GP3 2013

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    Felipe Bomeny

    Testing for the 2013 GP3 series will commence this week, and given the competitive grid from the 2012 season, it’s worth keeping an eye on the drivers. Only two drivers have signed contracts for 2013: Venezuelan Samin Gomez is the first of the two. She raced for Jenzer’s Formula Pilota China team in 2011 and their Formula Abarth team this year. She will continue her association with the Swiss squad. The second signee is Argentine Eric Lichtenstein who also raced in Formula Pilota China in 2011. This year saw him impress in the British Formula Ford Championship, where he won eleven races (eight races of them in succession) en route to third. Lichtenstein will race for British giants Carlin, off the back of a successful season with Antonio Felix da Costa.

    Leaving the series will be champion Mitch Evans, who is eyeing a GP2 seat. Title rivals Daniel Abt, António Félix da Costa, and Aaro Vainio look set to remain in Formula Renault 3.5- both da Costa and Vainio have impressed with podiums, and even wins (four from da Costa!). Hungarian GP3 racer Tamas Pál Kiss is also interested in a WSR seat and has already done some races with BVM. It’s very likely that Conor Daly will also step up to either GP2 or WSR.

    Trident have announced their two-man line-up for testing: teenagers Roman de Beer Shane and Emanuele Zonzini will be evaluated at Jerez. South African de Beer and Sammarinese Zonzini have raced in Italy: de Beer competed in a partial season of Italian F3 following two seasons of Formula Abarth, and Zonzini finished third in the Formula Abarth Italian Championship in his sophomore year.

    Marussia Manor will run reigning Italian and European Formula Abarth champion Nicolas Costa. The Carioca previously tested for Carlin and is hot property with his triumph in the Italian feeder series.

    Irish team Status, who have announced a collaboration with GP2 team iSport International, will test Ryan Cullen. The Briton finished sixth in British Formula Ford with two podium finishes. Cullen is expected to sign for the team in 2013.

    A major pre-season headline is Ocean’s departure from the series and their replacement, Koiranen Motorsport. Finnish outfit Koiranen are Formula Renault 2.0 frontrunners who have an association with Red Bull as they field their Junior drivers. This year, Koiranen fielded cars for Juniors Daniil Kvyat (the 2.0 Alps champion and Eurocup 2.0 runner-up) and Stefan Wackerbauer (the 2011 Formula BMW champion). In addition, Koiranen ran Lotus Junior Esteban Ocon, Brazilians Victor Franzoni and Gustavo Lima, Finn Patrick Kujala, and Estonian Hans Villemi. It is unclear whether Red Bull will promote Kvyat to GP3 but following fellow Junior Antonio Felix da Costa’s success in the series, it is possible. Ocon and Wackerbauer scored podiums in Alps, Franzoni took pole positions at Spielberg, and Kujala won the Juniors’ Championship in the Alps- so all are candidates for Koiranen GP3’s team.

    Marussia Manor is probably going to axe their 2012 driver Fabiano Machado, who failed to score points. Tio Ellinas hasn’t announced his plans for next year other than his guaranteed F1 test; he might or might not stay in GP3. They might retain Dmitry Suranovich, who, despite not scoring points, is still very young and is Russian (which is important considering Marussia’s influence on the team). With Suranovich on board, and possibly Nicolas Costa, the third seat could be filled by a Formula Renault 2.0 driver from the MP Manor team. Jordan King is this year’s runner-up in the 2.0 NEC and his McGregor-backed teammate Steijn Schothorst finished fifth. King is a contender for the 2012 McLaren-Autosport BRDC award.

    Carlin might keep Alex Brundle for another year as William Buller might seek a driver in a higher category in all likelihood. Carlin could use Pietro Fantin or Harry Tincknell to partner Lichtenstein for experience.

    Trident might stick to a two-car lineup with Zonzini and de Beer, but Venturini would be a valuable asset provided he remains in the series. Other options for Trident may include Italian-series racers Santiago Urrutia, Gerrard Barrabeig, Jakub Dalewski, or Nicholas Latifi.

    Jenzer has two trustworthy options to partner Samin Gomez, namely, their 2012 drivers Patric Niederhauser and Robert Visoiu. Should Niederhauser step up to a different category, there’s three Swiss Jenzer affiliates ready to replace him: Kevin Jörg, Mathéo Tuscher, and Alex Fontana.

    Lotus ART may very well have an all-new line up for next year. As the top team in the series, they could offer seats to promising sophomore drivers and others, including Jimmy Eriksson, Kimiya Sato, and Marvin Kirchhöfer.

    Driver movement should be interesting this year, with 2012 rookies such as Fumanelli, Visoiu, Niederhauser, and Powell possibly on the move. Experienced drivers such as Marlon Stöckinger are attractive options for teams.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Jenzer will run Alex Fontana at Jerez. The Greco-Swiss has participated in select GP3 rounds with Jenzer whilst competing in European F3 Open and Formula 2 in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

    Keith Collantine

    @Portugoose Do you think Stoffel Vandoorne might end up here?

