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Feeder Series Weekly Round-up

Written by Vyas Ponnuri and Ellie Nicholls

The action on track may have just concluded for 2023, but the feeder series space is still buzzing with activity, as yet more drivers have been signed to represent their teams in the upcoming racing season. Brace yourselves for yet another round of activity, as a flurry of new driver announcements headlined the past week across junior formulae.

Sami Meguetounif Steps Up to Trident

The first announcement for this week saw Frenchman Sami Meguetounif stepping up to Formula 3, heading to Trident for the 2024 Formula 3 season. 

The Marseille-born racer made his first foray into single-seaters back in 2019, partaking in three races of the French F4 championship that year. Meguetounif finished in the top ten in two of the trio of races he took part in, before signing a deal to race a full season in the series the following year.  

The progression was visible through the season, as the Frenchman recovered from a slow start in the season opener, bouncing back immediately to take second place the next weekend, at Magny-Cours, following it up with a brace of fourth places to round out a strong weekend. 

Another podium followed two rounds later at Le Castellet, before the best weekend of his season at the mighty Circuit de Spa Francorchamps. Meguetounif took two pole positions over the weekend, finishing both races runner-up to eventual champion Ayumu Iwasa. The French racer also took third place that weekend, bringing home a haul of points helping his quest for the championship. 

He would get his moment of glory too, taking a maiden victory at Le Castellet, the track hosting successive rounds in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. He would take two further podium finishes, rounding out the season fourth in the standings, scoring 183 points.

The French driver dovetailed a stint in the ADAC F4 championship with a few appearances in the Italian F4 championship, before getting promoted to the FRECA series late in 2021, driving the final four races at Mugello and Monza for R-ace GP. 

Meguetounif moved to MP Motorsport in 2022, alongside fellow juniors Dilano van’ t Hoff and Michael Belov. The Frenchman’s season didn’t go entirely to plan, as a qualifying crash in round two at Imola nearly knocked him out, before he opted out of the race. He would take two more points finishes that year, including a runners-up finish at Belgium, on his way to 16th in the standings. 

The Frenchman continued at MP Motorsport for 2023 too, this time joined by fellow French racer Victor Bernier, and continuing alongside van’ t Hoff. Meguetounif would bring home a podium early in the season, at Catalunya, but the atmosphere at the team was shattered when van’ t Hoff was involved in a fatal incident at a wet Spa-Francorchamps. 

The team pulled out of the following event at Mugello, out of respect to the Dutch racer. Meguetounif came back strongly with a second place at Le Castellet, before matching the result in the following round at Austria, dedicating the latter result to the deceased Dutchman. The French racer would go on to finish ninth in the standings, scoring 75 points. 

A post-season test for Trident later, the Frenchman was signed by the Italian team for their 2024 campaign, and Meguetounif was certainly looking forward to ‘racing alongside the big boys of F1’ in 2024, commenting:

“I’m really really really happy to be joining Trident. We all know the good job the team did in these past seasons. I’m very excited to start this new challenge and to be driving during the same race weekends as the big boys of Formula 1. I will work hard this winter to arrive in Bahrain well-prepared.

“I have already started working with the team during the post-season tests and they already taught me so much to make my adaptation to this new category better and help me go faster. I would also like to thank my sponsors for their amazing support.”

Meguetounif joins Leonardo Fornaroli at the Italian team, the latter having signed a deal earlier to continue with the team into 2024, looking to improve on a debut campaign that fetched him 69 points, and 11th in the standings, just outside the top ten. 

Christian Mansell Switches to ART Grand Prix for 2024

A successful debut campaign for Campos Racing for Mansell saw him make appearances towards the front of the field, even battling Jenzer’s Taylor Barnard for the win in a wet-dry race at Spa-Francorchamps. Mansell’s exploits for Campos earned him a switch to a popular name on the grid, ART Grand Prix. 

Having produced the series’ champion in 2022, Alpine junior and current F2 ART racer Victor Martins, the Dutch team endured a difficult 2023, slipping to eighth in the constructors standings, and podiuming only twice across the entire season. 

On the other hand, Mansell’s season improved as it went on, the Australian finding his feet during the season to score two podiums at Silverstone, and the sandwich in a Jenzer 1-3-4 finish at Spa-Francorchamps, even battling Taylor Barnard for the win. The Australian backed up his podiums with several other points scores, ensuring a strong 12th position finish in the standings. 

Although not related to former F1 world champion Nigel Mansell, the youngster will be looking to put in a season similar in nature to the 1992 Champion’s drives in the past, looking to take ART back to the head of the field. The Australian was thrilled to be joining ART for 2024, excited for the new season:

“I’m super happy to sign with ART Grand Prix for the 2024 FIA Formula 3 season. I’m looking forward to working with the team to achieve better results in the teams’ championship and for myself as a driver next year.

"I’ve already competed in Macau with the team, so I’m very well integrated into the ART Grand Prix group, and I could not be happier. I’m really excited to start this new journey and I’m eagerly anticipating the upcoming race in Bahrain!”  

