Sixteen-year-old Alessio Lorandi has made the big jump from karting to the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, signing for Van Amersfoort Racing for the 2015 season.
The Italian is attempting to follow in the footsteps of Max Verstappen, who did the same jump in 2014, but unlike Verstappen, Lorandi’s first single seater race will be in European Formula 3. Verstappen competed in a number of races in the Ferrari-backed Florida Winter Series in 2013/14 before making his F3 debut.
Lorandi has tested with Van Amersfoort Racing at the Lausitzring, Silverstone, Monteblanco and Valencia in recent months, and decided to join the team for the 2015 season despite interest from Formula Renault teams.
Team Principal Fritz van Amersfoort revealed that talking to Verstappen made them take the plunge with Lorandi, with the Dutchman speaking highly of his Italian rival.
“When we speak with Max, he always says the only guy who came into his neighbourhood in karting was Alessio Lorandi, so we’d better do a deal with him,” said van Amersfoort. “When we first ran him at Lausitz you could clearly see he had no experience, but when he came back a few weeks later we could see how good he was – he’s a good little driver.
“We all understand it’s a big step for him like it was a big step for Max, but even if he does just a little bit of what Max did it will be great.”