The Lotus F1 Junior travels to his home race in Pau, Southern France, with a 36-point lead over another rookie: Antonio Fuoco.
In the six 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship races already contested, five drivers made it to the highest step on the podium: Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam), Antonio Fuoco (Prema Powerteam), Lucas Auer (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Max Verstappen (Van Amersfoort Racing). Meanwhile, 17-year-old rookie Esteban Ocon from France is the only driver on the grid who already has got two race wins under his belt. The Lotus F1 Junior travels to his home race in Pau, Southern France, with a 36-point lead over another rookie: Antonio Fuoco. But the 2.76-kilometre street circuit at the foot of the Pyrenees represents virgin soil for the local hero, too.
But this does not only apply to Ocon, who won a race both at Silverstone and Hockenheim and made it to the podium in five of the six races contested to date. His toughest rival, Antonio Fuoco, also is going to make his debut appearance in Pau. Meanwhile, just five of the drivers on this year’s grid already have gathered Formula 3 experience at Pau: Tom Blomqvist (Jagonya Ayam with Carlin), Richard Goddard (ThreeBond with T Sport), Félix Serrallés (Team West-Tec F3), Sandro Zeller (Jo Zeller Racing) and Felix Rosenqvist (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport). In 2012, Sweden’s Rosenqvist came close to securing a Pau podium by finishing fourth. Currently, Tom Blomqvist is tied for third position with Italian Antonio Fuoco, thus being the currently best-placed of the aforementioned five drivers. And the Briton would love to close the gap to championship leader Ocon, in Southern France.
Lucas Auer also travels to the Grand Prix de Pau with boosted confidence. The Austrian, currently fourth in the championship, delivered in fine style, at Hockenheim, and celebrated his first win of the 2014 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. But right behind him, Max Verstappen is waiting for his chance of gaining ground. The 16-year-old rookie also won a race at Hockenheim and this weekend, the Dutchman has to face the next challenge: his first car race on a tight and winding street circuit.
Esteban Ocon (Prema Powerteam): “I never raced at Pau, to date, but the circuit looks fantastic and I’m looking forward to finally contesting some races in France, my home country, again. I completed several laps in the simulator and tried to learn the track by dint of racing games. I know that overtaking is virtually impossible. So, the qualifying sessions will be the key factor when it comes to winning the races. And although the circuit is new to me, my approach will be the same as on any other race weekend: I want to win as many races as possible.”