Plus One Kingfisher Racing
Plus One Kingfisher Racing, also known as either Kingfisher or Plus One, are a motor racing team owned by Michael Alexander and the Plus One Group that currently competes in the F1 Rejects World Race Series. Plus One involvement came during the 2016 Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series season, where Alexander was taken seriously ill and called on good friend and Plus One CEO Luke Knight to run the team during his departure. Upon Alexander's return to health towards the latter half of the season, the Plus One Group acquired a 49% stake in the team shortly after the 2016 F1RWRS Mexican Grand Prix to cement a joint-running of the team between the two parties.
The team has seen some success in F1RWRS, with the best finish to date a 3rd place finish at the 2015 F1RWRS British Grand Prix courtesy of David Neuberg. Prior to 2015, the team was known as Mitie-Aviation Racing.
- 1 Formula 3
- 2 F1RWRS
- 2.1 2014 SEASON
- 2.2 2015 SEASON
- 3 Comprehensive Table of Results
Early Years (2009-2011
The team was founded in 2009 after Mr.Alexander, a board member with Mitie Aviation, decided to finance his own team, with the help from his company. The team are based in Sevenoaks, Kent. The cars are coloured blue and white across the whole bodywork, with a black front and rear wing. Mitie Aviation are obviously the main sponsor, as they fund 80% of the team. Other sponsors include Playstation, Eurotunnel, Nèscafe and Adidas. In the teams first year in F3, they used a two-year old Zetec engine to reasonable effect. Points at round three (9th), round nine (8th) and a double-point finish at the final round (8th & 10th) saw the team claim a respectable 9 points and 11th in the final standings.
2010 proved to be another solid year, although several sponsors left throughout the year, leaving the cars virtually brandless at seasons end. Rounds four and five proved the only highlights as Irish driver Shaemus O'Dalliran claimed an excellent 4th at Silverstone before taking a marvellous 3rd on the grid at Brands Hatch. Unfortunately, gearbox failure late in the race robbed the team of a certain podium. The team ended the season with 14 points, lying 8th in the standings.
In 2011, the team lost O'Dalliran to GP2, so resigned themselves with two young drivers with little experience. Mickey Davis took the occasion well, qualifying for all the races and scoring points at Silverstone and Oulton Park, with the 6th place at Silverstone the best result. Team-mate Simon Chadwell fared poorly though, only making the grid in two of the first nine races. In both the races he started, a crash at Snetterton and a 13th place at Brands Hatch forced the team to drop him early. Replacement driver, Italian Vincent Da Setti, fared little better, qualifying only the once in the final race, finishing two laps down in 16th.
Triumph and Tragedy (2012)
2012 showed an upturn in fortunes after Mitie Aviation increased their stake in the team to 80%. This led to the purchase of a brand new Lola chassis and Zytek engine. Along with a brand new factory in Sevenoaks, the team set themselves a target of podiums early on. GP2 team SuperNova lent their reserve driver Nicolai Drubovnik for the season, bringing valuable experience and technical nous. The season started promising enough, a point finish at Silverstone (6th) was followed by the elusive podium at Snetterton at round three. This was also achieved by Dubrovnik. The second car was left vacant for the first four rounds, until French F3 star Ludovik Gistrand took over. The team continued to improve as the season went on. A 4th by Gistrand at Brands Hatch was followed by another 3rd from Dubrovnik at Thruxton. By round seven, midway through the year, Dubrovnik was in 4th place whilst the team were sitting in an excellent 3rd. But tragedy was just around the corner.
Two days before round ten, Dubrovnik was involved in a fatal car crash whilst travelling back from the factory late on Wednesday night. He was pronounced dead at Sevenoaks Hospital, with internal bleeding to cause. This rocked the team to the core. Not only had they lost their best-ever driver, but also a good friend to many of the staff. The team raced on that weekend, with Gistrand driving the sole MA-Racing car. The team removed all sponsors for the weekend and painted the car black as a mark of respect. Gistrand however, failed to reach the finish, engine failure after just 7 laps. The team quickly filled the vacant seat with another Italian pay-driver, Antonio Razzia.
