Monday 18 April 2011
British F3 has been creating future F1 drivers since 1951 and each of the 2011 competitors hopes that they’ll follow ex F3 drivers such as Jenson Button and Mika Hakkinen into the sport’s premier formula. Most recently, 2008 champion Jaime Alguersuari has gained a race seat with the Toro Rosso squad, while 2009 champion Daniel Ricciardo and 2010 champion Jean-Eric Vergne have also found Red Bull-backed F1 test drives.
Cooper began as the sole tyre maker in 1982 under the Avon Tyres brand, before taking over in 2009 when Cooper became title sponsor to the series. Tyres continue to be manufactured in Melksham, Wiltshire, with the championship support crew operating from the same base.
With the series having become more international in recent years, the first round at Monza in Italy will be one of four held outside the UK, while six will take place in Britain.
“It’s always tough to predict a champion in British F3 and this year is no exception,” said Julian Baldwin, Managing Director of Cooper Tire Europe. “It’s always fascinating to see the battles between drivers who have experience against newcomers and you never know who will come out on top.”
Having won the championship for the past three years and running six drivers in the series, the odds are stacked in favour of the Carlin team. Rupert Svendsen-Cook, Jazeman Jaafar, Carlos Huertas and Felipe Nasr should be in the best position as they all have valuable experience under their belt, but newcomers Kevin Magnussen and Jack Harvey will be hoping to follow the path of the last three champions, all of whom won in their rookie year.
Hitech Racing is the last team other than Carlin to win the title and this year it fields Brazil’s Pietro Fantin and Spain’s Bruno Mendez, both of whom come into the series as unknown quantities.
Fortec Motorsport will run Northern Ireland’s William Buller and Brazil’s Lucas Foresti, who return to British F3 with a good shot at fighting for the championship. The Double R team also looks strong with Pipo Derani from Brazil and Scott Pye from Australia having been quick in pre-season testing, despite being rookies in the series.