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Formula 3 Round-up: Latest Driver Announcements Over the Past Fortnight

Written by Vyas Ponnuri


It’s certainly been a busy week for Formula 3, with a glut of announcements headlining the month of December, as teams look to fill up their seats with young talents, ahead of the upcoming season of racing. With two teams having announced their full driver roster for 2024, we take a look at who’s going where in 2024.  


Campos Racing Announce Their Line-up for 2024

The Spanish outfit Campos Racing have become only the second team to complete their line-up for the 2024 season, after Prema Racing. 


Campos have signed the likes of Red Bull Juniors Oliver Goethe and Sebastian Montoya, two impressive names in the series, alongside home boy Mari Boya, completing their trio for the 2024 season. 


Goethe is an emerging talent from Germany, a country famous for producing world champions like Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Nico Rosberg. The 19-year old has shown impressive speed across two seasons in the series, and despite a rather inconsistent 2023, Goethe certainly turned heads, as evidenced by his signing into the coveted Red Bull Junior Academy.     


2023 was the first full season in F3 for the London-born Goethe, having deputised for Campos Racing a year prior, when Hunter Yeany had to sit out the rest of the season, upon sustaining a broken wrist in Austria. Goethe immediately impressed, outqualifying teammates Pepe Marti and David Vidales, and even took reverse-grid pole position for the sprint race. 


The youngster’s speed across three rounds impressed one Maurizio Salvadori at Trident, with the Italian outfit snapping up his services for the 2023 season, alongside teammates Gabriel Bortoleto and Leonardo Fornaroli. 


Goethe impressed right from the off, finishing on the podium in the season opening feature race at Bahrain, rounding out a 1-2 with Bortoleto on the top step. 


A run of four scoreless weekends followed, before Goethe finally put his streak to bed at Silverstone, converting a front-row start into victory, overtaking pole-sitter Fornaroli for the win, the highest point of his season so far. 


Further points would follow at the Hungaroring, and while he crashed out of qualifying at Monza during qualifying while on provisional pole, a throttle issue meant he wouldn’t start the feature race. Goethe finished eighth in the standings, but proved no match for teammate,  eventual champion Bortoleto’s consistency. 


Returning to the environment of his big break, Goethe will be looking to bring home glory to the Spanish team:


“I am excited to be back with Campos Racing for a full season! They helped to make my entrance to FIA F3 as smooth as possible back in 2022. This year we completed a successful post-season testing programme and the Macau GP together which makes me feel positive about what’s coming next. My goal is to fight for wins and podiums from the start and be consistent. That’s what matters the most in this Championship.”



Goethe will be partnered by another Spaniard in 2024, as Mari Boya makes the move from MP Motorsport to compatriots Campos Racing. 


The 19-year old has been a staple for Dutch teams over the last few years, competing in Spanish F4 for MP Motorsport, before moving to FRECA for Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR) in 2021. 


Boya dabbled his F3 commitments with that of the Eurocup series. The Spaniard’s high point of the F3 season included a podium in the Monza sprint race, after a series of disqualifications for other drivers meant he started on the front row, and battled teammate Colapinto for the lead. He would ultimately finish third in the race, overtaken by newly-crowned champion Bortoleto. 


The Spaniard will be hoping to emulate his countryman Pepe Marti, and do well for his home team in 2024, and commented:


“I feel super happy to be joining Campos Racing for a second season of FIA Formula 3. I feel motivated and confident following such positive post-season testing in which was my first time working on track with my new team. A new era just begins and I’m looking forward to starting the new season and achieve success together.”


Rounding out the Campos line-up is another Red Bull junior, Sebastian Montoya. While the surname is easily recognisable, and his performances be viewed with greater scrutiny, the Colombian has shown an impressive turn of pace across a full season. 



Having filled in at Zandvoort in 2022 for Oliver Goethe, who returned to Euroformula to complete his season, the younger Montoya impressed from the off, qualifying seventh on debut, finishing eighth in both races. 

