“FIA F3: Grid set for minor reshuffle as Wehrlein takes DTM drive”

© FIA.
© FIA.

The FIA Formula 3 field will receive a minor reshuffle after the opening round when Pascal Wehrlein leaves for the DTM.

Wehrlein is set to take the place of Mercedes pilot Ralf Schumacher at RSC Mücke, after the latter decided to retire from motorsport competition with immediate effect. Schumacher has decided to move into a management role with the Mercedes squad.

When he débuts at the Hockenheimring in May, the 18-year-old will become the youngest driver in the history of DTM. His teammate will be reigning European F3 champion Daniel Juncadella, ensuring Mücke kick off 2013 with an all-rookie line-up.

A race winner in Formula 3 last year, Wehrlein impressed during his opening season in the category. Although he managed only a single victory, Wehrlein’s consistency through the season ensured he remained a challenger right to the close of the season.
Speaking about his sudden move up the ladder, Wehrlein commented that, “It’s like a dream come true, my promotion to the DTM. What’s especially nice is that I will be making my DTM debut with RSC Mücke Motorsport.“
Wehrlein added, “I know Peter Mücke’s and Ralf Schumacher’s team already from previous years when I first competed for the outfit in the Formula ADAC and then later in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Working together always went well and I can’t wait to get down to the business of setting up my new DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé for the season opener at Hockenheim with the guys from Mücke.”

Wehrlein is still set to contest this weekend’s opening European F3 round at Monza; however there is still no indication as to who will take his place from the next round at Silverstone.

Lower down the order, Irish racer Gary Thompson secured the second seat with the Romeo Ferraris team, alongside veteran Michela Cerruti. Thompson has spent three seasons competing in the National Class of the Japanese F3 Series with a best finish of 4th overall {note 1}.
Thompson’s signing means there will be at least thirty drivers at the opening event.

Meanwhile, the opening day of final pre-season test at Monza cancelled yesterday following a recent snow flurry. Whether the circuit is in good enough condition to allow any running today is unknown at this juncture.

{note 1}
During Thompson’s three years in Japanese F3, the 20-year-old picked up two National Class wins and twelve podiums.

2013 FIA European Formula 3 grid (as of March 18th) 
Carlin-Volkswagen:     Jordan King         Harry Tincknell                                     
                       Jann Mardenborough  Nicholas Latifi 
Double R-Merc:         Tatiana Calderon    Sean Gelael                      
                       Antonio Giovanazzi 
EuroInternational-VW:  Tom Blomqvist        
Fortec-Merc:           Pipo Derani         Felix Serralles                      
                       Josh Hill           Dmitry Suranovich 
Jo Zeller-Merc:        Sandro Zeller                  
ma-con Motorsport-VW:  Andre Rudersdorf    Sven Muller 
Mucke Motorsport-Merc: Mitchell Gilbert    Roy Nissany  
                       P Wehrlein/tba      Felix Rosenqvist 
Prema Powerteam-Merc:  Lucas Auer          Eddie Cheever III        
                       Alex Lynn           Raffaele Marciello 
T-Sport-Nissan:        Will Buller         Spike Goddard 
URD Rennsport-Merc:    Lucas Wolf       
Van Amersfoort-VW:     Dennis van de Laar  Mans Grenhagen 
Romeo Ferraris-Merc:   Michela Cerruti     Gary Thompson

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