28 of the brightest young talents took part in the first official test day for the FIA F3 European Championship at the Circuit de Catalunya, with the full 4.655km Formula One GP layout being used for both days. Dry and sunny conditions meant that the times got progressively faster as the day went on, as Prema Powerteam‘s Italian wunderkind, Raffaele Marciello, a Ferrari Driver Academy protégé lead the field, being followed by team-mate Alex Lynn and ThreeBond with T-Sport lead driver William Buller, as the trio were split by 6 tenths of a second.
Buller, who finished fifth overall last season in the F3 Euroseries, was happy with the way it all started, even though he was getting to grips of the Nissan engine and Dallara chassis combination, but one thing was clearly on his mind: “I’m really happy with our performance and even more, so as we used the afternoon session for executing our scheduled test programme instead of trying to set fast lap times. I want to have fun and win the title.“
Lucas Auer, Harry Ticknell and Måns Grenhagen rounded up the top six, with the Swede still putting in fast times, even with his lack of experience in F3: “The level in the European Championship is really high, there are a lot of fast drivers on the grid who also have got experience with the Hankook tyres, so I wasn’t able to make full use of the tyres’ potential. I certainly still have to learn some things but the beginning wasn’t too bad.”
Sven Müller, who now switches to ma-con Motorpsort this year, a team he is familiar with from his ADAC Formula Masters days, felt comfortable being back at a previous haunt, and went well, placing 7th. 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of The Year runner-up, Jordan King, along with Pascal Wehrlein and 2012 Formula Pilota China Champion, Antonio Giovinazzi, completed the top ten, with Josh Hill, racing for Fortec this year, ending up in 22nd place.
Double R Racing‘s Tatiana Calderón finished a respectable 20th, with Romeo Ferraris‘ Michela Cerruti still trying to find her feet at the bottom of the pile. The Colombian was pretty pumped up about her results on the first day: “Never before have I raced in such a top-class series. The European Championship is contested by the best Formula 3 drivers worldwide and some of them definitely will make it to Formula 1. I learned a lot of new things today and I certainly will keep on doing so. I’m totally delighted with having the chance of racing in this series and I’m also really happy with my performance.”