(Photo: Ryan - JuniorOpenWheelTalent.com)
Conor Daly will test an F3 Euro Open car with Team West-Tec at Valencia on Monday, Dec. 12.
It’s likely Daly is simply using the Formula 3 test for additional experience with plans of returning to GP3 next season. He has recently been testing a GP3 car at Valencia as well.
Last season the Indiana native — who turns 20 on Dec. 15 — split time between Indy Lights and GP3. However, a season in an F3 championship hasn’t been ruled out. For that matter, neither has a return to the Indy Lights championship.
Last season, Daly competed in 16 GP3 races with Carlin logging a best-finish of fifth place at Spa-Francorchamps. In Firestone Indy Lights, he ran five events for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, earning a win at Long Beach and a pole position in Baltimore.
For those who missed it on SPEED, here is the Dave Despain and Robin Miller interview with Michael Lewis on Windtunnel from the PRI show in Orlando.
Lewis, who recently completed a Ferrari Formula One test, talks about his racing experiences and future goals in the sport.
Lewis finished runner-up in the Formula 3 Italia Series in 2011 with three wins, two pole positions, and six podium finishes while driving for Prema Powerteam. He was named Rookie of the Year and received an invite to the FIA Young Driver Academy. Take a F3 ride with him here.
The new calendar of the Formula 3 Euro Series with ten race weekends will be published after the Formula 1 and DTM calendars for 2011 have been announced.
The majority of the ten race weekends that are planned will take place at DTM events. Moreover, races at other Formula 1 test and race tracks like Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone and/or Le Castellet are planned.
Similarly to 2010, there will be 16 days of official testing: 2×2 days prior to the season, 1×2 days halfway through the season and 10×1 test day close to the race events. Additionally, the amount of private test days per driver will be extended to six. All in all, this equals 22 opportunities of Formula 3 Euro Series testing.
For the 2011 season, series’ partner KUMHO will develop a new control tyre in order to guarantee equal chances for potential new entrants.
The successful TV marketing will be developed further in order to generate even more extensive coverage in free-to-air television in the target markets (home countries of the drivers and the teams).
The most successful drivers get contact opportunities to Formula 1 teams like Red Bull Racing and Mercedes GP. A concrete programme is currently being developed and will include, among others, a Formula 1 simulator test.
The best-placed Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz driver will receive a DTM test drive with Audi and Mercedes-Benz respectively.
The Formula 3 Euro Series champion will be invited by Renault Sport to participate in a Formula Renault 3.5 test free of charge.
A system with prize money will be used as before.
Further measures to cut costs are being worked on.
To optimize cost-efficiency, the following decisions were made:
Engines and exhaust systems remain at their current level. Any further development is prohibited.
The number of team personnel will be reduced to four people per car.
There will be no limit anymore for the number of cars entered per team.
I haven’t provided much coverage of the Formula 3 Euro Series this season, but this is pretty big news. Mika Mäki and Christopher Zanella have signed with Team Motopark Academy for the remainder of the 2010 season.
The two will join Motopark regulars António Félix da Costa und Matias Laine under the team awning.
Mäki, 22, will make his return to the F3 Euro Series after sitting out the first part of the 2010 season. Last season, he finished the year ranked sixth overall, with one win, four podiums, and eight top-five finishes. It will be nice to see him return to the cockpit.
Zanella, 20, has previous experience with Motopark Academy in the Formula 3 Euro Series having contested 20 races with the team last year. The young Swiss driver has been competing in the Italian F3 Championship this season, where he has logged one pole position and one podium in six starts. Last season, with Motopark, he showed tremendous promise. In his final F3 Euro Series appearance of the season, he improved 17-spots to finish runner-up. He completed the year with five top-10 finishes, ranked 13th in the final standings.
The two drivers will make their 2010 debut next month at the Nürburgring. I expect both drivers will be a nice addition to the squad.
The Formula 3 Euro Series completed Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2010 championship this past weekend at the Hockenheimring in Germany.
