Britain’s Lando Norris has become the youngest FIA Formula 3 European Champion in history, the 17-year-old claiming this year’s prestigious title in Germany at the weekend (14-15 Oct) after a dominant first full Euro F3 season in which he consistently outperformed his more experienced rivals in the 30-race series.
The McLaren Young Driver placed his Carlin prepared Dallara-Volkswagen second in yesterday’s opening race at Hockenheim to seal the title in what has been a spectacularly successful season. The BRDC SuperStar went on to net 11th and fourth places in the final two races and will sign off from the F3 category by contesting the Macau Grand Prix next month. He ultimately secured the outright title by a commanding 53-point winning margin and captured the Rookie “crown” by 89pts.
This latest success means Norris has won every karting and single-seater championship he has contested in full at his first attempt and takes his ultra-impressive tally to nine race wins, 19 podiums from 19 front row starts (including eight pole-positions) plus eight fastest race laps this year. Lando’s title success marks the first time a non-Prema Powerteam driver or non-Mercedes engined car has won either the Formula 3 Euro Series or FIA Formula 3 European Championship since 2010. It’s also the first time a British driver has been victorious in either title since Paul di Resta in 2006 and also the first time a Carlin “pilot” has ever won the Driver’s “crown” in either series.
Norris began this weekend’s three races around the 2.84-mile Hockenheimring from second, seventh and sixth positions respectively on the 21-car grids – Norris citing a lack of grip in the second time trials on Friday afternoon. Having dropped to third place at the start of Saturday morning’s Race 1, Lando was back into second with 10mins on the clock and was ultimately denied victory by a mere 0.725secs. Norris battled for sixth place in Race 2 staged early on Saturday evening but found himself shuffled down to 13th on the opening lap and was ultimately classified 11th. Today’s 33mins plus one-lap race, again held in dry and unusually warm conditions, saw Norris move up to fifth place at the start and gain another place immediately after a Full Course Yellow period, eventually missing out on recording his 20th podium of the season by less than half a second.
Norris’s past championship successes consist of numerous karting titles including Formula Kart Stars (2012), CIK-FIA KFJ European, CIK-FIA KFJ Super Cup, WSK Euro Series KFJ, CIK-FIA International Super Cup and World Karting Championship (all 2013) plus the CIK-FIA KF World Championship (2014). He won the 2015 MSA Formula Championship while last year claimed the Toyota Racing Series, Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault Northern European Cup titles. The Macau F3 GP is staged on 5 November.
Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 17.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to win a number of championships so far in my career but this is my biggest achievement – I had to work very hard for this title. It’s been a fantastically successful year and a season in which it hopefully takes me closer to realising my [Formula One] dream. Carlin gave me a fast, competitive car from the opening event at Silverstone and my thanks go to Trevor [Carlin] and his amazing crew. I’m proud to be the first of its drivers ever to win either the Euro Series or FIA F3 Euro Driver’s title. I’m loving my role as a McLaren Young Driver, spending time in the simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre and attending some Grands Prix with the team. Winning this [F3] title can only help me become a F1 driver. Sincere thanks must also go to my management team at ADD Motorsport who have successfully guided me from karting and also to P. A. P., my training and nutrition team.
“I just missed getting pole for Race 1 on the very last lap then in the second qualifying struggled with overall grip. My start in Race 1 wasn’t particularly good but I managed to get back in to second and tried to catch Joel [Eriksson]. Although I reduced the gap, he made no mistakes so I had to be content with second place to wrap up the championship. I made a good start in Race 2 but was pushed wide at Turn 2 and then had to go on to the grass in avoidance at the hairpin when the car ahead seemed to brake very early so that was race over in terms of a decent result. I made up a place on the opening lap of Race 3 and jumped another car at the re-start after the FCY before making a couple of attempts to get third-place.”