Formula 3 racers Lucas Auer and Dennis van de Laar have confirmed their respective places in the FIA European F3 Championship for 2014.
Race winner Auer is to move from Prema Powerteam to Mücke Motorsport, while van de Laar assumes Auer’s vacant position with Prema.
It marks a somewhat unusual move for Auer. Having claimed 4th in the European F3 standings this year, the Austrian was expected to leading a title charge with Prema going into the coming campaign.
Mücke came close to stealing the European F3 crown with Felix Rosenqvist this year and following a recent test, Auer believes he can take the title with the Berlin squad.
After his recent brief run, Auer commented, “Being back in a Formula 3 car some three weeks after the Macau Grand Prix is nice.” He added, “The test ban of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship comes into force on December 21. After that, possibilities up to the start of the season are strictly limited. Peter Mücke’s team has a long and successful history in Formula 3. I am certain that I will be one of the front-runners again with the Mücke team next year.”
While Auer’s move to Mücke certainly caught many out, van de Laar’s transfer from An Amersfoort Racing to Prema was just as surprising, making the 19-year-old the first to be confirmed with Italian squad for the new season.
The Dutch racer has not had the most stellar of runs in the fast few seasons, with a run to 7th in the Formula Renault NEC in 2011, followed by coming home 9th in the German F3 Cup a year later. This year van de Laar secured 20th in the standings, thanks to seven points finishes and a highest classification of 6th.
Although 2013 did not represent the best of seasons for van de Laar, the Dutch racer appeared to improve markedly when Sven Muller joined as teammate at Van Amersfoort for the final three rounds.
It is not entirely unlikely that a season with a top level Formula 3 team such as Prema may help to unlock some speed and consistency from within van de Laar. As well as van de Laar, the team is currently testing potential talent at Jerez, Estoril and Barcelona and will be doing so until December 20th.
According to Team Manager René Rosin, he sees an opportunity for van de Laar to grow with Prema. “We thought he’s a deserving driver with plenty of room for improvement. He’s young and he already knows the majority of the tracks on the schedule, plus he proved to be quick. Relying on a talented driver with one year of experience in the series seems like an excellent choice,” said Rosin.
For van de Laar, this is a key move in his young career. “My extensive training with Van Amersfoort Racing has been the foundation that led towards this great step to the absolute top team in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. It is also important to continue my learning curve and educational development in these new surroundings.”