Following a couple of difficult rounds, Joel Eriksson is determined to strike back in the final parts of the FIA F3 European Championship season. This weekend takes the field to the scenic landscape of Austria’s Styrian Alps, where the penultimate round of the campaign takes place at the Red Bull Ring – the venue of Eriksson’s first-ever single-seater victory.
19-year-old Eriksson kicked off his season with four wins from the opening four rounds, grabbing an early championship lead in the process. In the late parts of summer, however, a number of setbacks – most notably in qualifying trim – have derailed the Swede’s title bid, with the Team Motopark racer experiencing a particularly torrid spell last time out at the Nürburgring.
Despite his relative struggles in recent events, though, Eriksson remains firmly in contention for the FIA F3 European Championship trophies, holding third in the standings as he prepares to do battle on good hunting grounds in Austria.
“The Red Bull Ring has always been one of my favourite circuits,” says Joel Eriksson. “It’s where I took my first-ever single-seater win in ADAC Formel Masters in 2014, and I then won twice there in Formula 4 a year later. Even last year in Formula 3, I was fastest in qualifying but unfortunately had my pole position stripped for a very slight track limits transgression. We also had a very productive test there before the start of the season. It’ll be nice to get back.”
Eriksson is primarily involved in a close scrap over second, third and fourth place in the standings, sitting 43 points adrift of second-placed Maximilian Günther and five ahead of the German’s Prema Powerteam stablemate Callum Ilott (GBR).
“We have six races to go this season and I’m very keen to make the most of them,” Eriksson concludes. “It’s important to end every season on a high, otherwise you’re in for a long and hard winter. My main target is to take us back to a position where we can win races again. That has to be the aim given how we started the season. We have to experiment a bit to improve the car and find more speed. It won’t be easy, but I’m confident in our ability and I know how hard everyone is pushing to take us back where we belong.”
As per the regular FIA Formula 3 European Championship format, the weekend in Austria will kick off with practice and the first qualifying session on Friday. Saturday sees Race 1 and Qualifying 2 take place, while Sunday is devoted to the final two races of the meeting.
FIA F3 European Championship | Rd. 9
Red Bull Ring, Austria
All times local – GMT+02:00
Free Practice 1: 13.10-13.50
Free Practice 2: 13.55-14.35
Qualifying 1: 17.35-17.55
Race 1: 10.40-11.15
Qualifying 2: 16.15-16.35
Race 2: 11.00-11.35
Race 3: 16.55-17.30
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 24 of 30 races
1: Lando Norris (GBR), 381 p.
2: Maximilian Günther (GER), 308 p.
3: Joel Eriksson (SWE), 265 p.
4: Callum Ilott (GBR), 260 p.
5: Jake Hughes (GBR), 193 p.
ABOUT THE CIRCUIT
Red Bull Ring
Lap length: 4.326km
Red Bull Ring FIA F3 EC data
Lap record: 1m22.832s (S.Câmara, ’16)
Latest event: 2016
Most recent winners (2016):