There will be three debutants in the GP3 Series this weekend at Silverstone with the news that Fabio Gamberini will take part for Atech CRS GP in place of John Wartique.
Belgian driver Wartique contested the first three rounds of the season for the British team, claiming a best result of 12th at Valencia – an achievement considering he had only been racing Renault Clios and Peugeot 207s before.
He has now been forced onto the sidelines however while he seeks new partners. He has been replaced by Brazilian driver Gamberini.
The 19-year-old finished third in the European F3 Open last year, one place behind Valencia podium finisher David Fumanelli. Prior to that, Gamberini raced in Formula Renault UK.
At the end of the year he sampled GP3 machinery for the MW Arden, Status Grand Prix and Mucke Motorsport teams in Spain. He has yet to race anything in 2012 as he was working on securing the budget to race in GP3. The deal is a one-off for now, but he hopes to be able to extend the deal.
“I'm really pleased to be finally making my GP3 debut,” said Gamberini. “After eight months out of a race car it will be a tough challenge so I shall be hoping just to be competitive at this stage and hopefully collect some points.
“I raced at Silverstone two years ago; it's a great circuit, the best in the UK, and undoubtedly one of the best in the world. Atech is a very good team, they give a lot of attention to the drivers and are respected by everybody, so thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to race here this weekend.”
Team principal David Hayles said: “Fabio is without doubt a highly talented racer, with a great pedigree and huge success in Formula 3. We look forward to hopefully a strong result for him and for Tamas and Ethan on our home track.
“Naturally we are disappointed that John has been let down with his funding coming through on time as he’s been making such fantastic progress and we would welcome him back anytime.”
Gamberini joins Facu Regalia and Giovanni Venturini in lining up on the GP3 grid for the first time this weekend. Regalia has replaced Jakub Klasterka at Jenzer Motorsport, while Venturini will drive Trident Racing's third car.
The number of cars dropped to a new low of 24 cars at Valencia, but the arrival of these three and the return of Kotaro Sakurai at Status Grand Prix after missing Valencia due to budget issues, will mean a 'full' grid of 27 at Silverstone.