F3 at Monza


At Monza in Italy, the 2013 season of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship gets underway in three weeks’ time. In total, 30 highly talented young drivers from 14 countries will be battling for the European championship title and no less so for the Ferrari Formula 1 test drive, on ten weekends with three races each. Experienced Formula 3 drivers like Pascal Wehrlein (Mücke Motorsport) and Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) are on the entry list, just like young and eager rookie drivers like Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsport), whose goal it is to make life as difficult as possible for the stalwarts.

For decades, Formula 3 has been known as an ideal career stepping stone. Up‑and-coming talents not only acquire valuable experience in racing, but also in working with technology. Countless Formula 1 World Champions honed their skills in Formula 3. With official European Championship status from the FIA and a new structure, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship has been strengthened for the 2013 season. The series is featuring numerous promising talents on their way up.

Italian outfit, Prema Powerteam, is running four drivers in the 2013 season. Raffaele Marciello, who ended up third overall in 2012 as one of the strongest drivers in the Formula 3 Euro Series, will get no less than three new team mates: Alex Lynn, Lucas Auer and Eddie Cheever. Austrian Lucas Auer shone as a rookie by becoming runner-up in the final standings of the German Formula 3 Cup last year. Britain’s Alex Lynn had an equally successful rookie season in his domestic Formula 3 championship in which he came fourth overall. Eddie Cheever, the son of the eponymous ex-Formula 1 driver and Indy 500 race winner graduates into the European Championship with the runner-up position in the Italian Formula 3 under his belt.

Carlin has also entered four young talents to compete for the coveted title. Stalwart Harry Tincknell from the UK, who will be taking on his third year in Formula 3, will be accompanied by his compatriot Jordan King, Nicholas Latifi and Jann Mardenborough. 17-year-old Canadian Latifi got his basic education in Italian Formula 3, while King and Mardenborough do not have any experience in Formula 3 to date. Jordan King became runner-up in the final standings of last year’s Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. Team-mate Mardenborough, winner of the 2011 Nissan GT Academy, raced in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the British GT Championship last year. 
Mücke Motorsport is also relying on a quartet of drivers. German Pascal Wehrlein, runner-up of the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series, has his eyes set on the title, just like his Swedish team-mate Felix Rosenqvist, who ended up fourth in the last Euro Series season. Mitchell Gilbert and Roy Nissany, whose father was a test driver of the Minardi Formula 1 team in 2005, round out Mücke’s line-up. Malaysian-born Australian Gilbert has previous experience from the German Formula 3 Cup while Israeli Nissany moves up into the Formula 3 European Championship from the ADAC Formula Masters.

Two of Fortec’s drivers from last year, Luís Felipe ‘Pipo’ Derani and Felix Serralles are among those to defend the Fortec Motorsport colours in 2013. Brazilian Derani has been racing in Formula 3 since 2010. His team-mate born in Puerto Rico will be starting into his second season in the category at Monza. Next to these already known drivers, Josh Hill, the son of ex-Formula 1 World Champion Damon Hill, and 17-year-old Dmitry Suranovich from Russia complete the line-up of the British outfit.

Double R Racing moves up from British F3 International Series into the European Championship and will run three cars. Tatiana Calderón, who will be driving a Dallara Mercedes, is one of the two female drivers to compete in the Formula 3 European Championship. The Columbian lady racer became the first woman to score a podium finish in the American Star Mazda series in 2011. The 19-year-old South-American’s team-mates are Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, the 2012 Formula Pilota China champion, and 16-year-old Indonesian Sean Gelael, who ended up fourth in the Formula Pilota China last year.

ThreeBond with T-Sport is also coming over from the UK to compete in the European Championship. William Buller, who scored a convincing performance with his fifth place in the final standings of the 2012 Formula 3 Euro Series, will be driving a ThreeBond Nissan powered car, just like his team-mate Richard ‘Spike’ Goddard, who won the National Class in British Formula 3 last year.

Dutch team Van Amersfoort Racing will run 19-year-old Zandvoort-based Dutch driver Dennis van de Laar and equally old Swede Mans Grenhagen this season. As a rookie driver, Van de Laar got experience in the German Formula 3 Cup, while Grenhagen ended up third in the European Open F3.

Italian team Eurointernational is graduating from German F3 into the European Championship and secured itself the services of experienced Brit Tom Blomqvist. Blomqvist’s team from last year, ma-con, is relying on German youngsters: 17‑year-old André Rudersdorf won the Trophy classification of the ATS Formula 3 Cup in 2012, 21-year-old Sven Müller is returning to the Brandenburg-based team after one season with Prema. Lucas Wolf will be racing a Mercedes-Dallara with URD Rennsport while Jo Zeller will be running a car for his son Sandro Zeller.

Michela Cerruti is the second lady racer in the field. The 26-year-old Italian already caught attention in touring cars and will be competing for points with a Formula 3 car for Romeo Ferraris’s team in 2013.

The FIA Formula 3 European Championship season opener will take place at the Italian Grand Prix circuit of Monza, together with the FIA WTCC (23-24 March). Prior to that, drivers and teams will meet in Barcelona (8-9 March) and Monza (18-19 March) for a total of four official test days.