Nikita Bedrin has been a surprise addition to the Formula Regional European Championship field for the final two rounds of the season, after racing in FIA Formula 3 this year.
He received a late call-up from Monolite Racing for the Zandvoort round last weekend, and told Formula Scout in the paddock: “I’m just trying to get some experience, getting some kilometres done. It’s better than staying home as I’m not doing [FIA F3] testing.”
His only prior experience with the Tatuus Formula Regional car came in the Middle East championship earlier this year, so his aim was “to learn as I haven’t been driving this car yet. Especially the tyres. So why not?”
Monolite’s sporting director Mattia Tremolada explained: “The first time we got in touch with PHM was on Sunday and the deal was reached on Tuesday.”
Bedrin was at school in Italy when he got the call later that day, telling him to get to Zandvoort as quickly as possible.
“As soon as he finished school on Tuesday he sent us all the documents and we sent them to FREC. Then he booked a flight here,” Tremolada said.
“It was raining so much on Thursday and Friday in the collective tests. We put on slick tyres for the first time for qualifying. For sure, he knew the car from the Emirates but the Giti tyres are very, very different from the Pirellis [used in FRECA].”
Bedrin acquitted himself very well, taking a ninth and a fifth in the two races, although as a guest driver he was ineligible for points.
“He was just brilliant,” said Tremolada. “Just three-tenths off pole. And then in race one he had to fight like a lion with [Maceo] Capietto. Even when Capietto overtook him he was immediately in front again at the following corner.”
After a promising first season in F3 with Jenzer Motorsport, Bedrin’s goal was to continue in the series. However, “budget problems,” have made things difficult. At this stage, he fears “it is difficult to get a seat now as everyone wants to pay to get into F3.”
“There is still a bit of hope,” although the chances are slim, he admits. If he does return, then it is unlikely to be with Jenzer. “PHM is managing me so if I do F3 it will be with PHM most likely.
“Of course, we are still working with them. It’s just a difficult choice for them to make whether they put me in F3 or not. I would still like of course to do F3 but we have to wait and see.”
He is keeping his options open, even being prepared to step down a level to stay on the junior single-seater ladder: “Regional or Eurocup is, I think, the best option if not F3.”
Bedrin admits an outing in the third post-season FIA F3 test at Imola is unlikely and will instead remain in FREC, returning to his former team, Van Amersfoort Racing, for the final round at Hockenheim.