Maranello, 20 March – While Scuderia Ferrari will be contesting the second round of the Formula 1 season at Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit, Raffaele Marciello will be at the starting line of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The 17-year-old member of the Ferrari Driver Academy will take to the track this weekend at Monza. This is where the long-awaited continental championship will begin, featuring the most promising young drivers from all over Europe. The 2013 edition of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship will boast a field of 12 teams and an array of 31 drivers, a line-up that is a guarantee of high quality. “I was expecting a bigger championship,” said Marciello, “but I have to say that what the organisers have achieved has been better than anyone hoped. In 2012 there were signs of interest but it has all materialised into a really interesting starting grid.”
Other than the number of cars, the grid for the 2013 championship stands out for the quality of its team-driver combinations. ‘Lello’ added: “Both my team and I are conscious of the fact that a very demanding season awaits. They say that the group of pre-season favourites is made up of five drivers and I’m happy to be one of them. In 2012 I finished the FIA championship in second place so this year I have no doubt about what I must do to improve: I can only aim for first place.”
The winter tests were disrupted by bad weather, reducing the Monza test to a single day. But for Marciello and the Prema team the comparisons were positive nonetheless, particularly from the tests at the Barcelona circuit.
“The approach since the winter break has been good,” explains Marciello. “But as far as the Monza weekend goes we have little data to use, like all our rivals. The track near Milan has the lowest downforce of the season so those are unusual conditions for teams and drivers. But it is the home race both for myself and the team, which is another reason for us to give everything we have.”
The programme for the Monza weekend sees the action start on the track with a busy day on Friday, which features two sessions of free practice and two qualifying sessions. The first race of the weekend takes place on Saturday while Sunday will host Race 2 and Race 3, which will conclude the Italian round of the championship.