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ma-con promote Andre Rudersdorf to European F3

by Valentin Khorounzhiy

Photo: formel3.de

17-year-old German youngster Andre Rudersdorf will make the step up to F3 European Championship in 2013 with ma-con Motorsport, it was announced today.

Rudersdorf began his open-wheel career in 2011, taking part in ADAC Formel Masters and placing 19th at the end of the season, with twelve points in total. In 2012, Rudersdorf joined ma-con full-time, taking the title in both the German F3 Trophy class and in the Austrian F3 championship.

Concerning his promotion, Rudersdorf said: “In 2012, ma-con Motorsport was racing with two cars in the Formula 3 Euro Series that now is upgraded by the transformation into the newly created FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The cooperation in the team is outstanding and following two very successful seasons we jointly hope that we also will be able to make for the one or the other positive surprise in my debut season as the arguably youngest rookie on the grid of this series featuring numerous international top drivers”.

The two cars that ma-con ran in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2012 were driven by Tom Blomqvist and Emil Bernstorff. The British duo earned three podiums for the team and allowed it to take a reasonable fourth in the teams’ standings at the end of the year.

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By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Rudersdorf’s promotion came a little out of nowhere but, perhaps, should’ve been more expected given his loyalty to the team and relative successes in 2012. What is obvious, however, is that, while Andre could have the potential to – as he puts it – be a surprise package in European F3, his track record does not suggest he is really ready for such a step up.

The signing of drivers like Rudersdorf and Roy Nissany into what is now effectively the main and pretty much the only major F3 category could be seen as a reflection of what is being done to Formula 3 organisation-wise. With Italian F3 out of the picture and British F3 slashed to a paltry four rounds in order to keep it alive, the newly branded FIA F3 European Championship stands as the only option for upcoming talents making a step up to F3 machinery (with German F3 still seemingly in the picture, but, with only one driver announced so far and a calendar of something like three tracks, also significantly cut down).

This should not happen, as it creates a monopoly-like situation in the F3 hierarchy. The national-level tournaments are being disassembled, having been the main options for promising lower series graduates (Italian F3 for Formula Abarth, German F3 for ADAC Formel Masters), and some championship has to accommodate those drivers. With the FR2.0 grids already bursting and GP3 requiring a significant budget and being way too competitive for relative rookies, it seems FIA Formula 3 European Championship becomes the primary target for most drivers leaving the national level.

With that, the very problem that stands most clear before the junior level formulae, i.e. budgets, is only being increased, as European F3, with its limited seats, may become a battle of the budgets. Early signs were good, with lots of young talent (with prior national F3 experience, mind you) like Lucas Auer and Alex Lynn signing on, but, with the not-so-shining stars joining in, it will be a lot tougher for the series to stay what it sets out to be.

When Gerhard Berger proposed the idea of the unified European F3 championship, he had in mind a clearer place in the hierarchy of junior racing, where talent would be more easily spotted on its way up. Instead, what we might get is lots of budgeted, but seemingly unprepared drivers, struggling to make any kind of impression, as their (also budgeted) more experienced colleagues fight it out for the title, leaving no seats for those struggling with funding. For something that sets out to set the problems of GP2 and GP3, that sure sounds a lot like the situation in those two series.