Mansell joins Dutch youngster Laurens van Hoepen, the latter signed by the team after finishing tenth in the 2023 FRECA series, and having leapt from karting to the series a year earlier. 

VAR complete their driver line-up for 2024

Dutch outfit Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR) became the third team on the grid to announce their trio of drivers for 2024, following Prema Racing and Campos, the latter doing it a week earlier. And their latest announcements include an extension for Tommy Smith, and announcing their latest signing of Sophia Flörsch. 

Smith, a 21-year old from Victoria, first joined the team in 2021, on the back of experience gained in series across the Trans-Tasman bay, and a short stint in the GB3 series in 2021 and 2022. The high point of his GB3 stint included a red-flag induced victory at Spa-Francorchamps in 2022, and a second place earlier in the season at Oulton Park. 

The Australian moved to Dutch outfit VAR for the 2023 Formula 3 season, finishing 27th in the standings, with a best finish of 12th in his home race down under, at Albert Park. He also took part in the Macau Grand Prix for the team this year, finishing 14th in the event. 

Smith was delighted to continue at VAR for 2024, as he looked to give it his all in the sophomore season:

“Continuing with VAR for another year is an incredible opportunity.

“The team and I have had a great partnership so far, and I cannot wait to see what 2024 brings us. I’m eagerly waiting for the challenges ahead, and ready to give it my all for a great second season in FIA F3.”

And joining the duo of Noel Leon and Smith will be another popular motorsport figure: Sophia Flörsch. 

Image Credits - Autobild

The 23-year old German racer has risen through the ranks of motorsport, competing across various classes of motorsport, including an earlier Formula 3 stint for Campos Racing in 2020, when she raced alongside Alessio Deledda and Alex Peroni, finishing 29th in a season marred by mechanical issues. 

Flörsch has also raced in the popular British sports car series Ginetta Juniors in her career, way back in 2015, and later took to DTM in 2021, driving for ABT Sportsline.

Apart from her exploits in sportscar racing, Flörsch also dabbled her 2020 F3 season with commitments across Europe, in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). She stepped up to race for team Richard Mille in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2021, scoring points five times, whilst qualifying a career-best sixth at the 8 Hours of Bahrain. 

She returned to the ELMS in 2022, racing for Algarve Pro Racing, partnering former F2 racer Bent Viscaal. Despite both drivers being less-experienced compared to their competitors, the duo scored a runners-up finish at Le Castellet to kick off the season. 

Flörsch would return to F3 in 2023, this time for debutants PHM Racing, who had taken over the erstwhile Charouz Racing System. She partnered Brazilian racer Roberto Faria, while the team fielded as many as three drivers in the third seat, with Piotr Wisnicki doing the first four rounds, before McKenzy Cresswell and Michael Shin made substitute appearances to round out the season. 

The German racer scored the team’s only points across the season, seventh in a dramatic wet to dry feature race around Spa-Francorchamps, becoming the first woman to score points in F3. Her haul of six points helped the team finish ninth in their debut season, ahead of veterans Rodin Carlin. 

Flörsch was also signed by the Alpine Academy earlier this year, and joins F1 Academy racer Abbi Pulling as the only female single-seater racers in the academy. The German has also been vocal about the pitfalls of the W Series, and nepotism among the junior Schumachers when she first joined F3.

She is certainly looking forward to the 2024 season, having reunited with the team she raced for, back in 2018 and 2019:

"I am super excited to be back with Van Amersfoort Racing, it feels like coming home." I have confidence in our ability to progress and deliver strong performances together in the upcoming FIA F3 season.”

Formula 2: Richard Verschoor Joins Trident for the 2024 Formula Two Season

Image Credit: Formula Two

As for Formula Two, Richard Verschoor will be returning to Trident Racing in 2024, becoming the Italian team’s first confirmed driver for next year. 

“I am thrilled to announce that I will be racing with Trident Motorsport next year,” shared Verschoor. I am excited to be back with the Italian family and eager to work tirelessly on developing the new car together.”

Verschoor made his Formula Two debut in 2021 with MP Motorsport before joining Trident the following year, where he finished 12th overall with five podiums. This year, Verschoor switched to Van Amersfoort racing, finishing ninth in the standings with a win in the Spielberg Feature Race and two other podiums.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and ready to take on the challenges ahead!”. 

Ollie Bearman Sticks With Prema In 2024

Image Credit: Formula Two

Ollie Bearman will stay with Prema Racing for his sophomore season in Formula Two following his success last year with the Italian team.

Following the announcement, Bearman shared that he is “really happy to be joining PREMA Racing again in Formula 2.”, and is eager to build upon his experience to make the most of 2024:

The 18-year-old British driver finished sixth overall in 2023 after an impressive rookie campaign, with four wins to his name and, more impressively, a clean sweep across the weekend in Azerbaijan. 

Having already proven himself to be a strong driver throughout his single-seater career, including his first-place finishes in the ADAC and Italian F4 championships, Bearman adapted quickly to the pace of Formula Two, making clear progress across the year.

“I’ve come a long way as a driver and as a person these two years thanks to [Prema], and I’m excited to continue the work we have been doing into next season."


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