German driver Marco Wittmann, 20, impressed the “home” crowd by claiming his first career pole position in Round 3 qualifying. Determined to finish what he started, Wittmann went on to win Saturday’s race, his first win in the F3 Euro Series. His Signature teammate Edoardo Mortara came home second and set the fastest lap of the race (1:33.246). Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top-three in the first race of the weekend.
There was a four-way tie for hard charger honors. Esteban Gutierrez had the best finish of the bunch by driving from 11th to 6th, improving 5 positions in the 18-lap event. Other notable drives from Round 3: Matias Laine (14th-9th), Jimmy Eriksson (16th-11th) and Luis Jorge Sa Silva (17th-12th).
Round 4 saw another new face on the top step of the podium; Roberto Merhi beat Daniel Juncadella to the stripe by just over a half second in the 25-lap event. Edoardo Mortara built his podium-streak to 4 races by driving from 7th to 3rd Sunday.
British driver Alexander Sims earned hard charger honors in Round 4 by driving from 17th on the grid to 8th at the finish line. He improved 9 positions in 25-laps. Valtteri Bottas, finishing fifth, set the fastest lap of the race (1:34.407).
The drivers return to action on May 21-23 at Valencia.
This was a busy weekend for those following karting and junior formula racing. As I stated last week, you can find 1,356,959 race reports out there so rather than publish another one and add to that number, I thought I’d recap a few things here using bullets.
CKI- New Castle Motorsports Park
Arie Ouimet (KF2) and Neil Alberico (TaG-Sr.) both swept the senior classes over the weekend in the CKI WSK North American Series.
It was nice to see junior formula pilots Joel Miller and Conor Daly return to the karting ranks for the weekend.
F2000 Championship- Virginia International Raceway
Daniel Erickson was incredibly fast this weekend claiming the pole position in both qualifying sessions. It was his first time in a F2000 Championship car. With a little luck, he would have won at least one race this weekend as well. Unfortunately, he was plagued by some mechanical issues while leading Sunday’s race.
Keith McCrone earned the hard charger award in Race-1 by driving from 30th to 17th in 14 laps.
The 2007 F2000 Champion Cole Morgan put in a solid drive to claim the victory in Race-2.
Craig Clawson earned the hard charger award in Race-2 by improving 10 spots (28th to 18th) in 14 laps.
F3 Euro Series- Paul Ricard
Edoardo Mortara started off the year right where most expected him too; at the front. He finished the race just ahead of his Signature teammate Marco Wittmann – who set the fastest lap of the race.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs improved the most positions. He started 11th and finished 6th; improving 5 spots in 19 laps.
Alexander Sims won Race 2 by over 7-seconds after finishing 3rd in Race 1.
Daniel Juncadella set the fastest lap of the race in Sunday’s event and earned his first career pole position for Race 1.
Indy Lights- Barber Motorsports Park
J.K. Vernay continued his dominance this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. He started the season out by dominating the field on a rain-soaked street course (St. Petersburg) and then followed that up with another impressive win yesterday over Charlie Kimball and Sebastian Saavedra.
In addition to his race winnings, Vernay also won $5,000 for the Firestone back-to-back win bonus.
Nic LeDuc earned the hard charger award for finishing 11th after starting the race 17th.
I think the IRL did a great job scheduling the Indy Lights race just prior to the IndyCar race. The crowd was excellent, perhaps one of the biggest in recent memory for a Indy Lights road course event.
There were quite a few complaints about passing zones, but I didn’t have any issues with the race action. Drivers were creating passing opportunities and the race craft was excellent. The most notable driving occurred mid-pack in a heated battle between James Winslow, Dan Clarke, Gustavo Yacaman, Junior Strous, Philip Major and Niall Quinn. All the drivers involved did a great job being aggressive in the corners without taking each other out.
The Barber Motorsports Park track is incredible – the elevation changes and blind corners make it one of my favorites in North America.
The biggest issue I had with the IndyCar.com coverage this weekend was the lack of onboard footage. For example, Pippa Mann put together a great lap description prior to the race but we had no visual reference to accompany it. Thankfully, I’m quite familiar with the course but not everyone is.
