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Teams praise junior series ladder for “increasingly well prepared” F3 rookies

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Formula 3 teams have praised how well prepared rookies now are entering the championship from a background of racing in Formula 4 and Formula Regional.

There are three FRegional series in Europe, two in Asia and continental series for North America and Oceania, and there are over 20 series worldwide for FIA F4 cars.

On this year’s F3 grid, six drivers already had F3-level experience from Euroformula, 18 raced in FRegional before their debut, four stepped up from GB3 and only two – Sophia Floersch and Kacper Sztuka – went directly from the entry-level F4 category to F3.

“For sure at the moment the ladder, they prepare well the drivers back from F4 into FRegional, stepping up in F3,” said Prema team principal Rene Rosin.

“Of course F3 has its own characteristic. Like more higher you go in the ladder, more difficulties, more challenges. The track time is much less, which is a characteristic of our championship to be mediated, to be able to do laptimes quite soon. So for sure drivers coming into F3 will find some difficulties. But at the end, this is the way of the preparation that’s needed if you want to perform and going back to Formula 1.”

MP Motorsport’s F3 team manager Jeremy Cotterill was in agreement: “The drivers that are coming through from F4 and FRegional European Championship are increasingly well prepared when they arrive with us. But F3 has its own techniques they have to learn quickly because of limitations on track time.”

Tim Tramnitz is part of MP’s all-rookie F3 line-up and the big differences he noted from FRegional were more to do with the car than the challenges of race weekends.

“There’s a lot more power. And a lot more aero,” he said to Formula Scout. “So you can just drive a lot faster and go quick into the corners, brake later. All these kind of things. So I really enjoy the F3 car.”

Fellow rookie and FRegional graduate Santiago Ramos, who is racing for Trident, called F3 “definitely more demanding”.

“There needs to be more preparation before the race weekend. It’s super tough,” he admitted to Formula Scout. “Doing a lot of simulator, a lot of work with engineers because the track time is really limited, we have one or two laps maybe in free practice and then we need to go directly to perform in qualifying.”

Hitech GP’s team principal Oliver Oakes said he has been wowed by seeing more younger drivers, as well as better prepared ones, at each level of single-seaters.

“Today we’re quite fortunate, actually, that the ladder, the sort of single-seater pyramid, means the drivers come to us pretty well prepared. Particularly from F4 level up now. I almost have to smile going that kids are getting in a race car at 15 when I only finish karting at 17 back in my day. And then we’re having kids in F3 at 16 and 17 in Formula 2. I mean, it’s amazing what they can do and how well prepared they are already.”