This weekend, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship will contest the races 25, 26 and 27 of its 2017 season at the 4.326-kilometre long Red Bull Ring. 17-year old rookie Lando Norris (Carlin) would love to secure the title early in Austria this weekend, but his toughest rivals – Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam), Joel Eriksson (Motopark) and Callum Ilott (Prema Powerteam) will try as hard as they can to take the battle for the title down to the season finale.
Briton Lando Norris travels to the penultimate race meeting of the season with a 73-point lead over second-placed Maximilian Günther, his gap on Sweden’s Joel Eriksson amounts to 116 points and Norris’ compatriot Callum Ilott is fourth, 121 points behind the championship leader.
The maximum of points that can be scored on a race weekend is 75, thus Norris – who celebrated nine race wins in the 24 races contested to date – has to extended his advantage to more than 75 points following the three races at Spielberg if he wants to secure the title early. Norris would then succeed reigning champion Lance Stroll who was signed by the Williams F1 Team for 2017 after having won the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title last year. The only one of the four championship contenders who already has got a Red Bull Ring win under his belt is Callum Ilott who won the first race of the 2016 round at Spielberg.
In addition to the battle for the title, Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin) will also take centre stage – after all, he is the great-grandson of the last Austrian Emperor, Charles I and the only Austrian on the competitive FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid. Habsburg, whose full first name is Ferdinand Zvonimir Maria Balthus Keith Michael Otto Antal Bahnam Leonhard, currently holds seventh position in the drivers’ championship. Two positions ahead of him is Jake Hughes (Hitech Grand Prix) in fifth place. The Briton stands for the progress of team Hitech Grand Prix, as he gave his squad the first race win in the 2017 FIA F3 European Championship season at the Nürburgring. Ralf Aron (Hitech Grand Prix) also made it to the Eifel podium while Tadasuke Makino (Hitech Grand Prix) came close with finishing fourth in the second race.
Ferdinand Habsburg (Carlin): “I’m really happy with my season to date. It’s my first on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship grid, I already won a race and secured another two podiums. I set myself the goal to finish fifth or sixth in the championship and I’m on target so far. I truly look forward to the race meeting in my home country, Austria. The penultimate corner of the Red Bull Ring is a true courage-testing corner that is big fun. I generally like racing at the Red Bull Ring and I think that Spielberg is the most beautiful place on the calendar. Additionally, a home race always boosts your confidence. Therefore, I hope that I will be able to show my rivals the ropes…”