Cassidy set for Euro F3 season

| Photographer Credit: Euro F3 Series

This weekend Kiwi driver Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) takes to the track as the FIA Formula 3 European Championship kicks off the 2016 season with the first three races, held at the 3.841-kilometre long Circuit Paul Ricard, located at Le Castellet, France. Here in Southern France, not far from the famous Côte d’Azur, the fastest young drivers from 16 countries and six continents will battle it out for race wins, points and positions for the first time in 2016.

Last year, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship was won by the experienced Swede Felix Rosenqvist and now, it’s all about finding his successor. During the official tests at Vallelunga, Italy, held in early May, some of the young drivers already proved to be in great form. On the first day of testing, three rookies – Joel Eriksson, Niko Kari and Guanyu Zhou (all Motopark) – secured the top positions on the time sheets but on the second day, the fraction of the more experienced drivers struck back: Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) finished first and second respectively, with Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing) following in third position.

The son of three-time F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet is an FIA F3 European Championship newcomer but having won the Formula 3 Championship at home in Brazil twice he is anything but an F3 rookie. The best rookie on day two was Frenchman Antoine Hubert who clinched fifth place on the time sheets and succeeded in improving consistently, during the first test for his new team, Van Amersfoort Racing.

But although none of the four Prema Powerteam drivers made it to the top positions on one of the days of testing at Vallelunga, the young drivers racing for the Italian squad that dominated the championship in recent years shouldn’t be underestimated. This applies in particular to Lance Stroll who finished fifth in the championship, last year, and to Maximilian Günther, eighth in the 2015 drivers’ championship.

Due to their achievements in the 2015 season they both are among the favourites in the battle for the 2016 title. And with George Russell (HitechGP), sixth in 2015 and Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) who came ninth last year, the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid features another two drivers who made it to the top 10, last year, and are about to start into their second season in the competitive young-gun series.

But before battling it out for the grid positions in Qualifying on Friday for the three races of the weekend, the competitors will be offered the opportunity to prepare at Le Castellet – during a full day of testing on the Thursday prior to the race meeting. They can use this day to perfectly familiarise themselves with the French circuit and find the optimum setup for the season kick-off at the same time.

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