Home Featured Marino Sato stays with Motopark for second season of European F3

Marino Sato stays with Motopark for second season of European F3

by Peter Allen

Marino Sato

Marino Sato will remain with Motopark in the Formula 3 European Championship next season.

The 18-year-old Japanese racer stepped up to F3 in 2017 with Motopark following two seasons in Italian Formula 4, and scored a solitary point in race three at the Red Bull Ring in September.

Team boss Timo Rumpfkeil believes Sato showed good progress during last season, and will be capable of a further step forward when he returns this year.

“2017 was a?difficult year for Marino ? after all, the decision to join F3 came very late and with the exception of Monza and Spielberg, he didn’t know any of the tracks,” Rumpfkeil said.

“We all knew it would be a tough year. But Marino learnt his lessons fast and well; the points scored in Austria show how steep and yet successful his learning curve was.

“We backed that up with an extensive testing and preparation programme in the autumn and winter of 2017; Marino will hence start next season on a much higher level.

“We expect him in the top 10 regularly, with potential for more on various occasions.”

Yokohama-born Sato added: “I?m glad to get another crack at F3 with Team Motopark. I learnt a lot in 2017 and feel much more ready for the championship now.

“This is one of the key reasons why I opted for Team Motopark in the first place, and it has proved right ever since: the team is not only spot-on during race weekends but more than that, they offer a great teach-and-learn scheme in between races, be it in the factory, on the DIL [simulator] or through video and data analysis, or by way of a very effective testing programme.

“I wanted to learn as much about Formula 3 as I could in my maiden year, and in Team Motopark, I found the best possible teachers.”

Motopark has been tipped to enter as many as six cars this season.

Red Bull Junior Dan Ticktum is set to contest a full campaign after his Macau Grand Prix win with the team, while ADAC Formula 4 graduate Fabio Scherer was the first driver announced for the 2018 grid back in October.

Three other F4 drivers have been linked to contesting their rookie F3 seasons with the team after testing at the end of 2017: ADAC champion Juri Vips (who already raced for the team at the Hockenheim season finale), South African Jonathan Aberdein and Venezuela’s Sebastian Fernandez.