HWA Racelab have announced that they will field Formula 3 graduates Matteo Nannini and Alessio Deledda as their lineup for the 2021 Formula 2 season.
Nannini had already been announced as one of HWA’s F3 drivers for this year, having made the switch from Jenzer Motorsport for his sophomore season. The decision to split the 2021 feeder series calendars, which will see F2 and F3 run on separate Grand Prix weekends, means Nannini is able to contest both championships for the team.
After initially struggling to score points with the uncompetitive Jenzer team in F3 last year, Nannini had a breakthrough weekend in Barcelona with tenth place in the feature race and his maiden series podium in third in the sprint race.
Deledda joins F2 as a controversial signing. In November last year he drew attention for a trio of videos posted on his Instagram, appearing to show himself weaving through a motorway traffic jam at high speed, exceeding 300km/h on a motorway, and driving at 200km/h on another public road. He subsequently claimed the videos were actually of other drivers, which he was sharing to “raise awareness” of “similar acts of villainy” on the road.
Speaking about the driver announcement, HWA team principal Thomas Strick called Nannini a “young and talented driver”, saying that HWA decided to field him in both feeder series’ so that he could be “introduced more quickly to the high performance of a Formula 1 car, as the Formula 2 car comes far closer to matching this performance”.
Nannini said: “I am really looking forward to such a busy season! 45 races in 2021 are going to be demanding, but I feel ready and determined to grow as a driver. I know it will not be easy, but I am willing to learn as much as possible.”
Formula 3 race winner Frederik Vesti has been announced as a new addition to the Mercedes junior driver academy, and as part of ART Grand Prix’s lineup for the 2021 F3 season.
Vesti finished fourth in last year’s F3 standings driving for Prema, having taken three feature race wins across the season—the most of any driver—and was a title contender until the final round. The year before, Vesti won the Formula Regional European Championship, also driving for Prema, with 13 wins from 24 rounds.
In joining ART as a Mercedes junior, Vesti follows in the footsteps of Esteban Ocon and George Russell, who both won the GP3 title with the French team and Mercedes backing in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
On becoming a Mercedes junior, Vesti said: “To now be working with Mercedes, the best team in the world, is a massive boost for my career and I am really looking forward to building a powerful relationship in the future.
“The collaboration between ART, Mercedes and me is the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey for me,” he added. “I’m convinced that will take me one step closer to my goal, which is to reach Formula 1.”
Mercedes Driver Development Advisor Gwen Lagrue said: “Fred’s commitment and dedication is something we love to see and hugely respect. We are happy to welcome him into the Mercedes family and look forward to seeing him fight for the title this season in FIA F3.”
ART team principal Sébastien Philippe added: “We know Frederik very well since he was one of our most formidable opponents last season in Formula 3, and we were eager to start our collaboration with him in Barcelona during the off-season testing. With Frederik, ART will try and win back the FIA F3 title.”
ART also announced on Tuesday that one of Vesti’s F3 teammates will be Aleksandr Smolyar, who will remain with the French team for his second season in 2020. Smolyar had a successful debut campaign with a pole position in Hungary and a podium in the Monza sprint race.
The Red Bull Junior Team announced a raft of feeder series’ placements for its drivers today, including seats in Formula 2 for Juri Vips, Liam Lawson and Jehan Daruvala.
Vips will return to the series full-time after making a stand-in appearance for Sean Gelael at DAMS last year, and will partner New Zealander Lawson at Hitech Grand Prix. Lawson graduates to F2 from Formula 3, where he also drove for Hitech and took three wins in his 2020 sophomore season to finish fifth in the standings.
Daruvala will remain with Carlin for his second F2 campaign. The Indian driver improved on a difficult start to his rookie year with a run of strong results in the last five rounds, which were capped off with his first podium and sprint race win in the Bahrain double header.
Red Bull also announced that three of its juniors will make their F3 debuts this year. Jonny Edgar and Jak Crawford, who finished first and second in the 2020 ADAC F4 championship, will race for Carlin and Hitech respectively. Honda-backed 2020 French F4 champion Ayumu Iwasa will also join Crawford at Hitech as a new member of the Red Bull Junior Team.
This follows Red Bull-supported Dennis Hauger being announced as one of Prema’s drivers at the end of last year.
Red Bull also added 13-year-old Swedish-British karter Arvid Lindblad to its junior team, following his championship victory in the 2020 OK Junior WSK Super Master Series.
Joey Alders has been one of the standout feeder series drivers since starting his single seater racing career in 2018.
After a strong debut in ADAC Formula 4, Joey swept the 2019 Asian Formula Renault Series. Driving for BlackArts Racing, he took eight wins, two second places and eleven poles from the championship’s twelve races, and won the title with 314 points.
Joey then moved onto the 2019–20 F3 Asian Championship, which he also dominated with BlackArts Racing, before making his Formula Renault Eurocup debut with MP Motorsport in the summer.
We spoke to Joey about his championship successes, his 2020 season, and his plans for the future.