The next three rounds passed quickly, Gistrand scoring a 10th at Oulton Park in round ten. With two races remaining, it was clear the tragic death of Dubrovnic had a significant effect on the teams performances. Razzia failed to qualify for all three races, and was promptly sacked before Silverstone. The second car remained empty for the final two rounds, as the team wanted the season to end as quickly as possible. But Silverstone proved to be a unique event for MA-Racing. Firstly, a wet qualifying threw up a topsy-turvy grid, with many of the front-runners outside the top 10. Gistrand however, was 4th. Dry weather on race day meant the faster cars would eventually make their way through the field so it was crucial Gistrand got a good start. That he did, up to 2nd by the end of lap 1. For lap after lap, Gistrand followed the TechSport car of Davide Strallas, the gap never growing over a second. With just 4 laps remaining, the TechSport car gave up, blowing it's engine and pulling off the track. MA-Racing could hardly believe it. Gistrand slowed the pace down in the final laps, to take a very emotional win. It was his and the team's first win in F3. As a mark of respect, Gistrand took the Russian flag to the podium, remembering his fallen team-mate. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
The final race at Brands Hatch proved to be an anti-climax for the team. Problems in qualifying hindered Gistrand's progress and he only managed 5 laps on his was to 26th and last on the grid. Problems arose again in the warm-up with the gearbox failing to select first gear and the season was over before the first lap. All-in-all, the season promised so much but delivered nothing but heartache for everyone. The win at Silverstone proved the team still had the pace to compete at the front.
A New Beginning (2013-Present)
For 2013, the team cut back slightly in development and used last years engine and chassis combination. The drivers were Stephen Mackintosh and Matthias Valsattis, younger brother of Formula 1 star Masta. Stephen Mackintosh proved to be an excellent signing, as a win at Thruxton in round two was quickly followed by back-to-back wins at Brands Hatch and Snetterton. By round six, he had amassed nearly 100 points and led the Championship. Valsattis meanwhile, struggled at first, failing to qualify for the first race. But his form and confidence improved gradually. Sadly for the team, Steven Mackintosh injured himself and missed several races, effectively killing off his title chances. Matthias rose to the occasion well though, helping the team with some good point finishes. Before the season was over though, rumours started circulating that Mitie Aviation might be leaving the series and moving to the F1RWRS for 2014. Before the final race of the year at Silverstone, Mr.Alexander confirmed the teams interest in moving to F1RWRS.
Mitie Aviation Racing were formally accepted into the RWRS two weeks before the first test, quickly buying a chassis and engine from the RWRS database. The team announced Matthias Valsattis will be joined by reserve driver Alexy Pchelintsev, for the beginning of the year at least. The team were put into pre-qualifying, and approached their debut race with excitement and anticipation. But manager Mr.Alexander was quick to point out the mammoth task the team face to make the grid. "We have to remain optimistic at all times, it's going to be difficult to make the grid. There's a lot of established teams around us."
Early races prove uphill struggle
The first race of the 2014 season took place as the Tasman Grand Prix in Australia. The team were confident of posting competitive times. As it turned out, Valsattis and Pchelintsev ended the pre-qualifying session in a disappointing 11th and 12th place, around 4.5 seconds off the fastest times. At the second race, held at the fantastic Mount Panorama circuit in Australia, Valsattis showed a slight improvement to be just 2.3 of the pace, but still down in the midfield in 10th place. Alexey Pchelintsev was a further second behind Matthias, finishing the day in 13th. Clearly, the team were never going to be world beaters straightaway, but the team were still disapponted to make no obvious improvement without changes.
Driver changes and Pre-Qualifying Cup
Before the third race at the Nelson Piquet International Circuit in Brazil, Mr. Alexander announced Pchelintsev was being dropped and Steven Mackintosh would make a dramatic return, less than 4 months after leaving the team after the F3 season. Mackintosh had remained with the team as an official tester, but jumped at the chance to help MA Racing move up the pre-qualifying field. Whilst Valsattis struggled with understeer and gearbox issues to end up 13th, Mackintosh put the car into a morale-boosting 7th place, less than 1.7 seconds away from the fastest time. The team were delighted to have placed that high, mixing it with the Phoenix car of The Stig and the Acuri of Mignolet. MA-Racing again showed good speed at Mexico for round 4. Unfortunately for Valsattis, he still placed 10th after setting a time just 1.7 of the pace. However, he was less than 2 tenths away from 6th. Mackintosh meanwhile, suffered a session from hell. A crash in the practice session limited his set-up time, then driveshaft and gearbox issues meant he had just 2 laps to post a time. He finished last but one, setting a time nearly 4 seconds away from pole.
After Mexico, Mr. Alexander still needed more funding to improve the car. Despite the engine upgrade after Australia, money was tight and reliability wasn't good. Therefore, F3RWRS driver David Neuberg was promoted to the main team for round 5 onwards. David had been competing in the junior series for Mitie Aviation alongside Torbani with mixed results. David also brought much needed sponsorship from his personal family sponsor Drubnik. Mr. Alexander immediately commissioned a further engine upgrade, whilst the team also brought in a new technical director and race engineer for both drivers, helping as best they could to get maximum speed out of the cars.
