2017 Season Review: Joel Eriksson shines for Team Motopark

The 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season proved to be a successful one for Team Motopark. Their spearhead, Joel Eriksson, the best rookie in the 2016 FIA F3 European Championship season, was defeated by just one driver – the new champion Lando Norris – and finished the season as runner-up. In the team ranking, the Germany-based squad finished third.

Team Motopark started into the season with Joel Eriksson, Marino Sato and Keyvan Andres. As Sato and Andres weren’t as experienced as Joel Eriksson, it was up to the well-versed Swede to make for the highlights in the early stages of the season. And he did so in great style: the 19-year old won a race as early as in the first race meeting at Silverstone and also won a race each at all following venues up to round four in Budapest, thus establishing himself as a championship contender. Then, however, he had to cope with a dry spell of four race weekends without a win but came back with a great final spurt: in the final six races of the season, the BMW junior driver celebrated three race wins, finished runner-up twice and missed the podium just once. With this streak of successes, he also managed to steal Maximilian Günther’s (Prema Powerteam) second place in the championship.

At Budapest, a fourth driver was added to the team’s line-up: German David Beckmann joined the squad. The 17-year old made it to the points right away and repeated scoring at some other events over the course of the season. At the end of the season, Beckmann had established himself as the second-best Motopark driver.

Japan’s Marino Sato secured third position in the team-internal ranking. The 17-year old advanced to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship from the Italian Formula 4 and needed his time to adapt to the high level of competitiveness on the FIA F3 European Championship grid. Furthermore, for him and his team-mate Keyvan Andres, many circuits on the 2017 race calendar represented virgin soil. Nonetheless, Sato made it to the points at Spielberg. While his team-mate Andres who was born in Cologne but lives in the USA came close to scoring several times but didn’t quite make it, in the end.

Meanwhile, Romania’s Petru Florescu and Estonia’s Jüri Vips made just sporadic appearances for Motopark. Florescu contested the Nürburgring and Red Bull Ring meetings while Vips represented the Motopark colours in the season finale at Hockenheim. Vips who advanced to the series as reigning German Formula 4 Champion finished 12th in two of the three races while the best result of Florescu, a EuroFormula Open driver in 2017, was a 13th place.

Together, the Motopark drivers scored enough points to secure the third position in the team ranking. And in mid-November, in Macau, the team had even more reason to celebrate: arguably one of the most significant races in the Formula 3 season, the Macau Grand Prix, was won by Motopark driver Dan Ticktum.