Formula Winter Series season gets underway in Jerez

2024 racing season is officially underway for GRS Team as Formula Winter Series kicked off at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto.

A new racing season is started! Last weekend, the second ever Formula Winter Season saw the light. This time, GRS Team is committed to the full season. The team was therefore present at the opening meeting, which took place at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto. Weather conditions were crucial throughout the weekend, and we started our season with good feeling.

Our 2024 started with a three-driver line-up. Douwe Dedecker, who will race for the whole season, and in Formula 4 Spanish Championship as well; Lia Block, Williams Drivers Academy member; and McLaren’s Driver Development Programme member Bianca Bustamante raced under our banner in Jerez. The American was facing her single seater racing debut.

First two days were exclusively dedicated to testing. The team gained valuable mileage to wrap up our preparations ahead of the weekend. All riders could lap incident-free, gained on track experience, and started out well. A heavy rainfall on Friday gave them the opportunity to test under tricky wet conditions.

Real action got underway on Saturday. Dedecker was magnificent in Qualifying 1, where he finished in 9th place. Both Bianca and Lia had solid outings in a session held under changing conditions that was also their first official session on this championship.

Fortune was not on the team’s side on Race 1. Douwe climbed up to sixth after an excellent start, but a power-related issue left him unable to score any points. Lia had consistent pace, improving lap after lap, having on-track battles for positions for the first time in a Formula 4 car, and finishing the race. An incident on the opening laps forced Bianca to pit for a new front wing, effectively ending her chances to fight for any significant result.

Changing weather conditions were a key factor on Sunday. On Qualifying 2, Dedecker improved his result from Saturday being eighth. Block also shown improvement qualifying on P33, with Bustamante in 29th.

Race 2 took place under mixed conditions. Douwe fought to reach the Top 10, but a rainfall during the closing laps left him unable to do so. Bianca made a great recovery drive, gaining 11 positions during the race to finish 26th. Once again, Lia had a consistent, incident-free race.

The event was wrapped up with a wet race. Block’s race effectively ended after she had to pit for a front wing replacement. Dedecker was involved in several wheel-to-wheel battles, and he finished the race in P14, with Bianca seeing the chequered flag in 30th position.

The weekend comes to an end and the initial feeling is positive. After an extremely complicated Formula 4 year in 2023, the start to the year was promising. We finish the first event of the year with solid pace, aware of the working path to follow, and determined to convert our efforts into good results. Congratulations to all driver and staff members for their incredible job on track.

We leave Jerez and start a new week headed home. The second round of the season will take place next weekend at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, in Valencia. See you there!