Schumacher joins Charouz as Kari heads up trio of drivers

by Joe Ellis

Czech team Charouz Racing have announced their line-up for the 2020 FIA Formula 3 season with three new drivers taking the wheel.

Niko Kari will lead the team as an experienced driver at this level with wins in GP3 and European F3 and he’ll be joined by rookie Igor Fraga and David Schumacher, son of ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher.

Kari, now without the backing of the Red Bull junior team, will be expected to hit the ground running to help his much less tenured teammates.

The Finn said: “I’m really looking forward to this year, it will be a nice challenge to go and fight for podiums and why not for the championship as well? It’s going to be an interesting journey with Charouz and I’m sure we can work well together.

“I want to improve myself as a racing driver and Charouz is a very professional team. I’m hoping this can be the start of a long-term relationship and that we can make a good season out of it.”

Fraga in action at the 2019 post-season test at Valencia. Credit: FIA Formula 3.

Schumacher, although not a fully-fledged rookie, will be embarking on his first season of F3 after making his debut at 2019’s season finale in Sochi with Campos Racing.

He also experienced the thrills of the Macau streets in November where he finished 21st after previously testing with Charouz in October.

He said: “I feel really happy and grateful to make the step up to FIA Formula 3 full-time with Charouz. I drove two events at the end of last year and that was good preparation for the season ahead.

“I got to learn more about the car, and that’s valuable as we don’t have many practice opportunities during race weekends. I think we can make a step forward this season and I will try and finish as high as possible.”

Having finished third in the Formula Regional Championship in 2019, Fraga makes his F3 debut having tested with Charouz and Carlin Buzz Racing in October.

The Brazilian not only excels in single-seater machinery but is also one of the very best when it comes to sim racing too. He was the inaugural winner of the FIA Gran Turismo Nations Cup in 2018 along with the McLaren Shadow series.

Kari receiving his third-place trophy in Barcelona, one of two he achieved in 2019. Credit: FIA Formula 3.

“I’m really looking forward to joining the Formula 3 field with Charouz, it is a competitive series and a very professional environment – running at the same events as F1 is kind a crazy to think about,” said Fraga.

“I just can’t wait to start my season. This year is about the process of learning. Of course, the goal is always to win a race, but I am not underestimating the challenge ahead either. I will give my best and push to achieve my goals.”

Charouz team owner Antonin Charouz added, “We’re delighted to announce such an exciting driver line-up for the new season, and we’re thrilled to welcome three fantastic racers to the team.

“Igor and David are newcomers to this championship but showed excellent speed and maturity in a competitive series last year, while Niko is very experienced in Formula 3 and will no doubt be among the front-runners. We’re excited to make a step in F3 after laying some solid foundations last season.”

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