The entry list for the 2017 FIA European Formula 3 Championship has been revealed with only five teams scheduled to participate on a full time basis.
Prema Powerteam, Hitech GP, Van Amersfoort Racing, Carlin and Team Motopark have all announced they will be entering the maximum permitted four cars this year, although the final two teams have only confirmed three of their drivers to date.
Formula 3 stalwarts Mücke Motorsport have dropped off the entry list as have the ThreeBond with T-Sport outfit, while the planned Fortec Motorsports return has been delayed, at least until 2018.
Reigning champions Prema Powerteam have confirmed that Maximilian Günther will stay with the outfit for a second full season, with the German being joined by Briton Callum Ilott and Chinese racer Guan Yu Zhou, the latter a member of the fabled Ferrari Driver Academy.
The fourth driver is none other than Mick Schumacher, the son of legendary seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, who continues his allegiance with Prema into Formula 3 having competed with them in Formula 4.
Hitech GP has also retained one of their 2016 drivers in the form of Russian Nikita Mazepin, and he will be joined by Prema refugee Ralf Aron, Briton Jake Hughes and Japanese racer Tadasuke Makino, who is backed by Honda.
Van Amersfoort Racing have two returnee’s for 2017, with both Pedro Piquet and Harrison Newey remaining with the team for a second season. They will be joined by German racer David Beckmann and by Joey Mawson, the Australian that beat Schumacher to the ADAC Formula 4 title last season.
Motopark has confirmed that Joel Eriksson, the 2016 rookie champion, will stay with the team, with Keyvan Andres Soori and Marino Sato joining the Swede.
Perhaps the most interesting line-up is at Carlin, where multiple series champion Lando Norris will be looking to make his mark on the championship in 2017, and he will be joined by Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg and India racer Jehan Daruvala, who continues as part of the Force India F1 Academy.
“We have done a lot of work to make sure the championship is very competitive and the quality of the entries confirms that our strategy is paying off,” said Stefano Domenicali, the President of the FIA’s Single Seater Commission. “All teams, Prema, Hitech, Motopark, Van Amersfoort and Carlin, operate on an extremely professional level and the talent of the drivers they have contracted for the season is outstanding.
“We will surely see some great racing this year. And with the FIA racing ladder now complete, there is a clear path for junior drivers, solidifying the FIA Formula 3 European Championship as an essential category on the way to Formula 1.”