2017 Season Review: Carlin: Carlin secures driver championship title courtesy of Lando Norris

The 2017 season proved to be successful for Team Carlin: their driver Lando Norris won both the drivers’ and rookie titles in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship while the other Carlin drivers also delivered in fine style.

Lando Norris was the Carlin spearhead and the McLaren Junior convinced right from the start of the season. The Briton won the season opener and added quite a number of further wins to his tally over the course of the season. Norris’ biggest struggle were the starts. In the first half of the season, he regularly lost several positions when the lights were switched off but the young gun didn’t give in, worked on his skills together with the team and from mid-season on his starting problems were history. He claimed a total of nine race wins, seven second places and finished third in four races. He even managed to secured the FIA Formula 3 European Championship title early, with two races to go.

Although Norris clearly outperformed his team-mates with his two titles – in addition to winning the FIA F3 European Championship title he also clinched the rookie crown – they also impressed with good performances. Jehan Daruvala (Carlin), supported by the Sahara Force India Formula One Team and a rookie like Norris, was the second-best Carlin driver and finished sixth in the championship. The young gun who was born in Mumbay celebrated a win at the Norisring, came second at Monza and finished third at Budapest. In the rookie ranking he was second behind Norris.

At the end of the 30-race season, Ferdinand Habsburg had scored just five points less than Daruvala and became seventh in the championship. And the tall Austrian secured four podiums: at Spa-Francorchamps he made it to the top step, at Zandvoort he was runner-up and at Monza and in the season finale at Hockenheim he claimed third place. Habsburg who switched from the EuroFormula Open to the FIA F3 European Championship made consistent progress and delivered his masterpiece in the FIA Formula 3 World Cup in Macau. In a fierce and spectacular battle for the win with Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark with VEB) he passed the Brazilian on the way to the final corner but subsequently he and his rival both hit the crash barriers. In the end, a disappointed Habsburg who nonetheless was celebrated for his fighting spirit had to settle for finishing fourth.

In addition to the three Carlin drivers that contested the full 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship season, the fourth Carlin seat was filled by different drivers over the course of the season. Jake Dennis contested the first three race meetings of the season and was the most successful of the Carlin guest drivers: he secured a podium at Silverstone by coming second. Indian Ameya Vaidyanathan raced for Carlin at Spa-Francorchamps, Zandvoort and the Nürburgring. His best result was a 13th place in the Netherlands. Devlin DeFrancesco joined the Carlin F3 line-up – he also raced for the squad in the EuroFormula Open – at the Red Bull Ring and in the season finale at Hockenheim. In the third race of the Red Bull Ring meeting, the Canadian came close to scoring points but finished 12th in the end. While Sacha Fenestraz who contested just the Nürburgring weekend, succeeded in scoring a point in the third race of the meeting and as third-best rookie in the race he even took part in the podium ceremony. In addition, the Frenchman with Argentinean roots caused a stir by winning the Formula Renault Eurocup title.

The UK-based team around racing director Trevor Carlin secured second in the FIA F3 European Team Championship standings, while the crew managed to more than double the points it scored in the previous season.