Home Formula 3Euroformula 2023 Euroformula driver-by-driver season preview

2023 Euroformula driver-by-driver season preview

by Ida Wood

Photos: Fotospeedy

Had Euroformula attracted a full grid for 2023, then there would have been 15 superlicence points on offer for the champion. Instead there’s only 10 cars, but with an intruiging array of drivers

After inheriting teams from the defunct FIA European Formula 3 championship in 2019, then introducing a popular new Dallara 320 in 2020 as well as bringing back the Mediterranean Grand Prix, things were looking on the up for Euroformula.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the Mediterranean GP didn’t happen and the next three seasons were dominated by a single team. There have been three graduates to Super Formula and one to Formula 1 in that time, but grid quality has been inconsistent.

At present there are only nine drivers signed up for this weekend’s Algarve season opener, with two of those signed up only for that round and not a full campaign, and the sale of Dallara 320s by big single-seater teams means it’s unlikely there will be many young drivers bolstering the field later in the year. In fact, the grid is more likely to attract wealthy middle-aged club racers. But, as long as they are quick, it could still lead to some exciting race action.



The German team dominated Euroformula when it turned up in 2019, and from the year after had to split its six-car line-up into two seperate points-scoring entities. Three cars would represent Motopark, while the other three would be entered under the moniker of its Japanese offshoot CryptoTower Racing Team.

This year it appears to have four cars entered under its own name, with two – both one-off entries – driving for CryptoTower. Either way, Motopark is running over half of the series’ full-time drivers and is guaranteed to win the teams’ title.

19. Noel Leon Mexico, 18
2022: 23rd in FRegional Europe   2021: US F4 champion (2 wins, 3 poles, 10 podiums)

After winning the United States Formula 4 title in 2021, Leon [pictured above] was inducted into the Red Bull Junior team last year and joined Arden in a Formula Regional European Championship seat. That proved to be a bad move, as he only scored at one of the 10 rounds, his average finishing position was below 18th and he lost his Red Bull backing at the end of the year.

However it was Leon’s first experience of European circuits, and FREC is a series where rookies rarely take to the front straight away. The Mexican is also a versatile talent, having proven his ability in stock car racing in his home country, so the adaptability may take time but shouldn’t rule him out of having a strong 2023 season with Euroformula’s top team.

He also beat two highly rated Canadian talents to become NACAM F4 champion in 2020 and then US F4 champion in ’21, so it’s not like Leon hasn’t proven himself yet in single-seaters either.

23. Bryce Aron USA, 19
2022: 12th in GB3 (1 win, 3 podiums)   2021: 12th in GB3   2020: 5th in BRSCC National FF1600 (1 pole)

Aron has spent the last three years racing in the United Kingdom, with two seasons of slicks-and-wings experience.

He started off in the entry-level Formula Ford 1600 category (or F1600 as it is known in the USA with Honda engines), coming third in his home country’s national championship in 2019 and then fifth in Britain’s the year after. That helped him get selected for the long-running Team USA Scholarship, who he represented in FF1600’s end-of-year classics.

In the FFord Festival at Brands Hatch he finished fifth, then a few weeks later at Silverstone came third in the Walter Hayes Trophy. Following that he progressed to GB3, where he scored more points in a podium-free rookie campaign with Carlin than he did last year with Hitech GP as he claimed a reversed-grid win at Donington Park and two other podiums.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

26. Jakob Bergmeister Germany, 17
2023: 40th in F4 UAE   2022 (karting): 14th in WSK Champions Cup – KZ2, 15th in WSK Open Cup – KZ2

Bergmeister is from a family with strong racing pedigree, as he has 1978 European Touring Car Championship runner-up Willi as a grandfather, two-time Le Mans 24 Hours class winner and multiple-time GT2/GTE endurance racing champion Jorg as an uncle and 2008 ADAC GT Masters champion Tim is his father.

