“FIA F3: Müller confirms with ma-con; grid grows to 24 drivers”
After a tough introduction in 2012, Germany’s Sven Müller has settled for a second season in the FIA European F3 Championship.
The 21-year-old ended his previous campaign 8th overall following a slow start, but with just over one week to the opening test at Barcelona, Müller has sided with ma-con.
Commenting on his website, Müller noted that he is “convinced that together, we will [find] the last missing tenth […] to ride with the front runners” despite ma-con’s relative newness to the category.
Racing with Prema Powerteam, Müller notched up three podiums in 2012; however a string of early season finishes outside the top ten cast the Mainz native adrift of the leading pack.
Müller will not be in completely unfamiliar territory, having previously competed with ma-con in the ADAC Formula Masters series in 2011, picking up four wins and eight podiums along the way.
Müller’s confirmation with ma-con completes the team’s two-car, alongside relative youngster André Rudersdorf. The 17-year-old graduates from the Austrian Formula 3 Cup and the ATS Formula 3 Trophy, where he emerged a champion on both counts.
This comes only a few days after the British-based Double R Racing announced their transition to the European series.
After originally planning to run a full-season in the now truncated British Formula 3 Series with Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael, the addition of Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt’s squad could potentially bring the size of the grid to thirty cars.
Double R also unveiled their final driver for 2013, adding Colombian racer Tatiana Calderon fresh from her exploits in the Toyota Racing Series.
Double R’s three entries join the four drivers confirmed at Carlin, with the latter set to be led by Formula 3 veteran Harry Tincknell.
The Exeter born pilot enters his third season in the category and his second with the famous Carlin team. Tincknell will be joined by Italian F3 race winner Nicholas Latifi, Nissan GT Academy victor Jann Mardenborough and last year’s Formula Renault NEC runner-up, Jordan King.
Tram Principal Trevor Carlin was keen to measure his prospects for the coming year. “Harry makes an extremely welcome return to the team and his experience of Formula 3 will be the key; we have high hopes for him this season. Jordan will also be a Formula 3 rookie, but despite it being quite a young team, I look forward to seeing what surprises they can deliver as they progress throughout the season.”
Of his less experienced members, Carlin was realistic about their expectation. “Nicholas is going to have a very steep learning curve, with practically every circuit a new experience for him. This season will be about learning as much as possible for him, as it will for Jann, who let’s remember only has one season’s racing behind him.”
Of the Central European-based teams, Mücke Motorsport may prove to be one of the team’s to beat, with feisty Swede Felix Rosenqvist remaining with the German squad. Rosenqvist, who took four victories in the category last year will once again race alongside Pascal Wehrlein, as well as Mücke newcomers Roy Nissany and Mitch Gilbert.
After a year of bedding in to the championship, this will be a key year for Rosenqvist – a title favourite for sure. “It feels great to finally be able to announce my plans for 2013, and to continue my association with the guys at Mücke Motorsport for another year.
“It’s been a long winter with several flattering offers to consider, but at the end of the day, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best option for my career.”
With the European Championship emerging as the primary F3 category in the continent, Rosenqvist is aware the stakes have been raised. “The competition will be even tougher than previously, but – on the back of our results at the end of last year – my sole target has got to be to win as many races as possible; and I’m here to fight for the title.”
While all the competitors are certain to be eyeing up the European Championship trophy, a bonus awaits the eventual victor – a prize drive in a Ferrari Formula 1 car, courtesy of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Entries for the European F3 Championship close today and while twenty-four drivers have been confirmed; some delayed announcements are expected before the opening two-day test at Barcelona, which starts on March 8th.
2013 FIA European Formula 3 grid (as of February 27th) Carlin: Jordan King Harry Tincknell Jann Mardenborough Nicholas Latifi Double R: Tatiana Calderon Sean Gelael Antonio Giovanazzi EuroInternational: Tom Blomqvist Fortec: Pipo Derani Felix Serralles Jo Zeller Racing: TBA ma-con Motorsport: Andre Rudersdorf Sven Muller Mucke Motorsport: Mitchell Gilbert Roy Nissany Pascal Wehrlein Felix Rosenqvist Prema Powerteam: Lucas Auer Eddie Cheever III Alex Lynn Raffaele Marciello T-Sport: Will Buller Spike Goddard URD Rennsport: TBA Van Amersfoort: Dennis van de Laar Mans Grenhagen