 

Montoya’s one-off race convinced Red Bull of the skills of the 17-year old, who eventually snapped him up into their coveted driver academy, ahead of the 2023 season. And it wouldn’t be long before he received a full-season drive for Hitech Pulse-Eight for the 2023 season. 


While the Hitech Racer started his season with points in the feature race at Bahrain, and was on the podium in the sprint at Albert Park, before finishing a respectable seventh at the Monaco sprint, it was from here on that his season began to unravel. 


Incidents with Caio Collet in the Monaco feature race, followed by a disqualification for a pit stop infringement; coming worse off a scuffle with Paul Aron in the Barcelona feature race; making contact with Franco Colapinto on the last lap, and eventually tumbling out of the points due to a penalty; and being hit from behind by Taylor Barnard in the Silverstone sprint race saw the young Red Bull junior endure a rough patch. 


He failed to score at the Hungaroring, and was the unfortunate victim in a feature race incident at Monza, putting an end to a disappointing season for the Colombian. 


However, with renewed spirit, and a return to the team he deputised for earlier, much like future teammate Goethe, Montoya will be looking to channel his energy, and stay out of incidents, as he is just as hungry for success and ultimate glory. 


Montoya was thrilled to return to Campos, having raced for them at the Macau GP, and commented:


“I am really excited to be joining Campos Racing for the upcoming FIA Formula 3 season. To be honest, we had a nice learning curve immediately in testing after making my comeback to the team. Macau didn't exactly bring us the result we were expecting.


"But the potential is there and we just need to maximise our options. We know our car is strong enough to score points on a regular basis and hopefully we will be able to fight for podiums and wins."


Hitech Racing confirm two drivers for 2024

And speaking of Hitech, British racer Luke Browning will continue for the team into 2024, the Briton looking to build on a debut campaign that yielded only a single podium finish. 


Browning was the final driver to be announced on the 2023 F3 grid, alongside highly-rated Hitech teammates Gabriele Mini and the aforementioned Montoya. The Williams Junior had a relatively tougher season compared to Mini, but was able to outscore teammate Montoya, edging him out for 14th in the standings. 


While the high point for Browning was the sprint at Catalunya, when he secured the runners-up spot behind Prema racer Zak O’Sullivan. However, his best weekend came after the season ended, at the popular Macau GP.


Browning put his Hitech on pole position for both races, converting them into lights-to-flag wins, and snatching the fastest lap twice too. It was a weekend of total domination, underlining the Briton’s pace, and his capabilities in the sport. 


The Hitech racer was also crowned the winner of the prestigious Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award, getting his first taste of Formula One machinery to boot. 


Browning would be aiming to go big in 2024, and build on his debut F3 season:


“I am super excited to announce I’ll be joining the grid with Hitech Pulse-Eight for the 2024 Formula 3 season. 


“I have an abundance of faith in the team around me, with the things we learned throughout the season last year, I believe we will be able to build on our skills and ability to execute which we showed a glimmer of most recently in Macau.


He also acknowledged how the 2023 season would help him be better prepared for what is to come in 2024: 


“This Championship will never be easy with the standard of drivers but also with just the nature of the championship. However, having visited all of the tracks we’re going to next year once before, I believe puts us in a great position to score points in every race weekend going forward.”


Should he replicate even a part of his Macau GP form into the F3 season, there’s no doubt the Briton would be a familiar sight at the front of the field, maybe even competing for a championship. 



Joining Browning at Hitech would be a rookie racer, in the form of Martinius Stenshorne. The Norwegian racer ended the recent FRECA championship runners-up to none other than Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the latter making a leap into Formula 2. 


Hailing from the town of Hokksund, 17-year old Stenshorne moved up to single-seater racing in 2022, driving for Van Amersfoort Racing in the 2022 Italian F4 series, finishing seventh in the standings. 


