Reigning constructors champions and current championship leaders Tornado Motorsport have announced that their young Finnish protégé Vaino Kimminen will move up to a race seat in 2017.
Whilst many outside the team have expected the move, rumours have emerged that it sent shockwaves through the Tornado motorhome when it was announced to current drivers Sergio Perez and Tomas Gonzalez shortly after last week’s Hungarian Grand Prix had concluded. Perez and Gonzalez currently find themselves as part of a four-way scrap for the drivers title in 2016 and now find themselves also fighting for the one remaining place at the team.
“It’ll be intriguing to see what effect this will have on the performances of Sergio and Tomas.” Wolff was quoted as saying. “The Latin American mindset is a strong one in motor racing. I am confident along with the rest of the team they will raise their performances to an even higher level. As for Vaino, although he hasn’t had the smoothest of FF2M seasons, it’s mainly been little to no fault of his own. The kid is fast. As shown in his testing and practice performances.”
What Wolff may be alluding to is the fact Kimminen has outpaced both Tornado race drivers in every session he’s driven the FF1M car alongside one of the two. It was rumoured last season that Kimminen was very close to a promotion in 2016. However, Wolff is known to have felt that it would have been too big a gamble going into the new era of regulations having two inexperienced drivers and opted therefore for continuity within the team by retaining Gonzalez.
All things considered, some people in the paddock have been expecting this announcement for some time. The recently crowned FF2M Asia champion currently sits 3rd in the main FF2M campaign. 14 points shy of joint leaders Nolan Bryant and Alessandro Farina. The latter also recently being confirmed to make the step up to Gojira with the former being widely rumoured to be making his FF1M debut with another team.