Italian team Prema Powerteam started the weekend with a double setting the tone for the 2013 FIA F3 European Championship!
Getting the season off to a good start is very important, as it can often prove crucial. On the high-speed Monza circuit German Pascal Wehrlein (Kfteile24 Mücke Motorsport) put on a stunning performance in qualifying by setting the first two pole positions of the year. But when the lights went out Raffaele Marciello shot through from the second row and took the lead under braking for the first chicane. “I made a normal start. I think it was the others who were a bit slow off the mark,” said the Italian who lives in Maranello.
The Ferrari Driver Academy member led the race from start to finish and took the chequered flag from his team-mate, Lucas Auer, who had got the better of Wehrlein on lap 10. “When you’re flying the Ferrari colours it’s obviously important to win at Monza, all the more so as Luca Baldisseri, the Ferrari Driver Academy manager, was here today. Last year although I won nine races I finished second in the championship so I know I have to change my approach this year. In other words, I don’t have to try and win every race but concentrate on racking up the points. It’s a good start but there’s no sense in getting carried away.”
René Rosin, the Prema Powerteam team manager, feels the same as his driver. “There are another twenty-nine races to go! There are some very good teams and drivers in this year’s FIA F3 European Championship. We know it’s going to be a closely-fought battle from start to finish. I’d like to congratulate the whole team on their work as we’ve scored a double with Raffaele Marciello in front of Lucas Auer. Alex Lynn and Eddie Cheever were also in the points, and if they hadn’t been a bit over impetuous they could have finished in the top five. During the winter we did a lot of work to have a competitive race car and it’s paid off today.”
Behind Marciello, Auer and Wehrlein there were battles all through the field in the first race of the year. William Buller (ThreeBond with T-Sport) confirmed his promising winter testing form by finishing fourth in front of Harry Tincknell (Carlin).
Felix Serrales (Fortec Motorsport) and rookie Jordan King (Carlin) finished sixth and seventh after a race-long scrap, the two drivers swapping places almost every lap in a thrilling fair fight. Alex Lynn (Prema Powerteam), Dennis Van der Laar (Van Amersfoort Racing) and Eddie Cheever (Prema Powerteam) rounded out the first top 10 of the season.
There are two more races to come at Monza. On Sunday morning Wehrlein will start from pole in front of Marciello, and in the afternoon the positions will be reversed with the Italian on pole in front of the German.