RICCIARDO & RIVALS GET A FIRST TASTE OF F1 Reigning Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo led a six-strong squad of British F3 graduates into the Formula 1 young driver tests at the Spanish circuit of Jerez today (Tuesday), ...
RICCIARDO & RIVALS GET A FIRST TASTE OF F1
Reigning Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo led a six-strong squad of British F3 graduates into the Formula 1 young driver tests at the Spanish circuit of Jerez today (Tuesday), underlining once again the championship's status as the driver training ground of choice for Grand Prix teams.
Twenty-year-old Ricciardo was being rewarded for his F3 successes by his sponsor Red Bull, the Australian going behind the wheel of one of Red Bull Racing's Renault-powered chassis and providing vital feedback to the team at one of the very rare out-of-season test sessions.
Meanwhile Toro Rosso, the team which elevated Jaime Alguersuari to Formula 1 a matter of months after the teenage Spaniard won the 2008 British F3 title, was continuing its policy of promoting young talent with a test session for Kiwi racer Brendon Hartley, who won five races on his way to third place overall in British F3 in 2008.
The driver who beat Hartley to the British F3 runner-up spot that season, young Brit Oliver Turvey, is in action at Jerez also, with McLaren. Turvey is collecting his F1 prize drive for winning the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award in '06, and is sharing driving duties with Gary Paffett, the British F3 Scholarship class winner from 2000.
Champion team Brawn/Mercedes is testing two ex-British F3 men at Jerez: Mike Conway, the 2006 champion, and Swede Marcus Ericsson, who placed fifth overall in 2008 before returning to the championship in 2009 to win two races.
Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who in addition to winning the F3 Euro Series title in 2009 was a double overall race victor in the British championship's Portugal races, is among four drivers being tested at Jerez by Ferrari.
British F3 teams spokesman Peter Briggs said: "To see so many former British F3 drivers selected by Grand Prix teams is not only heartening but also a massive endorsement of the championship as the best training ground for the future F1 star. I'm sure it won't be long before some of this current crop get their chance to follow Jaime Alguersuari into a regular seat with a Grand Prix team."