Raffaele Marciello (Prema Powerteam) has done it: he is the FIA Formula 3 European Champion. A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, the Italian started into the season as one of the favourites and successfully got his 2013 campaign underway with two victories. However, it was anything but an easy walkover for the 18-year-old as Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) quickly emerged as a strong opponent. Eventually, the Italian had the upper hand and was able to celebrate his maiden title in motor racing.

Raffaele Marciello has been racing in single seaters since 2010 and has always been among the front-runners. However, neither in Formula ACI-CSAI Abarth nor in the Italian Formula 3 Championship or in the Formula 3 Euro Series, he managed to secure a title. He already came close on several occasions, for instance with his third place in the final standings of Formula Abarth or on his debut in Formula 3 when he was classified third after his rookie season in the Italian series. Last season, he repeated this result in the Formula 3 Euro Series and was runner-up in the European Championship.

At the beginning of this season, the Zürich-born racing driver with Italian passport opted for another year in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Marciello lived up to his status as the pre-season favourite from the very first race: in his home round at Monza, he claimed two victories and a second place. At Silverstone, Hockenheim, Brands Hatch and Norisring, he also managed to secure at least one race win. The Prema driver had his personal highlight at Nürburgring where he claimed all three pole positions and went on to win the respective races. A weekend without a podium result at Zandvoort was the reason that the battle for the title became quite thrilling again in the closing stages. However, the Ferrari protégé didn’t let that get to him either. He started into the final weekend with a pair of pole positions and wrapped up the European championship title after the second race.

Teenager Marciello isn’t your typical Italian: at 1.82 metres, he is quite tall, he acts in a thoughtful and calm manner and isn’t particularly talkative. In the paddock, he is considered as timid and reserved. He has been racing with the Prema Powerteam since 2011. In the team led by Angelo and René Rosin, he particularly rates the professionalism and the family feeling. “I am feeling really well there. Prema is my third home, Ferrari is my second home.” When he isn’t behind the wheel of his race car, the youngster can usually be found in the fitness studio, at the tennis court, at cross-country skiing or on a football field. Juventus Turin is his favourite club, but the Robert Kubica fan never dreamt of a career in football: “I only have a superficial interest in football. In fact, I find it quite boring. I always wanted to make it into Formula 1, but I would also be happy with a career in other areas in motorsport. Making money by being a racing driver is my goal. There is no plan B at the time, but I am quite optimistic that it works out with the driving part.”

Marciello, whose father only had little experience in go-karts, was the first member of his family to try his hand at racing cars and gets a lot of support from his next of kin. “My father is coming to very race. My mother, my sister an my girlfriend Zdenka only seldom come to visit me at the track. But that doesn’t really matter, because I am mainly focussed on my job when at the track.” With his Czech girlfriend, he is in a long-distance relationship. “She is living in Prague, but we will handle that. After all, we are still young.”

Currently, the newly-crowned European champion doesn’t have any substantial plans for next season: “Now, the Macau Grand Prix is coming up next. Of course, that is one I would like to win. Then, we will discuss which step is the best for me. After all, I don’t want to lose contact to Formula 1, which is still my goal.” Marciello is dreaming of conquering the top league in a Ferrari: “Having an Italian winning races with a Ferrari again after such a long time would be great, and it would be even better when I am this Italian.” By winning the title, he has come one step closer to making this dream come true: As the European champion, he will be rewarded with a test drive in a Formula 1 car of the Scuderia Ferrari by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile and the Ferrari Driver Academy.

FIA Euro F3