The third-generartion Bergmeister has only recently switched to cars from shifter karting, where he won the German Cup in 2021 and then competed across Europe last year. He made his single-seater debut in F4 United Arab Emirates at the start of 2023, with a best finish of 20th from nine starts, so the F3-level Euroformula is a big jump up the ladder.

73. Cian Shields Scotland/Ireland, 18
2022: 13th in GB3 (1 win, 3 podiums)   2021 (karting): 10th in IAME Winter Cup – X30 Snr, 13th in IAME Euro Series – X30 Snr

Shields and Aron may have a head start in having been GB3 team-mates last year, so their ability to share feedback should help their other team-mates in Euroformula. It also makes it hard to tell which of the four will come out on top.

A reversed-grid win and two other podiums were the highlights for Shields in his rookie car racing campaign in 2022, having graduated from an impressive karting career in which he was Benelux champion in X30 Junior karts in 2019 before moving up to the Senior level in 2020 and coming third in the IAME Euro Series that year.

CryptoTower Racing Team

15. Enzo Trulli Italy, 18
2022: 34th in FIA F3   2021: 7th in Euroformula (4 podiums), F4 UAE champion (4 wins, 13 podiums)

Trulli during his 2021 Euroformula campaign

Trulli, the son of 2004 Monaco Grand Prix winner Jarno, is actually set to spend this year racing in Super Formula Lights, which also uses the Dallara 320, but after driving in Euroformula’s pre-season Barcelona test for Motopark has got a call-up to contest the season opener too. He was announced on Wednesday, just 24 hours before the pre-event test day, and told Formula Scout afterwards that “I still don’t know” whether he will appear in Euroformula again in 2023.

He is familiar with the series, having raced in it as a single-seater rookie in 2021. In that campaign he made the podium four times, impressive considering his inexperience and that he was driving for Drivex School and then Carlin rather than the dominant Motopark. Last year he struggled in FIA F3, so impressing in Algarve – even if it doesn’t lead to further outings – will be a good confidence boost.

28. Tim Tramnitz Germany, 18
2023: Currently 10th in FREC (1 pole), 20th in FRegional Middle East   2022: 15th in FREC

An even later signing than Trulli is Tramnitz, who was announced for Algarve on Wednesday evening. He came second in the ADAC and Italian F4 championships in 2021, then raced in FREC last year and so knows most of Euroformula’s tracks. His main 2023 programme is FREC, so his Euroformula debut this weekend is his only appearance in the series that’s set in stone.


BVM Racing

The Italian team’s plan is to run two cars, but has one driver signed at the time of writing. BVM has raced with a single car for its current driver Francesco Simonazzi since rejoining Euroformula in the penultimate round of the 2021 season, and claimed a win and three other podiums in 2022. Simonazzi delivered the team its first win in its 97th race in the series.

84. Francesco Simonazzi Italy, 19
2023: Currently NC in Italian F2000 Trophy (2 wins, 1 pole, 2 podiums)   2022: 6th in Euroformula (1 win, 4 podiums)

Simonazzi was best of the rest behind the Motopark/CryptoTower fleet last year, with his season highlight being victory at the Red Bull Ring. He also made the podium at the Hungaroring and Barcelona, and only had two finishes outside of the top 10.

He and the team need to make some improvements to take on the might of Motopark more often, and he has had an encouraging start to 2023 by taking his Dallara 320 to pole and victory in both races of the F2000 Italian Trophy season opener at Mugello.

However he was competing there as a guest driver, so scored no points, and the level of the opposition was lower than what he will be up against this weekend in Portugal. Prior to stepping up to Euroformula, Simonazzi came 14th in Italian F4 two years ago, with a best finish of fourth, and made the podium in a Spanish F4 cameo in 2020.


Effective Racing

The Czech team raced in six of the nine rounds last year, ‘stepping up’ from the Austrian F3 Cup, F2000 Italian Trophy and ESET Cup. All three race across Europe and utilise the Dallara 320 and previous-generation F3 cars, but are aimed at club racers rather than future F1 stars. Netusil, at his age, is probably not a future F1 star.

