This year’s FIA F3 World Cup will be fought out exclusively by the cream of young drivers seeking to make a name for themselves in world motor sport.
Eight of the top ten drivers from the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship will all take to the track in Macau, as well as five of the seven rookies who contested their first year of F3 competition in the world’s premier series.
This of course means that newly-crowned FIA F3 champion Lando Norris will once again be facing his main rivals going up against the likes of Joel Eriksson, Maximilian Gunther and Callum Ilott.
Three of the top four runners in the 2017 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship will also contest the event in the form of Sho Tsuboi, Alex Palou and Ritomo Miyata.
While last year’s inaugural World Cup was weighted towards more experienced competitors, with Antonio Felix Da Costa winning his second Macau GP in five years from Felix Rosenqvist who was making a bid to become the first person to win three Macau GP’s in succession, this year it is guaranteed that a new winner will take to the top step of the podium.
2016’s front-running drivers have moved on to race in the FIA Formula E Championship, although Rosenqvist will debut in the FIA GT World Cup at the Guia circuit.
While none of the drivers on this year’s grid have won at Macau, many have some experience driving the challenging Guia Circuit. Ilott, fifth in the 2016 FIA F3 World Cup and fourth in this year’s European F3 Championship knows Macau well. His form in 2016 following Da Costa into second in the qualifying race and battling for an early lead in the final marked him as one of the fastest of the young guns at the circuit.
Likewise Eriksson, second to Norris in the European championship with seven wins and thirteen podiums, will surely be one to watch.
Norris also knows the undulating Macau circuit, although arguably not as comprehensively as Ilott or Eriksson. Norris first raced at Macau in the inaugural FIA F3 World Cup in 2016 when he finished 11th, after qualifying in the top ten on debut and testing the track limits when his nose cone was torn off in a qualifying race incident.
The demanding Macau circuit with its bumpy surface, high speed main straight and 19 wall-enclosed corners is a constant challenge for both rookies and veteran drivers alike.
This year nine of the FIA F3 World Cup contestants will be new to the track.
The most prominent will be Mick Schumacher, son of seven time World F1 champion Michael, twelfth outright and third in the Rookie Championship of the FIA F3 European title.
His father won the Macau GP in 1990 in spectacular fashion from Mika Hakkinen.
Other key drivers to look out for will be:
- Sergio Sette Camara: Third in 2016 FIA F3 World Cup. Set the lap record around the Guia circuit in 2015 – a 2:10.186
- Kenta Yamashita: 2016 All-Japan F3 Champion. Impressed in the first FIA F3 World Cup finishing 4th. Currently racing in Super GT and Super Formula in Japan
FIA Director of Single-Seater Championships, Charlie Whiting, said:
“It’s very exciting to see so many young stars contesting the second FIA F3 World Cup. This is exactly what the event is all about – bringing together the top talents from the top F3 series around the world for an end-of-season showdown on this incredible circuit. Macau always resets the form book, and it’s sure to be an intense and unpredictable battle for a new driver to be crowned FIA F3 World Cup winner.”