Carlin has named Honda junior Teppei Natori for the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship and announced a new partnership with Buzz.
Natori becomes the seventh driver to be confirmed to race in the 2019 F3 season and the second Honda junior after Yuki Tsunoda. The 18-year-old is also the first driver to be named by Carlin in its three-car line-up.
The British team has also partnered with Buzz, a Japanese investment company founded to support young talents by ex-racer Daisuke Hasegawa. Carlin and Buzz worked together in 2018 Macau GP where it supported Callum Ilott’s entry.
The partnership also means that the team will run as ‘Carlin Buzz Racing’ in F3 with its livery changing to a black & neon yellow design. “We’re extremely proud to be carrying the Buzz name and colours on our FIA F3 race cars for the 2019 season,” said Trevor Carlin.
“We had a great experience working together for the 2018 Macau Grand Prix and hope this is a relationship that can continue in the future. We also welcome Teppei to the team for the upcoming season following what has been a strong year racing in the Japanese Formula 4 Championship.
“Teppei already knows how to fight for wins and podiums so we look forward to working together and hitting the ground running during testing ahead of the first race in May.”
Buzz’s owner Hasegawa said: “When I was racing, I had many companies and people who supported my career. I made sure that when I established Buzz this philosophy of supporting young people continued and became a mission of ours.
“I admire what Honda are doing with their young driver programme so wanted to help support their drivers and I’ve got a lot of respect for Trevor Carlin’s philosophy and what he’s achieved; I am very proud to be Carlin Buzz Racing for the 2019 season.”
Natori added: “I am very excited to be the part of Carlin Buzz Racing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. There will be a lot to learn this season, but we will fight hard together for the championship with the aim of becoming an F1 driver in the future.”
Like Tsunoda, who will have a dual programme in European Formula Masters, it is the first time for Natori as well to race outside Japan as he moves to Europe after only one year of single-seater racing in the 2018 FIA Japanese F4 series.
In fact, Natori chased Tsunoda for the Japanese F4 title with the latter winning it by 14 points in the end despite having won seven races in the season to the former’s only three – the two were in the league of their own though.
2019 F3 line-up so far:
Prema – Marcus Armstrong, Jehan Daruvala
Jenzer – Yuki Tsunoda
HitechGP – Juri Vips
ART – David Beckmann
Campos Racing – Sebastian Fernandez
Carlin – Teppei Natori