7. Vladimir Netusil Czech Republic, 41
2022: 11th in Euroformula   2021: Austrian F3 Open champion (6 wins, 9 podiums), 2nd in 2021 ESET Cup (2 wins, 6 podiums)

With an impressive CV in all of the series listed above, it made sense last year for Netusil [pictured top and above] to finally tackle the most competitive of Europe’s series that runs to F3-level machinery. He claimed a best finish of sixth on three occasions through the year, but opted to withdraw from racing on certain weekends so his progress was stunted. While it may be unlikely to see him on the overall podium this year, it’s the kind of result that might go down in junior single-seater folklore.


NV Racing

Another team-and-driver combination coming from further east in Europe after lots of success against other club racers to take on the professional teams in Euroformula. But they’re only down for Algarve at the moment, and will commit to further rounds it they feel competitive this weekend.

212. Paolo Brajnik Serbia
2022: F2000 Italian Trophy champion (5 wins, 3 poles, 6 podiums), 2nd in Austrian F3 Open (6 wins, 3 poles, 9 podiums), NC in ESET V4 Cup (1 win, 1 pole, 3 podiums)

Brajnik knows the majority of circuits on the calendar, and has won at a few of them already. The Serbian-licensed Italian has had an incredibly varied motorsport career that goes back to the 2000s and has included titles in superbikes, FIA Central European Zone F3 and the F2000 Italian Trophy, which he won last year in his Dallara 320.

He also campaigned that car in the Austrian F3 Cup, and contested practice for Euroformula’s Imola round last year before withdrawing from the races. His main rival will probably be Netusil, and they now have a ‘Gold Cup’ to contest between them as Euroformula has created a trophy-giving classification for drivers aged 35 and over.

Photo: Drexler Formula Cup

Noda Racing

This Japanese team is led by Hideki Noda, who raced in F1, IndyCar and SF during his career in the cockpit, and has run his daughter Juju through much of her single-seater career. She started racing F3 cars in her home country aged 13 in a competition called Formula U17, but age restrictions meant she had to step down to F4 when she started racing abroad.

The team followed her move to Europe, running her in Danish F4 and then relocating to Italy to compete in the Austrian F3 Cup. Last year that was in a FRegional car, and this year has prepared for Euroformula by competing there in a Dallara 320.

10. Juju Noda Japan, 17
2023: currently 2nd in F2000 Italian Trophy (2 podiums)   2022: 8th in Austrian F3 Open, 14th in W Series   2021: 7th in Danish F4 (5 podiums)   2020: 6th in Danish F4 (1 win, 3 poles, 3 podiums)

Noda had already made headlines at home with her single-seater exploits at a very young age, then when she came to race in Danish F4 during the pandemic she attracted international attention again by claiming pole, victory and fastest lap on her debut. But her wheel-to-wheel skills were not quite up to scratch, she got disqualified from her second race for using unregistered tyres, and despite taking pole in both of the remaining rounds she could only finish sixth in the standings.

In her second season there was even more scrutiny on Noda’s racing ability, and she got disqualified from her sole win of the year due to crashing into rival Emmo Fittipaldi. The pace was evident once again though, with front row starts and podiums, but an end position of seventh in the standings.

Noda was chosen to race in the FRegional-spec W Series in 2022, and scored once. Her Austrian F3 campaign in a FRegional car was not particularly strong, but after two rounds of this season – contested in a Dallara 320 – she has two podiums. Like Simonazzi, it will be difficult to threaten Motopark while driving for a one-car team. Both drivers are the underdogs for 2023.

2023 Euroformula calendar

1 Algarve, Portugal: April 28-30
2 Pau, France: May 12-14 [two-race round, Pau Grand Prix awarded in race two]
3 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium: May 26-28
4 Hungaroring, Hungary: June 16-18
5 Paul Ricard, France: July 21-23
6 Red Bull Ring, Austria: September 8-10
7 Monza, Italy: September 22-24
8 Barcelona, Spain: October 20-22