1. First of all, you had a great start to the year by winning the F3 Asian Championship, after winning the Asian Formula Renault Series title in 2019. Can you describe what it means to win both titles and with such dominant campaigns as well?
Well, I have learned so much in a short period. With my team BlackArts Racing there was a chemistry, dedication, passion and a lot of fun. Even if we won, we worked harder to do better.
I can not describe how much this means to me. I can say it sucks that achievements in Asia are not highly regarded in general by people within the racing community in Europe.
2. Your move to Formula Renault Eurocup this year didn’t quite work out. What were some of the difficulties you had adapting to the Eurocup series and its car, and also what did you enjoy about it?
We had some very good testing days at Paul Ricard. I had never been there and I did enjoy it very much. I was within the top 5, and fastest in the rain most of the time. We did good and I was very grateful to Renault for this opportunity.
The budget is always a struggle for us, we were looking from race to race for support and sponsorship. In the end we went for a team [MP Motorsport] where we had the most chance for Dutch support. But I had never tested with this team.
When we look back, it was a gamble and unfortunately it turned out to be the biggest mistake we could make. It’s hard seeing the team we did test with battling for the podium.
3. You’ve said that your Formula Renault Eurocup season ended early because of budget. This year we’ve seen a lot of young drivers speak out about the rising costs of the feeder series’. Do you think more needs to be done to control the cost of single seater racing?
Well the costs are extreme. With this it’s more important having the budget than driving and getting good results. I don’t think that’s what we want.
4. You said earlier this year that you were targeting a move to Formula 2 for 2021. Can you give us any update on how that’s going? And are you looking at other options, like FIA F3 or Formula Regional?
Getting the budget is a race on its own. We’re still trying hard and I do have a unique concept with a cooperation with TrackSide Legends and Druktemaker. A sponsor gets these marketing companies with all opportunities with us.
I got the support of my team sponsor last year, Oloi, but I am a long way from the total budget. I have to keep my eyes open for other opportunities in single seaters because I am not done and I hope I still get the chance to show myself in Europe.
5. With your racing season having finished in July, how have you been keeping yourself ready and race fit for 2021 since then? Has the pandemic impacted how you would normally train this year?
The pandemic of course didn’t help at all. Finding support just got harder. I haven’t raced since July but the focus was on being physically fit and I did also E-Racing like everybody else.
It’s not ideal but also not a problem. I learn fast and after a few laps I know I will be there. It’s one of the strongest things of me as I have always have been the one with the least track time.
Prema has announced that Arthur Leclerc will join their FIA Formula 3 team for the 2021 season.
Leclerc, a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and young brother to Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles, enters F3 after finishing runner-up in this year’s Formula Regional European Championship, also with Prema. Leclerc took six wins and eight poles to contend for the title, but a retirement in the final round left him unable to challenge eventual champion Gianluca Petecof.
In preparation for his move to F3, Leclerc has also driven for Prema in both of the post-season F3 tests at Barcelona and Jerez.
“I am really happy to announce that I will step up to FIA F3 with Prema Racing next year,” Leclerc said. “It will be a completely new challenge for me, a lot more drivers on the grid and a weekend format that looks really exciting! I can’t wait to start the season.”
Prema team principal René Rosin said: “I am delighted to welcome Arthur to our FIA Formula 3 operation. He experienced a high quality season in 2020, ending up with more wins than anybody else in the Regional championship.
“His skills come with a dedicated approach to the hard work behind the scenes, which is clearly what we are looking for at this level.”
Leclerc is set to be joined by Red Bull junior and F3 sophomore Dennis Hauger, who also ran with Prema throughout post-season testing. Prema also rotated David Schumacher, Roman Stanek, Caio Collet and Oliver Rasmussen between its third car.
Prema Racing have announced that Oscar Piastri will step up to Formula 2 with the Italian team next year.
Renault junior Piastri had been set to graduate to F2 after winning the Formula 3 title with Prema earlier this year, beating rivals Theo Pourchaire and Logan Sargeant in the final race at Mugello.
It is expected that Piastri will take the place of Prema’s current driver and F2 championship leader Mick Schumacher, who is widely reported to be joining the Haas F1 team for 2021.
Piastri will also take place in the post-season F2 test in Bahrain next week.
“I’m super excited to be racing with Prema in the FIA Formula 2 championship,” Piastri said. “We had a very successful 2020 season, winning the Formula 3 championship together, and I’m hoping for another successful year with them.
“Prema has proven to be the team to beat once again in F2 this year, so I’m extremely happy to be moving into the championship with them.”
Prema team principal René Rosin said: “We are delighted to welcome Oscar to our FIA Formula 2 team. Having witnessed his progress and success throughout the 2020 season, taking our relationship to the next step for the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship felt like the natural thing to do and we look forward to having him on track right from Bahrain.”
Prema has yet to announce whether Schumacher’s current teammate Robert Shwartzman, who sits fourth in the F2 standings with four wins, will remain alongside Piastri for next year.
