Vittorio Ghirelli will not race in the GP3 Series at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, with his place at Jenzer Motorsport being taken by Alex Fontana.
17-year-old Italian Ghirelli has been racing in the category for a second consecutive season, with a best result of eighth coming at Barcelona earlier in the year. ItaliaRacing.net reports that he has chosen to suspend his GP3 campaign, instead deciding to focus on his Formula Renault programme.
His seat will be taken by 19-year-old Swiss-Greek driver Fontana, who is currently leading the European F3 Open standings. His only victory so far this season came at the Beglian circuit.
“I have learned a fundamental notion, that when the train passes, it is best to take it. And that is why I accepted the offer to run the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix in the category GP3 Series,” Fontana said in an announcement on his official website on Tuesday.
“The offer came yesterday morning from Andreas Jenzer of Jenzer Motorsport. A big thank you for the opportunity given to me by Mr. Jenzer, a big thank you to [F3 team boss] Angelo Corbetta for having released me for this event and a big thanks to Dad who has followed the negotiations and played the role of manager.
“I do not know the car, the engine is turbocharged and the gear change is behind the steering wheel. In short, everything is new except the track, where I feel very much at home. The risks are there but there is nothing else but to take this train and see where it takes us.”
Fontana will join Richie Stanaway and Daniel Mancinelli in making his GP3 debut at Spa.