Lando Norris starts his first full season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship on “home” soil at Silverstone over Easter (13-16 April). The three, 33mins plus one lap races represent the 17-year-old McLaren-Honda Young Driver’s only competitive outing in Britain of the year in a busy 30-race, 10-event championship.
Norris, who made his FIA Euro F3 début in the final event of 2016 staged at Hockenheim (D) last October, competes in a Dallara-Volkswagen entered by renowned British team, Carlin.
Competing around Silverstone’s 3.661-mile Grand Prix track last May, Lando scored his maiden Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup race victory from pole-position and also set the fastest lap in the race. The Renault NEC was one of three championship titles the BRDC SuperStar ultimately won last year along with the Toyota Racing Series and Renault EuroCup in a long season comprising of 75 races in which Lando recorded an incredible 48 podiums – including 29 race wins.
Graduating into the FIA Euro F3 championship full time for 2017, Norris competes against almost 20 other drivers representing Austria, Australia, Brazil, China, Estonia, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and Sweden as well as Britain – Lando being the fourth youngest on the grid. Some can already boast two years of Euro F3 experience with only four others competing in the series for the first time like Lando – including Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael.
In all three races, points for the 10 best-placed drivers are awarded for the outright European Championship “crown” and “Rookie” title. Rookies are drivers, like Norris, who have previously raced cars of a performance level lower than that of F3 and have not contested more than three F3 race weekends.
Lando only made his Silverstone race début in September 2015, achieving a win in the 2015 MSA Formula Championship on the “National” circuit – a series he went on to win racing for Carlin. In addition to his Formula Renault 2.0 NEC race victory last May, a month later Lando posted second place in a BRDC British Formula 3 Championship race also on the Silverstone GP track configuration.
“I start my maiden Euro F3 season in the same way I’ve begun every previous season – to win the championship title – if not outright, then definitely the ‘rookie’ title. The competition is tough with the majority of my rivals having at least one year of F3 racing under their belts. The key for any kind of title challenge is consistency throughout the season. The aim of course is to win races but scoring regularly by posting top-six finishes I believe is the key. Like every driver on the grid, I’ll be hoping to get the season off to a flying start at Silverstone. Teams and drivers have been out testing in recent weeks in Hungary and Austria but it’s hard to know exactly where I am in terms of speed compared to my rivals and I’ll only find this out in qualifying on Friday.”
The Silverstone event begins with two “free” practice sessions on Thursday (1230 & 1305) before a 20mins qualifying session (1740) to set grid positions for Race 1. Qualifying 2, setting start positions for races 2 and 3, is on Friday (1330) before the first race (1555). Saturday hosts Race 2 (1100) with the third race on Sunday (0900).