“Yelloly, Webster and Zamparelli make it four Brits in GP3”

© GP3 Media Services.
© GP3 Media Services.

Nick Yelloly, Josh Webster and Dino Zamparelli brought the number of British racers in the GP3 Series to four when they signed on this week.

While 2013 sees Webster and Zamparelli make their series débuts, for Yelloly it marks a return to the championship in which he earned a podium two years ago.

Yelloly, who graduated from the Formula Renault UK Series at the conclusion of 2010, scored 3rd place at Silverstone with Atech CRS during his original GP3, before moving onto Formula Renault 3.5 later that year.

Following twenty-three races, initially with Pons, before transferring to Comtec Racing {note 1}, Yelloly has decided to switch back to the GP3 Series in what he considers a sideways move.
For the 22-year-old, this is a must win season. “I’m really looking forward to working with Carlin this year, they’re a team with a great history so I think this will be an extremely exciting season for me. I just can’t wait for the season to start now, I’m in a good team and I’m aiming to fight for the championship.”

GP3 was a very different championship when Yelloly first contested the series in 2011; however the changes to the formula – as first tested at Estoril this week – apparently did much to convince Yelloly its potential.
“The upgrades to the car have transformed where GP3 is in the motorsport ladder; with so much more power and the combination of the Pirelli tyres and the F1 circuits, GP3 is a great package for me to be part of right now.”
Yelloly’s arrival marks the second ex-Formula Renault 3.5 driver to make the switch to GP3, following on from former Lotus-Charouz racer Kevin Korjus who has moved to Koiranen GP.
The signing of Yelloly, alongside Luis Sá Silva and Eric Lichtenstein, completes Carlin’s line-up.

Webster partners Jimmy Eriksson at Status Grand Prix {note 2}. With the support of Nine Group, the 19-year-old Webster is set to undertake a huge leap as he moves from the Formula Renault BARC Championship {note 3}.
Despite this, Status GP’s latest charge is well aware of the enormity of the task ahead of him. “GP3 is a massive step up for me and I am under no illusion about how much I have to learn, but it will be a fantastic experience and it’s great to be at first test […] at Estoril.
“Apart from learning about the car and the European circuits, the Pirelli tyres will also take some getting used to but I’m up for the challenge.”

The keen Webster added, “Of course I hope to do well but I am also aware of the fact that I haven’t driven at seven of the eight circuits we will be competing at this season, so this will undoubtedly be a learning year for me. I see GP3 as a two-year programme and I intend to put some solid foundations in place as quickly as I can.”

Marussia Manor went somewhat further this week. Not only did the GP3 squad confirm Dino Zamparelli as their first signing for 2013, the Formula One team also announced revealed the 20-year-old to be the latest addition to their Young Driver Programme.
In previous seasons, Zamparelli has enjoyed plenty of experience in the lower reaches of Formula Renault, eventually winning the BARC Championship in 2011 with Antel Motorsport. A move to the now defunct Formula Two Championship followed, during which Zamparelli secured two podiums on his way to 8th in the points.

Coming just before the opening test {note 4}, the drive was a long time in the works for Marussia Manor pilot. “We have been working extremely hard over the winter to achieve the seat and this is a dream come true to be able to get everything off the ground […]”
Zamparelli added, “Everything will be new for me, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and attacking the challenge head-on. Marussia Manor Racing have a great foundation which they have been building on for the last few years in GP3 and I’m looking forward to helping to maintain that momentum.”

As well as booking a seat for the season, Zamparelli also discovered other benefits to being part of a programme linked to Formula One. “For the first time in my career, I’ll actually have a proper pre-season testing programme and I will have time to develop with the car and the team – so I can’t wait! I go into every championship with the title as my main focus; and that’s exactly what I’ll be targeting.”

{note 1}
Yelloly enjoyed a rather decent spell in Formula Renault 3.5, taking two victories and three podiums during his twenty-three race spell in the series, culminating in taking 5th overall last year.
However, despite its positive reputation, FR3.5 may be taking a slight hit for residing in something of a no mans land on the road to Formula One. While several F1 teams are loosely connected to teams in the series, apart from Red Bull there appears to be little in the way of direct or even indirect promotion of talent.
The clearest example currently is Sauber third driver Robin Frijns, who had the nerve to win the FR3.5 championship in his début year. However with little hope for much Friday running at a Grand Prix, the Dutch racer has been left with little chance of a drive anywhere this year, unless he takes a spot in GP2.

{note 2}
At this week’s test at Estoril, Status GP ran Adderly Fong (Wednesday) and Melville McKee (Thursday and Friday) in their vacant third seat.

{note 3}
Webster enjoyed a relatively successful three seasons in the Formula Renault BARC Championship. Two years with Fortec (2010-11) brought 4th and 2nd in the standings respectively, garnering three wins and ten podia along the way.
A move to MGR in 2012 saw Webster earn the runner-up spot once again, this time collecting five wins and four podia; however the Chelmsford racer still fell shy of champion Scott Malvern.
During this time, Webster was also a finalist for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards, but lost out on that occasion to Formula Renault Eurocup racer Jake Dennis.

{note 4}
During the test at Estoril, Marussia Manor also ran Vicky Piria (all days), Tio Ellinas (Wednesday and Thursday) and twice Toyota Racing Series champion Nick Cassidy (Friday).

2013 GP3 Series field (as of February 23rd)
ART GP:              Facu Regalia, Jack Harvey, tba
MW Arden:            Carlos Sainz Jr, Robert Visoiu, Daniil Kvyat
Carlin:              Luis Sá Silva, Nick Yelloly, Eric Lichtenstein
Jenzer:              Samin Gómez, Patric Niederhauser, Alex Fontana
Marussia Manor:      Dino Zamparelli, tba, tba
Status GP:           Jimmy Eriksson, Josh Webster, tba
Bamboo Engineering:  Roberto La Rocca, tba, tba
Trident:             David Fumanelli, Emanuele Zonzini, tba
Koiranen GP:         Patrick Kujala, Aaro Vainio, Kevin Korjus

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