Twice a winner, once runner-up: the latest round of the FIA F3 European Championship belonged to Joel Eriksson. After sealing an emphatic double win at the Red Bull Ring three weeks ago, the Team Motopark Swede now heads into the final round of the season riding the winds of victory – useful momentum, to say the least, with the final championship standings set to be decided.
19-year-old Eriksson delivered his strongest F3 performance to date last time out in Austria, converting a set of pole positions into two race wins as he defeated championship leader Lando Norris in memorable wheel-to-wheel battles.
As the season comes to its traditional close this weekend at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit, Eriksson holds third in the overall standings. While the title is out of reach and looks set to land in the hands of Norris, the brawl over second still rages on, with Eriksson going up against two drivers from the title-winning Prema Powerteam squad: Maximilian Günther and Callum Ilott.
Currently in second, Günther sits just six points clear of the pursuing Eriksson, with Ilott a further 36 in arrears. With a maximum 75 points still up for grabs, the stage is clearly set for a dramatic conclusion.
“I’m looking forward to this,” says Joel Eriksson. “It is going to be a good battle, even though I would obviously have preferred to fight for the title. It is what it is, and now runner-up is what we will go for instead. Six points is nothing, and in turn the gap down to Callum is not what I would call comfortable. In effect, a good race for him and a poor one for me will be enough for him to close it. Prema have the advantage of being able to play the team game a bit, but I will give it my best. I’m sure it will be a special weekend and I’m up for the fight.”
Eriksson, Norris and Günther are the only drivers in the field to have won two races on one weekend this season. Eriksson has claimed a total of six wins so far in 2017, climbing onto the top step of the podium at Silverstone, Monza, Pau, Hungaroring and twice, as mentioned, in Austria.
Going into the Hockenheim finale, the target – unsurprisingly – is to add to that tally.
“I obviously hope that we’ll be as competitive this weekend as we were in Austria,” Eriksson concludes. “The car felt good there, and I hope to win a few more races before the end of the season. I want second in the standings, and at the very least I need to defend third. There is pressure, of course, but there should be at this level. You need to handle it. We’ll see where we end up, but I’m really excited.”
The tenth and final round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship commences with free practice and qualifying on Friday. The first two races of the weekend take place on Saturday, with the concluding heat set to be staged on Sunday morning.
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 10
All times local – GMT+02:00
Free Practice 1: 09.30-10.10
Free Practice 2: 10.15-10.55
Qualifying 1: 13.25-13.45
Qualifying 2: 17.10-17.30
Race 1: 10.50-11.25
Race 2: 17.15-17.50
Race 3: 10.55-11.30
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 and in-house at www.joelerikssonracing.com, 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.
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 27 of 30 races
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 411 p.
2: Maximilian Günther (GER), 339 p.
3: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 333 p.
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), 297 p.
5: Jake Hughes (GBR), 193 p.