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  • Promotion achieved: Max Verstappen steps up to Formula One, Tom Blomqvist to DTM
  • 2015 season: eleven race weekends in eight countries
  • Five teams with 16 young drivers put their faith in the Dallara-Volkswagen combination

F3Upwards and onwards to Formula One with Volkswagen Power: Max Verstappen (NL) became the latest to make the ultimate step up – this year, a further 16 young drivers “powered by Volkswagen” are out to use the FIA Formula 3 European Championship as a springboard to a professional career. When the season kicks off in Silverstone (Great Britain, 10–12 April), five teams will turn to the 225-hp engines from Wolfsburg. In doing so, they put their faith in the tried-and-tested engine technology that proved so successful last season. In total, 18 victories went to drivers with Volkswagen Power behind them in 2014. Ten of these wins came courtesy of Max Verstappen, who this season becomes the youngest regular driver in the history of Formula One, as he lines up with the Toro Rosso team. Tom Blomqvist (GB), who races in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) in 2015, won six times. Of the current crop of Formula One drivers, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Daniil Kvyat (RUS), Felipe Nasr (BR) and Carlos Sainz junior (E) have all gained Formula 3 experience with Volkswagen. Marco Wittmann (D), also a former Volkswagen Junior, won the DTM championship in 2014.

“At Volkswagen, there is a tradition of promoting talented young drivers, and offering them the ideal training and preparation for their route into motorsport,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “The best example of this is Max Verstappen, who has already made the step up into Formula One at just 17 years of age. Furthermore, Tom Blomqvist lines up in the DTM this season. Success stories like these obviously make us proud. As such, we are looking forward to this year’s 16 young drivers who will hopefully catch the eye in 2015 with the tried-and-tested, thoroughbred Volkswagen racing engine behind them.”

Five strong teams, 16 talented youngsters hungry for success – Volkswagen in the Formula 3 European Championship

In Carlin, Jagonya Ayam with Carlin, Van Amersfoort Racing, and newcomers Signature and Motopark, five teams in the Formula 3 European Championship are putting their faith in engines from Wolfsburg – two teams and seven drivers more than last season. These also include the only lady in the field: Tatiana Calderón (CO), who lines up for Carlin. Her team-mates will be George Russell (GB) and Callum Ilott (GB). Starting for Jagonya Ayam with Carlin are Antonio Giovinazzi (I), who finished sixth overall last season, Gustavo Menezes (USA), eleventh overall in 2014, and Ryan Tveter (USA).
Following Verstappen’s step up into the pinnacle of motor racing, Van Amersfoort Racing this year turns to Charles Leclerc (MC), 2014 rookie of the year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps series. He is joined by Alessio Lorandi (I), who like Verstappen switches directly from karting to single-seater racing, and Arjun Maini (IND). The German team principal of Motopark, Timo Rumpfkeil, gives an opportunity to the youngest driver in the field this season: at 16 years of age, India’s Mahaveer Raghunathan just meets the minimum age requirement in order to line up in the Formula 3 European Championship. His team-mate Markus Pommer (D) won the 2014 ATS Formula 3 Cup “powered by Volkswagen”. Also in action for Motopark are Nabil Jeffri (MAL), Sérgio Sette Câmara (BR) and Sam Macleod (GB). Making its comeback is the Signature team, which won the Euro Series with Edoardo Mortara and Volkswagen in 2010, but withdrew from Formula 3 at the end of 2011. The French team includes drivers Dorian Boccolacci (F) and Alexander Albon (T).

Formula 3: from Hockenheim to Zandvoort – international and steeped in tradition

They all want to prove themselves on the big stage. The Formula 3 European Championship lines up from mid-April to mid-October as a partner of events in such prestigious series as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the DTM, and the ADAC GT Masters. There is one change in the 2015 calendar compared to last year: the iconic Formula One circuit in Monza (29–31 May) replaces another Italian racetrack in Imola. Among the highlights are the two race weekends in Hockenheim, the races on the tight Norisring street circuit, and the outing on the iconic “Ardennes Rollercoaster” at Spa-Francorchamps.

The tradition of Formula 3 dates back as far as the 1950s. Even today, it remains one of the most renowned junior classes in international motorsport and is seen as a springboard for talented youngsters to the pinnacle of single-seater racing, Formula One. Volkswagen is involved exclusively as an engine supplier in the junior class, which has produced such Formula One stars as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel. The Volkswagen brand can look back on a long, successful tradition in Formula 3. Between 1982 and 1991, seven Volkswagen drivers won the German Formula 3 championship alone. These included motorsport stars like eight-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Tom Kristensen, and seven-time Formula One world champion, Michael Schumacher.

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