Formula 2 and Formula 3 have announced that they will run separate calendars in 2021, rather than both running on the same Grand Prix weekend, to cut costs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the new calendar plans, F2 and F3 will run three races across their respective weekends instead of both running two races as they currently do. This change means that F2 can match its 2020 total of 24 races by running at eight F1 events, while F3 will increase to 21 races across seven events.
The changes are being made to cut the logistical costs incurred by teams by reducing the number of different venues travelled to throughout the season.
F2 and F3 CEO Bruno Michel said of the calendar changes: “One of our core values since the launch of the GP2 Series back in 2005 has been cost control. Today, more than ever, it has to be at the heart of our strategy.
“We strongly feel that [the calendar split] has to be done and put in place as quickly as possible to ensure the stability of both championships in the years to come.”
As well as the new schedule, F2 and F3 also announced changes to its technical and sporting regulations also aimed at lowering the costs of the championships.
F2 will not introduce a new chassis for its next three-year regulation cycle beginning in 2021, instead keeping the Dallara F2 2018 until 2023. F3 is also likely to do the same with its current chassis, which was introduced in 2019, when its next three-year cycle begins in 2022.
Furthermore, the costs of engine leases and certain spare parts, as well as logistical and freight costs, will be cut for both championships.
Trident’s Jack Doohan set the fastest time in Formula 3’s final post-season test at Jerez, ahead of teammate Clement Novalak.
Doohan set his best time of a 1:29.041s during his qualifying simulations in the morning session. This session was interrupted multiple times with red flags brought out for Alessandro Famularo (Campos), Olli Caldwell (ART), Francesco Pizzi (MP Motorsport) and Jonathan Hoggard (Campos), but Doohan was still able to log a respectable 42 laps in between the stoppages.
Novalak came close to Doohan in the sister Trident, but was ultimately kept off the top of the timesheets by just 0.019s. However, Novalak recorded more laps than his teammate with 45 in the morning session, and a day’s total of 101 to Doohan’s 92.
Jenzer’s Calan Williams had another strong day of testing as he again finished the day third-fastest. Williams was also second-fastest in the second session, with his 1:30.238s being only 0.14s slower than afternoon pacesetter Igor Fraga.
Hitech rookie Jak Crawford was fourth-fastest overall ahead of Charouz’s David Beckmann. Dennis Hauger (Prema) and Caio Collet (ART) were early pacesetters before Doohan’s run, but ended the day sixth and seventh respectively.
Hoggard was eighth fastest despite ending the morning session early with his spin into the gravel at Turn 5. Arthur Leclerc (Prema) and Enzo Fittipaldi (HWA) were ninth and tenth.
Leclerc logged the fewest laps of the day with 60, while Charouz rookie Konsta Lappalainen recorded the most with 103, despite finishing 28th in the overall times.
Roman Stanek topped the first day of Formula 3’s final post-season test at Jerez, pipping Prema’s Arthur Leclerc by 0.048s.
Stanek, driving for ART after testing for Prema himself in Barcelona, bucked the trend of the first post-season test by setting his best and the overall fastest time in the afternoon session. The Czech driver was only 11th in the morning session, but in the afternoon he was one of only two drivers to dip below 1:30s with a 1:29.928s.
Leclerc was the other driver to do so with a 1:29.976s. Jonathan Hoggard, driving for Hitech, picked up his impressive display from the first test by finishing the day third-fastest, just 0.086s off Stanek’s benchmark.
Jack Doohan, returning with Trident, finished fourth overall after topping the morning session. Dennis Hauger was fifth for Prema and second behind Doohan in the morning.
Enzo Fittipaldi (HWA), Clement Novalak (Trident), Igor Fraga (Hitech), Frederik Vesti (ART) and rookie Caio Collet (Prema) rounded out the top ten.
Clement Novalak ended the second day of Formula 3 testing in Barcelona on top of the timesheets, with Trident teammate Jack Doohan in second.
Novalak was on the pace throughout the morning session. Hitech’s Igor Fraga set the initial pace with a 1:33.033s, but this was swiftly beaten by Novalak. The Trident driver was briefly deposed by Matteo Nannini, driving from ART after topping yesterday’s test with Campos, but by the end of the session Novalak was back on top with a benchmark of 1:31.989s.
Nannini stayed in second until late in the session, when Doohan put in a 1:32.147s to drop Nannini to third ahead of Fraga. Doohan also recorded the most laps of the day with 91.
Jenzer rookie Jonathan Hoggard impressed by ending the day fifth-fastest ahead of ART’s Olli Caldwell, and then topping the afternoon session which focused on race simulations.
Renault junior Victor Martins made it all three ARTs in the top seven, while Dennis Hauger (Prema), Calan Williams (Jenzer) and David Schumacher (Trident) rounded out the top ten.
Hauger was the only Prema driver in the top ten in the morning session, with Roman Stanek P17 and Arthur Leclerc P22. However, the reigning champions had a much stronger afternoon with Stanek and Hauger second and third behind Hoggard, and Leclerc fifth behind Fraga.