AUSTRALIA'S impressive young open-wheel star-on-the-rise, Joey Mawson, has signed a deal to contest the prestigious FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2017 – an important next step towards his target of Formula One.
After a standout performance to win the ADAC German Formula 4 Championship last year ahead of Mick Schumacher, Mawson has chosen to stay with his title-winning team Van Amersfoort Racing for the 10-round 2017 Euro championship.
European F3 has been the launching pad for a few current F1 drivers, the most recent being 2016 champion Lance Stroll who has joined the Williams F1 team this season.
Two others are Esteban Ocon, now a Force India driver who won the 2014 Euro F3 title, and current Red Bull F1 driver Max Verstappen who was runner up that same year.
Mawson’s clear target is to continue to follow in the career path of fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo who climbed through the European open-wheel scene before breaking into F1.
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Unlike some of his contemporaries at the same level of the sport, Sydneysider Mawson can’t rely on family money or an instantly recognisable surname to help him climb the costly motorsport ladder.
His mother works evenings to make extra cash to provide living expenses for Mawson in Europe.
He will also continue to have the support of a Podium, a small yet enthusiastic group of Australian businessmen who are true believers in Mawson’s talent.
Mawson, 20, is also pleased to remain in the familiar surroundings of the Van Amersfoort team as he takes the next vital move to F3.
“This will be my third year with Van Amersfoort and I’m really excited about the adventure of moving into Formula 3 with them,” said Mawson.
“To win the [German F4] championship last year with them and the team at Podium was a real dream come true, that was our aim at the start of the year and we achieved everything that we set out to do.
“It’s a very big step from Formula 4 to Formula 3 but one that I’m really looking forward to,” said Mawson who will line up against a familiar rival from the recent past –Mick Schumacher.
And he’s up for the F3 fight. “I’ve tested a couple of times late last year and felt right at home,” Mawson said
Van Amersfoort Racing team principal Frits van Amersfoort, a believer in continuity, is delighted to have Mawson driving with his team for a third consecutive year.
Mawson, who is back home after contesting an Asian series over the break, will head back to Europe in the coming weeks before the European Formula 3 Championship begins on April 14 at Silverstone.
2017 Formula 3 European Championship schedule
- April 14-16 ‑ Silverstone (Great Britain) [WEC]
- April 29-30 ‑ Monza (Italy) [WTCC]
- May 20-21 ‑ Pau (France) [F3 GP]
- June 17-18 ‑ Hungaroring (Hungary) [DTM]
- July 1-2 ‑ Norisring (Germany) [DTM]
- July 28-29 ‑ Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) [Blancpain GT Series]
- August 19-20 ‑ Zandvoort (The Netherlands) [DTM]
- September 9-10 ‑ Nürburgring (Germany) [DTM]
- September 23-24 ‑ Red Bull Ring – Spielberg (Austria) [DTM]
- October 14-15 ‑ Hockenheim (Germany) [DTM]