The team moved onto round 5, held at Long Beach USA. Before Friday though, it became apparant that some of the teams mired in pre-qualifying, mainly MA-Racing, began discussions with the F1RWRS Council over helping those at the back with more money. Several ideas were bandied around, including changing the TV prize money around (leaving those finishing at the back claiming more money that those at the front) and allowing the end of season prize money to be filtered further down the order. It was finally Mr.Alexander's idea that began to pick up pace. A Pre-Qualifying Cup for those at the back to compete in. The idea was simple: those that set a time in the top 8 score points and at the end of the year, extra money would be given to those that performed best. At first, many teams were reluctant to run with the proposal, mainly due to the same idea being scrapped early 2010, but Mr.Alexander finally got the majority vote and the Cup wa launched. Whilst teams like Acuri and Phoenix picked up a good haul of points early on, thanks to Mackintosh's 7th place at Mexico, MA-Racing had two points to sit in 8th place.
Neuberg the star on debut
It was clear that Neuberg was brought to the team for his money rather than his skill, but the young German proved to everyone that he also had a fair bit of speed. An excellent pre-qualifying session saw him claim a fantastic 4 points with 5th place, beating such drivers as Acuri's Mignolet, Prospec's Gary Cameron and Mecha's Saeed Al Faisal. It was a brilliant performance that oh-so nearly put Mitie into the main qualifying draw. Valsattis sadly had more problems with his car and languished down in 13th. Neuberg meanwhile, addmitted he couldve been further up the order, as he lost 3 tenths on his quickest lap. The extra 4 points moved Mitie up to a provisonal 10th place out of 11 teams. But with half of those above not yet meeting the '4 pre-qualifying rounds' rule, Mitie look good for more much-needed cash at season end.
Mitie Aviation Racing make first start at home
The team failed to pre-qualify for the next two rounds, although Neuberg again continued to impress. By the time the midway point of the season had been reached, the team had brought a small upgrade to the car for Brands Hatch. At their home event, David Neuberg and Matthias Valsattis did just enough to pre-qualify their cars and were into the main qualifying event for the first time. However, qualifying proper was a struggle and whilst David managed to set the 20th fastest time, Matthias was dead last, having suffered engine problems throughout the hour session. Still, the team were delighted to start their frist RWRS race. Sadly, David was the second car to retire with gearbox problems, but had made his way up to an encouraging 15th place by the time he retired on lap 9.
More driver changes but one more start for 2014
As the season continued, it was becoming apparant that Valsattis was struggling to life in the RWRS, and the rumours started to circulate that he might be replaced by the end of the year. David however, was going from strength to strength, again managing to qualify for the tight and twisty Macau Grand Prix, lining up in 19th place. In the race, which was run in very wet conditions, he kept his head whilst nearly everyone else lost their's to finish in 11th place, recording the team's first classified finish. It was a solid result for the team, even if David was last and three laps down. The rumours were confirmed by Mr.Alexander with just two races remaining, as Matthias Valsattis was 'rested' and veteran Ashley Watkinson stepped into the team as a last-resort. However, the team failed the pre-qualify again and ended the season with a poor record of 28 DNPQ's, 2 DNQ's, 1 DNF and 1 11th place finish. However, the team gained suffiecient points in the pre-qualifying cup to place 5th overall and gain some much needed cash for their 2015 season.
At the end of the season, Mitie Aviation had their financial wall, and plunged the team into serious problems for 2015. Mr.Alexander began to fund the team out of his own pockets, whilst entering in negotiations with potential investors and new drivers. ON the 3rd January 2015, exactly two weeks before the first pre-season test, it was confirmed that Kingfisher Airlines had taken a majority share of the team and paid the entrance fee for 2015. The next two weeks saw a flurry of activity, the team needed two drivers, a new car, engine, gearbox and sponsors for the year. This flurry of activity so close to the new season showed why Kingfisher Racing (as the name change was part of the deal) are regarded as a very close and professional team.
