This weekend sees the 2015 European Formula 3 Championship get underway, with thirty-six full-time confirmed entrants from eighteen countries in twelve teams fighting to follow in the footsteps of Esteban Ocon to fight for the championship.
2014 was a strong year for the series, and the new crop of talent looking to shine, with just seven series returnees looking to battle a whole host of rookie drivers that come from various series’ from around the globe, including a host of series champions and multiple race winners.
Prema Powerteam continued their dominance of the Teams’ Championship in 2014, and field a strong-looking line-up for 2015, with a mixture of youth and experience. Felix Rosenqvist returns for another season in the series having joined Prema from Mücke Motorsport, and will be joined by Jake Dennis, who moves from Carlin in his sophomore season.
Two rookies complete the squad, with Ferrari Driver Academy driver Lance Stroll moving up from winning last seasons Italian Formula 4 championship, with Brandon Maisano, who won the Italian F4 Trophy last year, beating drivers in the main championship, like team-mate Stroll, on occasion.
Carlin continue to field six cars, with the blue side of the garage signing Tatiana Calderon from Jo Zeller Racing, the only female in the large field, alongside two British rookies in the form of 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Champion George Russell and talented Callum Ilott, who steps up from go-karting with Red Bull backing in his pocket.
The yellow side of the Carlin garage continues to be backed by Jagonya Ayam, and sees Antonio Giovinazzi remain with the team for a second season, having won twice in 2014. He is joined by Gustavo Menezes, who has moved from Van Amersfoort Racing, and by Ryan Tveter, who moves from Formula Renault 2.0. Sean Gelael will also compete for the team again in 2015 when his Formula Renault 3.5 Series commitments allow.
Mücke Motorsport are fielding five entrants in 2015, with Santino Ferrucci moving across from Fortec Motorsports and Michele Beretta from EuroInternational. They will be joined by three rookie drivers, with 2014 ADAC Formel Masters champion Mikkel Jensen and runner-up Maximilian Gunther joining German Formula 3 graduate Kang Ling in the team.
Van Amersfoort Racing, who last year had the talents of 2015 Formula 1 star Max Verstappen on board, sees Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc move up from the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship, where he finished runner-up to new Formula Renault 3.5 Series driver Nyck de Vries.
Leclerc will be joined by two more rookie drivers in a team, with sixteen-year-old Karting star Alessio Lorandi making the big jump into Formula 3, while seventeen-year-old Arjun Maini moves up from finishing runner-up in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
Team West-Tec F3 return for their sophomore season with a brand new all-rookie line-up, with German ADAC Formel Masters graduate Fabian Schiller being joined by South African Raoul Hyman, who finished third in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
Fortec Motorsports are another team to increase the size of their entry for 2015, with the team doubling from two to four cars. Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi is perhaps the most high-profile name in the whole series, with the third generation Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, stepping up from winning the Protyre Formula Renault Championship in Britain.
He will be joined at the team by a trio of 2014 British Formula 3 stars, with series champion Martin Cao and runner-up Matt Rao, plus Chinese driver Zhi Cong Li stepping up into the European Formula 3 team.
EuroInternational have hired Dane Nicolas Beer for their team for 2015, having seen their original plans of fielding him in the German Formula 3 championship fall apart when the series was cancelled due to dwindling entry levels.
German driver Marvin Kirchhöfer, who will dovetail his Euro F3 campaign with a second season in the GP3 Series, which will take priority when race weekends clash, will join him for most of the season in the second seat.
Whereas some teams increased their entries for 2015, the ThreeBond with T-Sport team will field only one car this season for Ecuadorian driver Julio Moreno, who steps up Formula Renault 2.0 NEC.
Double R Racing, who ran a partial campaign in 2014, return with two entries in 2015, with German Nicolas Pohler moving from EuroFormula Open alongside Hong Kong driver Matt Solomon, who moves up from Formula Masters China.
Signature make a welcome return to the series, and have an all-Lotus Junior Team line-up for 2015, with Thai driver Alexander Albon moving from Formula Renault 2.0 alongside Dorian Boccolacci, who finished runner-up in the French Formula 4 Championship last year.
The final team in the series is Motopark, who will debut in the series in 2015 with no fewer than five entries. German Formula 3 Champion Markus Pommer, runner-up Nabil Jeffri and fourth placed Sam MacLeod all join the team this season, alongside Karting graduate Sergio Sette Camara and 2014 Italian F4 Championship driver Mahaveer Raghunathan.
Thirty-six full-time entries, and with champions up and down the field – let the battle commence!
2015 FIA European Formula 3 Championship Entry List
|1||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Prema Powerteam||Mercedes|
|2||Jake Dennis||GBR||Prema Powerteam||Mercedes|
|3||Antonio Giovinazzi||BRZ||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Volkswagen|
|4||Gustavo Menezes||USA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Volkswagen|
|5||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Mucke Motorsport||Mercedes|
|6||Michele Beretta||ITA||Mucke Motorsport||Mercedes|
|7||Charles Leclerc||MON||Van Amersfoort Racing||Volkswagen|
|8||Alessio Lorandi||ITA||Van Amersfoort Racing||Volkswagen|
|11||Fabian Schiller||GER||Team West-Tec F3||Mercedes|
|12||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRZ||Fortec Motorsports||Mercedes|
|14||Matt Rao||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||Mercedes|
|17||Julio Moreno||ECU||ThreeBond with T-Sport||NBE|
|18||Nicolas Pohler||GER||Double R Racing||Mercedes|
|19||Matt Solomon||HKG||Double R Racing||Mercedes|
|23||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||Motopark||Volkswagen|
|24||Brandon Maisano||FRA||Prema Powerteam||Mercedes|
|25||Lance Stroll||CAN||Prema Powerteam||Mercedes|
|26||Ryan Tveter||USA||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Volkswagen|
|27||Mikkel Jensen||DEN||Mucke Motorsport||Mercedes|
|28||Maximilian Gunther||GER||Mucke Motorsport||Mercedes|
|29||Arjun Maini||IND||Van Amersfoort Racing||Volkswagen|
|31||Hongwei Cao||CHN||Fortec Motorsports||Mercedes|
|32||Zhi Cong Li||CHN||Fortec Motorsports||Mercedes|
|35||Kang Ling||CHN||Mucke Motorsport||Mercedes|
|37*||Sean Gelael||INO||Jagonya Ayam with Carlin||Volkswagen|
|38||Raoul Hyman||RSA||Team West-Tec F3||Mercedes|