Italian Ferrari Driver Academy protégé Raffaele Marciello has followed the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Roberto Merhi and Daniel Juncadella in winning one of the most recognized championships in a single-seater driver’s career, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
He fended off close rival Felix Rosenqvist to claim the title in yesterday’s penultimate race of the championship at Hockenheim, finishing in fourth place during this weekend, finishing off a very impressive season that has seen him dominate at times, but also struggle at others.
Before the final race of the season gets underway this afternoon, the 18-year-old has won twelve times, got onto the podium 18 times, as well as securing 12 pole positions and 7 fastest race laps, and is the third driver that has claimed the title with Prema Powerteam, following both Juncadella and Merhi.
In an interesting statistic, twelve of the drivers that comprise the grid in Formula One today have won races with Mercedes-Benz power in Formula 3, which includes Hamilton, triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel and 2010 DTM Champion, Paul di Resta.
Marciello has now got the chance to prove himself in a Mercedes DTM test having been invited by Head of Motorsport, Toto Wolff, as a result of his success in Formula 3, where four of the current line up have had success through the ranks of this class.
“To triumph in such a keenly contested racing series is an extraordinary achievement, and he has well and truly earned the title. Here at Mercedes-Benz, we have had considerable success over the years in promoting young talent in the sport,” said Wolff, who congratulated the Italian star on his title success this season. “It therefore gives me great pleasure to offer Raffaele a test drive in a Mercedes-Benz DTM car as a reward for his achievements this year. It goes to show that, if you work hard for success in Formula 3, it can lead on to greater things in your motor racing career.”
This could also provide a possible stepping stone for what happens next for Marciello, as he still has his sights firmly set on Formula One in the next few years or so, but was clearly very pleased with the confidence Mercedes-Benz have in him: “I can hardly believe that I am the latest in a long line of Formula 3 champions such as Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta who have experienced success at this level with a Mercedes-Benz powered car and have then made the step up to the DTM and Formula 1. Obviously, I still have some way to go, so I’m all the more grateful to Mercedes-Benz for this invitation to test a DTM car. I’ll be doing my very best to justify the confidence they have shown in me and to use the opportunity to learn as much as possible for my future development.”
With the driver market starting to possibly see moves for drivers ahead of the 2014 DTM season, could we see this Italian driver move up via promotion like both Juncadella and Pascal Wehrlein this season? We’ll have to wait and find out how the chess pieces fall into place.