Note to those in charge of Indy Lights coverage— You Need More Onboard Footage. This is especially important for a circuit like Barber Motorsports Park.
Frenchman Jim Pla has signed with ART for the 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series. The 17-year-old Formula BMW graduate will join Alexander Sims and Valtteri Bottas at ART.
This will likely be a two-year stop for Pla. He will have ample opportunity to develop this season and with teammates like Sims and Bottas, it goes without saying, he will be motivated every time out. He should do pretty well this season.
Pla spent last season in Formula BMW-Europe where he finished 5th in the final standings. He completed the year with 4 wins, 6 podiums and 10 top-tens. Ironically, all of his wins were consecutive (Rounds 11-14). He showed a lot of improvement in 2009. His average finish during the first half of the season was 10.43 (excluding his DNF at Silverstone). He improved greatly during the second half of the year averaging a finishing position of 2.29 (excluding his DNF at Monza). I expect that we will see the same trend in 2010 under the guidance of ART.
Edoardo Mortara has decided to take a slight step backwards in 2010 by returning to F3 competition after spending last year in the GP2-Asia and GP2-Main Series. After a somewhat disappointing season in GP2, Mortara returned to F3 last fall for the Macau Grand Prix. He drove a virtually flawless race and won the most prestigious Formula 3 event in the world… while driving for Signature. He finished runner-up at Macau in 2008.
He has since decided to return to the F3 Euro Series for a full season (again with Signature). It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t able to spend another season in GP2. The 23-year-old Italian is brimming with natural talent and deserved another campaign in GP2. Unfortunately, the funding never fell into place and he will return to the F3 Euro Series where he finished 2nd in 2008 (1 win, 6 podiums and 13 top-ten finishes).
With his proven track record in Formula 3 this might not be a bad move. If he can win the championship in 2010, one would assume that he will see some more doors at the GP2-level open up.
Last season, while racing in GP2, he won Race-2 during the opening weekend at Cataluyna. Perhaps his most impressive drive in GP2 came last September at Monza where he set the fastest lap of the race and improved 17 positions (22nd to 5th).
He also made a few starts in the World Series by Renault and earned a hard charger award in Round-11 at Le Mans for improving 15 positions in 31 laps. Watch for Mortara to do very well this season.
The addition of Juncadella to the roster for 2010 is pretty big. The 18-year-old Spaniard has done very well in Formula BMW—finishing 2nd in the 2009 Formula BMW-Europe championship (1 win, 7 podiums). In 2008—his first full-season in FBMW competition—he finished 4th overall in the Formula BMW-Europe championship (2 wins, 5 podiums). Today’s announcement was expected by many as Juncadella completed a very successful F3 test with Prema back in December.
Frenchman Nicolas Marroc, 23, has also signed with Prema to run the 2010 F3 Euro Series. Marroc spent the 2009 season in German F3. His best finish was 5th which occurred at Oschersleben in October. I’m not sure what to expect from Marroc in 2010. He has a decent amount of experience but he seems to lack consistency. Perhaps working with and running alongside Daniel Juncadella will compliment his skill-set. Time will tell.
The Formula 3 Euro Series released their 2010 calendar this morning. The current schedule features 9 stops (18-races). The season finale will be held at Hockenheimring in 2010 rather than Magny-Cours as originally announced.
The series has featured a 20-race schedule (10-Rounds) since its inception so it’s likely that the series administrators are waiting to see what kind of response the 16-race schedule gets prior to adding a 9th stop in 2010. (update: a 9th stop has been added … see above)
Without further ado, here is your 2010 F3 Euro Series Schedule:
F3 Euro Series: 2010 Calendar
April 9-11: LeCastellet
April 24-25: Hockenheimring
May 22-23: Valencia
July 3-4: Norisring
August 7-8: Nürburgring
August 21-22: Zandvoort
September 4-5: Brands Hatch
September 18-19: Oschersleben
October 15-17: Hockenheimring