chiappe||Moore/Mercury|
|5||23rd Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi||11 December||Abu Dhabi||Alex Carella||DAC/Mercury|
|6||16th Grand Prix of Sharjah||18 December||Sharjah||Marit Strømøy||BaBa/Mercury|
Results and standings
Points were awarded to the top 10 classified finishers. A maximum of two boats per team were eligible for points in the teams' championship.
Bold – Pole position
Only boats with results eligible for points counting towards the teams' championship are shown here.
Bold – Pole position
- ""Magnifique" Chiappe Wins 2014 F1 H2O World Title!". F1H2O. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Chiappe Wins Second Straight Title With 2nd Place Finish!". F1H2O. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Marit Stromoy realising a dream after two and half decades". Gulf News. 25 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Norsk kvinne med historisk Formel 1-seier". NVK. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Marit Stromoy, primera mujer en ganar una prueba de la F-1 inshore". Mundo Deportivo. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "Marit, la prima donna a vincere in Formula 1". Gazzetta dello Sport. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- "CTIC Team Testing In Abu Dhabi For 2015 Opener In Doha!". F1H2O. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "2015 – A New Era In F1 H2O Racing On And Off The Water!". F1H2O. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Team Abu Dhabi Switch Driver Line Up – Del Pin In For Al Qemzi". F1H2O. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- "Veteran Al Qamzi Back In Team Abu Dhabi Line-Up!". F1H2O. F1 Powerboat World Championship. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Carella Confirms He Is Off To Join Team Abu Dhabi". F1H2O. 26 February 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Polish Star Bartek Marszalek Returns to F1!". F1H2O. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Emirates Racing Team Adds Sweden's Erik Stark To Line Up". F1H2O. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "Team Nautica Changes Name And Identity Heading To France!". F1H2O. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Cedric Deguisne to Make F1 Comeback in Evian". F1H2O. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Victory Team Debuts Two New Raceboats For F1 H2O!". F1H2O. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "Torrente to Defend Points Lead in Evian With Victory Team". F1H2O. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Nadir Bin Hendi To Make His F1H2O Debut In Porto". F1H2O. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
- "Italian Racing Legend Guido Cappellini Joins Team Abu Dhabi As Technical Director And Coach". F1H2O. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- David Sewell (25 February 2015). "Italian Racing Legend Guido Cappellini Joins Team Abu Dhabi As Technical Director And Coach". Raceboat International. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- David Sewell (10 December 2015). "Spot the difference". Raceboat International. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- John Moore (13 March 2015). "All Italian driver line up for Team Abu Dhabi". Raceboat International. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Arek Rejs (25 March 2015). "Arek Rejs talks Qatar F1 H20". Raceboat International. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- "2015 Calendars". Union Internationale Motonautique. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Porto To Host Grand Prix of Portugal". F1H2O. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- "F1H2O Returns To France And Lovely Evian In June!". F1H2O. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "F1H2O Returns To Shanghai!". F1H2O. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- "UIM F1 H2O BACK FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS". Raceboat International. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- The official website of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship
- The official website of the Union Internationale Motonautique