After lifting Rookie of the Year honours in 2016, Joel Eriksson returns to the FIA F3 European Championship in 2017 aiming for the greatest prize of all: the outright title. This weekend sees the championship spring to life at one of the most iconic of circuits – and it’s the actual venue itself that provides Eriksson with an immediate added challenge.
Despite his young age of only 18 years, Eriksson’s three seasons of single-seater racing (2017 marks his fourth overall, and second in F3) have taken him to many of Europe’s leading race tracks. One clear exception, however, is British Grand Prix host Silverstone – and that’s exactly where the F3 fraternity sets camp this weekend for the opening round of the new campaign.
“I’m really excited to finally get going again,” says Joel Eriksson. “There are always a lot of unknowns going into a new season, but the fact we’re off to Silverstone for the first round this year adds a bit of extra uncertainty for me. I’ve never been there, never turned a lap, and I hear it’s quite a fast and difficult place. It will be interesting to see how we fare against the others, particularly the British teams and drivers who have a lot of experience of the track, but I’ll do my best and try and find my feet as quickly as possible in free practice.”
Eriksson – who tested a BMW DTM car towards the end of last year and retains a place on the German manufacturer’s Junior Programme in 2017 – enters this weekend’s curtain-raiser on the back of a promising pre-season period. A regular feature near the top of the times in winter testing, indications are there of frontrunning form; but with the field appearing closely matched, it’s likely to be another highly competitive season.
“Testing has been close, but I still think quite a number of people are yet to show their hand and there’s been some sandbagging going on,” Eriksson continues. “Now is when it actually counts and we will see how we stack up. Running at the front of this championship is always a huge challenge, but I believe in myself and my team. I’ve said it before; my sole target this season is to win the title and I won’t be entirely satisfied with anything less. Hopefully we can get off to a strong start this weekend!”
Joel Eriksson is racing for Team Motopark again this season, forming part of a three-car squad alongside Japan’s Marino Sato and Germany’s Keyvan Andres Soori. Making up the opposition are some of the fastest single-seater prodigies on the globe, including members of the McLaren, Force India and Ferrari Formula 1 junior schemes.
Like last year, each round of the FIA F3 European Championship is made up of three races. The standard event schedule boasts a Friday-Sunday time table, although the Silverstone opener will actually commence a day earlier with practice and the first qualifying session of the year taking place on Thursday.
The championship’s popular live stream service has also been retained for this season, which means each of the 30 races can be watched in real time at www.fiaf3europe.com/live. Meanwhile, Joel Eriksson’s life in the fast lane will be covered extensively at www.joelerikssonracing.com throughout the campaign.
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 1
Silverstone, Great Britain
All times local – GMT+01:00
Free Practice 1: 12.20-13.00
Free Practice 2: 13.05-13.45
Qualifying 1: 17.40-18.00
Qualifying 2: 13.30-13.50
Race 1: 15.55-16.30
Race 2: 11.00-11.35
Race 3: 09.00-09.35
TV / live stream
FIA F3 European Championship races are broadcast throughout a wide network of TV stations. Click here to find out where to watch in your part of the world. All races are also transmitted LIVE at www.fiaf3europe.com/live, with Eurosport airing a highlights package in the days following each round.
Live timing for each session of the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship is available at www.fiaf3europe.com/live.
ABOUT THE CIRCUIT
Silverstone, Great Britain
Lap length: 5.901 km
Silverstone FIA F3 EC data
Lap record: 1m51.498s (C.Leclerc, ’15)
Latest event: 2015
Most recent winners (2015):