Kingfisher Racing work around the clock
Mr.Alexander made it very clear to everyone in the team what he wanted them to do, and left the team for one week to find an engine, gearbox and two drivers. Within three days, the engine and gearbox deals were complete. A set of Peugeot A7's were delivered to Sevenoaks for the team to fit, less than four days before the first test at Jerez. The engines were powerful and relaible, the chassis was given some new aero parts and was given a quick diet to make the car as stable and light as possible. Matthias Valsattis, the team's only confirmed test-driver, gave the car a few straight-line tests at Silverstone in a behind-closed-doors day, reporting how much quicker and stable the car was. Autosport and F1RWRS.com had already been sniffing around the team and predicted a big step forward for Kingfisher.
Drivers confirmed, sponsors signed, budget set
Meanwhile, Mr.Alexander had entered in advanced talks with Kay Lon, who was searching for a new challenge. The two spoke for two days before Kay Lon signed for Pemberton Prospec, leaving Mr.Alexadner bitterly disappointed. However, the talks ended on good terms and the door was always left open for a future discussion. Mr.Alexander then turned to his two drivers from last season, and both quickly signed. Ashley Watkinson was given a one-year deal whilst potential start David was put on a two-year deal. Sponsors started to arrive too, British car performance company DemonTweeks, American alcohol brand Jack Daniels and telecommunictions company 02 aree arrived with a healthy financial input, along with a new livery. The blue and white of Mitie was now replaced with a striking orange and white, with Kingfisher logo's covering many areas of the car. The car was complete, engine and gearbox installed, drivers signed and with the first est just one day away.
Kingfisher Racing make their debut and surprise everyone
The first pre-season test at Jerez showed everyone how far Kingfiher had come in just two weeks, as David Neuberg stunned the paddock with the fourth best time on the first day. Ashley Watkinson however, took the brunt of reliability issues on a very-green car, ending the day in 24th place. On the second day, Neuberg slipped to 11th place whilst Watkinson improved to 15th. Still, the team had confirmed their midfield ambitions and had clearly made an incredible step forward. The second test did not see Kingifher Racind as they continued to improve their reliability and mileage in a private test at Brands Hatch, with the team reporting further improvements to the chassis and engine in preparation for the first race, which would again see Kingfisher in pre-qualifying, but no-one expected them to remain there for too long.
First race a disppointment, but there were reasons
The Tasman Grand Prix at Adelaide was the setting for the 2015 opener, and Kingfisher failed. Both drivers were badly off the pace. But Mr.Alexander had his reasons. "We worked so hard over the off-season to be ready that we were all exhausted when we turned up yesterday. It's no surprise to see us this far back but it will all change soon. The car is definetly good enough to qualify."
Kingfisher improve and qualify
Race two was at Mount Panorama and Kingfisher kept their word, easily making it through pre-qualifying. David Neuberg then continued to impress everyone by qualifying in 5th place whilst Ashley Watkinson was blocked on his final run and failed to qualify. Mr.Alexander was delighted with David's performance, "He's really come strong since the off-season. We are over the moon with his performance and we hope for a good showing on race day". Sadly it was not to be. David made an excellent start and was up to 4th place by lap 3 when the gearbox failed. Had it not been for the retirement, David was well within a shout of points.
Comprehensive Table of Results
Complete F1RWRS Results
Complete F2RWRS Results
|2015||Lola F2-15||Holden LSF2-15||TAS||RSA||TUR||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||BEL||AUT||ITA||NDS||SIN||JPN||USA||100||12th||13|
|Martin van der Maeyede||DNPQ||Ret||DNPQ||DNPQ||DNPQ||DNPQ||Ret||5||Ret||Ret|
|2016||Lola F2-15||Holden LSF2-15||AUS||PAC||GBR||ITA||AUT||TUR||USA||GER||NSE||BEL||MON||MEX||CHI||JAP||TR1||TR2||N/A||N/A|
|22||Martin van der Maeyede|
*Season currently in progress
|2014||MA-Junior 001||Holden LSF3-14||AUS||USA||GBR||GER||BEL||CHN||SUR||18||9th|
|14||Martin van der Maeyede||12||Ret||39*||23||23||44*||18|
|Martin van der Maeyede||Ret||19|
Rejects of LFS
|2015||Scaven S15||Toyota-Judd 3.0 V8||30||Matthias Valsattis||BLA
|Ashley Lilly|| KYO
|Current F1RWRS Teams|
|Defunct F1RWRS Teams|
| Acuri - AMR - ARC - Bangelia - Calinetic - Dagnall/DGN - FAT Turbo - Flying Fish Motorsports - GRM - Hemogoblin - Horizon - JLD - KQ |
Lotus - MAN - Minardi - Mitie - O'Lauchlan - Pacchia - Phoenix - Rosenforth - SOTL - Tropico - Trueba - Virgin - West Cliff - ZimSport