He also took part in the ADAC Formula 4 and the Spanish F4 championships later that year, racing for VAR and Monlau Motorsport respectively. The Norwegian scored in all three races at Aragon, the only round he took part in. 


Stenshorne stepped up to FRECA in 2023, driving for R-ace GP, the same team with whom he took part in the F4 UAE series in 2022. He would sweep the first race of the season, taking pole, victory, and the fastest lap in the race. 


The Norwegian accumulated four more wins throughout the season, dominating the Hungarian weekend by taking both wins, with further success at Mugello, and later in the final race of the year at Hockenheim. However, he was no match for Antonelli, the Italian winning the title by a sizable margin of 39 points to the R-ace GP driver. 


Even still, Stenshorne’s impressive rookie season feats earned him a promotion to the global Formula 3 championship, and he will be looking to continue his rapid rise along the motorsport ladder:


“I am looking forward to making the step up to FIA F3 with Hitech next season. I have every confidence that they will allow me to develop in my rookie season in the championship. It will be a new challenge for me, however I am feeling eager to be fighting for the top spots from the get-go.” 


Hitech only has one seat left to fill now, and time will tell us who will take this seat. 


ART announce van Hoepen for 2024

Two further teams have announced one driver out of their trio for the 2024 season: ART Grand Prix and Van Amersfoort Racing. The former have signed young Dutch rising star Laurens van Hoepen to pilot one of their cars in 2024. 


van Hoepen is a protege of one-time Formula E champion, and 2019 F2 champion Nyck de Vries, and won a series of karting championships at a young age, having started karting aged eight. 


He has also driven for former F1 racer Nico Rosberg’s karting team, and Charles Leclerc’s Leclerc by Lennox karting teams across international karting stages, having finished third in the CIK FIA Karting European Championship in 2021. 


The young Dutchman’s karting exploits and successes earned him a direct trip to the FRECA series in 2022, bypassing F4 along the way. In his debut season for ART Grand Prix, van Hoepen ended 21st in the standings, understandable given he was driving single-seaters for the first time in his career. 


van Hoepen stayed at ART Grand Prix for 2023 too, and his sophomore season proved to be a much improved one, the Dutchman finishing on the podium twice across the season, a brace of third places at Zandvoort, on his way to tenth in the standings, amassing 71 points. 


Now promoted to F3 for ART, van Hoepen will be hoping to use the familiarity to his advantage, and put in a barnstorming campaign in 2024:


“I’m really happy to make the step up to FIA F3 with ART Grand Prix. This will be my third year working with the team and over the past two years, we have really gotten to know each other well, and we have shown that in the positive F3 tests. Next year will be exciting and I fully trust that ART Grand Prix and I can do a good job.”



VAR sign Noel Leon for 2024

Another team signing the first driver on their 2024 roster is Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR), the Dutch team opting for the services of Mexican racer Noel Leon for 2024. 


18-year old Leon was a Red Bull affiliated driver, before being dropped by the team ahead of 2023. 


The youngster from Monterrey won the NACAM F4 champion in 2019, his first motor racing championship. He would go on to win the United States F4 Championship too in 2021, taking two victories and several podium finishes across the season. 


Most recently, Leon was also crowned champion of the Euroformula series in 2023, driving for Team Motopark. Seven victories underlined a dominant campaign for the young Mexican, with the series also being his first on European soil. Leon failed to finish three races all season, his consistency being the defining factor on his run to Euroformula Open champion. 


Leon’s efforts wouldn’t go unnoticed, as VAR snapped up his services ahead of 2024, the Mexican already having raced for them in the Macau GP. Leon will look to continue his run of form in 2024, and look to replicate his Euroformula run in 2023:


"Being part of Van Amersfoort Racing has been a joy so far, We did the post-season tests and Macau together which was a positive experience and great preparation for the upcoming season. I cannot wait for the season to start!’’




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