    Felipe Bomeny

    @keith-collantine Surely ART and other top teams are eyeing him, but I think Vandoorne might do the 1.5-litre jump and try to emulate Robin Frijns’ successes in the 3.5 litres.


    Marlon Stöckinger is experienced but he hasn’t impressed me, winning in Monaco which is impossible to overtake at doesn’t really convince me after two seasons.

    Matias Laine might be tempting for a few teams, he’s produced some good results this year and he could be a front runner in 2013.

    I can’t help but wonder what results Tio Ellinas would’ve had if he’d been at a team like Lotus, Arden or Carlin? Would he move elsewhere or stick with Manor and go up through their system?

    Alex Brundle should probably focus on endurance racing, plenty of experience in lower single seater categories hasn’t translated well into GP3 results.

    Alice Powell will probably stay with a British based team and the only two realistic options are Status and Manor. She raced for Manor in Formula Renault, she knows everyone there so it’s possible.

    Hopefully we won’t be seeing the likes of Ethan Ringel, Carmen Jorda, Dmitry Suranovich and Robert Cregan in 2013 to name a few who haven’t made any sort of impression on GP3.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Fumanelli will test for Arden. He had a reasonable campaign this year; he could be a challenger in 2013. On that note, I’m interested to see if any European F3 Open drivers will follow Fontana and Fumanelli into GP3- although Kevin Giovesi seems to be the only promising talent in that category.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Additionally, Carlin will give their British F3 champ Jack Harvey a run, as well as Josh Webster, the Formula Renault BARC runner-up. I predict Harvey will pick FR3.5 over GP3, however.
    Of course, Carlin signee Eric Lichtenstein will join the British duo.


    In European f3 open there is a big talent,he’s called Niccolò Schirò,also Grenhagen is quick and Tatiana Calderon is the quickest girl I’ve ever seen.


    Giovesi is not that talented,I know the italian drivers personally.
    He did a great job with the old car but I prefer Schirò or Grenhagen.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Some GP3 drivers will test the Formula Renault 3.5 car- Marlon Stöckinger will drive for Adrian Vallés’ new AV Formula, Matias Laine will be at DAMS for a day, and Conor Daly will be with Tech 1 for both days. Will Buller will test for Comtec on both days, too. Also present will be Tamas Pal Kiss for BVM Target, who will be partnered by the aforementioned Niccolò Schirò. GP2 driver Marcus Ericsson will be a big name as he tests with P1.

    Stoffel Vandoorne will test an Arden car alongside 2.0 rival Norman Nato. Nato will drive for both days; Lucas Foresti will test on the first day.


    Marlon Stöckinger is experienced but he hasn’t impressed me, winning in Monaco which is impossible to overtake at doesn’t really convince me after two seasons.

    I think the AUTOSPORT review summed it up well: he could’ve really gotten on a title campaign after Monaco, but was unable to maximize it and suffered a dip in form instead.

    I’m a big Stockinger fan (would love to see a fellow Filipino finally enter F1), but even I would say at this point that he seems to be lacking something in terms of speed. He’s proven to be a generally safe pair of hands to trust your racecar with, but he has to show a consistent competitiveness throughout the course of a season. Will be interesting to see how he does in his test with Adrian Valles.

    The way I see it, if he does a decent job, then it’s worth moving up to FR3.5 (not to mention it’ll probably be cheaper than GP3, where’s he’s already been around for 2 years and is in danger of sticking around too long). On the other hand, if he gets an offer from a title-contender GP3 team, then winning a title should be his priority at this point IMO (to try to get sponsors to help him move up). All that said, I’m surprised he hasn’t tried competing in Macau this year or last. Would probably do his career a world of good if he won that.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Giovanni Venturini, who scored all of Trident’s points last year, will test for frontrunners Lotus ART. And in an interview with a Polish magazine, ex-F2 racer Natalia Kowalska is trying to enter GP3 for 2013- probably trying to capitalize on the influx of female names in the series.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Ceccon will join his countryman Fumanelli at MW Arden


    Glad for Ceccon, he has had some poor luck with series/teams recently. I wonder if he can challenge in the title with such a great team.

    Felipe Bomeny

    Here’s the line-up:

    Lotus ART:
    Giovanni Venturini
    Robert Visoiu (I think @prisoner-monkeys will be pleased with this)
    Jack Harvey

    Eric Lichtenstein
    Josh Webster
    Jack Harvey

    MW Arden:
    David Fumanelli
    Kevin Ceccon
    Melville McKee

    Marussia Manor:
    Nicolas Costa
    Tio Ellinas
    Patryk Sczczerbinski

    Samin Gomez Briceno
    Alex Fontana

    Atech CRS:
    Jordan Oon
    Miki Monras

    Status Grand Prix:
    Miki Weckström
    Ryan Cullen
    Nick Cassidy

    Roman de Beer Shane
    Emanuele Zonzini

    Harvey is testing for two teams; Carlin wants to retain him but ultimately Racing Steps will pick the team for him. Szczerbinski raced in tin-tops this year, and Miki Monras is returning since competing in 2010.

    I don’t expect much from Oon, Szczerbinski, Weckström, and Cullen, but McKee is definitely talented.

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