Following an intense and thrilling Finale at Mugello last weekend which saw Dino Beganovic crowned as champion, drivers will be finalising their plans for next season. F1 Feeder Series was at Mugello to understand what lies ahead for the drivers in 2023 the upcoming FRECA season.
By Perceval Wolff
After performing in one of the most competitive European feeder series for some time, it’s natural for the best drivers to make it to the next step of the F1 feeder series ladder. Below we’ll guide you through who’s leaving, who’s staying and who’ll be new to FRECA.
Two drivers have already announced their plans for next year, with Paul Aron staying at Prema but in F3, and Gabriel Bortoleto also joining this championship with Trident.
Several other frontrunners are expected to join them in FIA Formula 3 next year. Following his FRECA title, Dino Beganovic will keep Aron as his teammate by stepping up to F3 with Prema. Runner-up Gabriele Minì will leave ART to join Hitech, after racing with them in Formula Regional Asia testing at Jerez earlier this year.
Last year’s runner-up Hadrien David was forced to do another year in FRECA as he couldn’t gather enough budget progress to F3. After a fully funded season with R-ace GP where he finished fourth, the Frenchman should get his shot in FIA F3 next year. Currently in talks with two teams, he seems closer to Carlin as he has already tested with them for two days at Jerez.
Rookie champion Leonardo Fornaroli is looking likely to join Gabriel Bortoleto at Trident, after testing with them at Jerez for three days. Before the final race of the season, he told F1 Feeder Series he was “really hoping to drive F3 next year,” before empahsising it was not yet confirmed. Being the first FRECA Trident driver to get a title should surely convince the Italian squad to promote him to FIA F3.
After leaving ART for MP Motorsport during the season, Mari Boya is also expected to go to F3 with the Dutch squad in 2023. With a promising one-off in FIA F3, Sebastian Montoya looks likely be Minì’s teammate at Hitech GP. The Red Bull athlete is also in talks to join the Red Bull Junior Team as an affiliate driver.
Endurance & GT
Several drivers will not only leave FRECA, but also single-seaters. Axel Gnos has tested LMP3 cars over the last few months. Several other drivers have also been contacted to go to LMP3 but prefer to stay in FRECA for one more year.
French F4 champion last season, Esteban Masson has struggled to perform at the upper level in 2022. A move to Porsche Carrera Cup France or Porsche Supercup is on the table for him. Pietro Delli Guanti has already completed this move after leaving FRECA during the season and going to Porsche Carrera Cup Italia.
Following a strong return with two podiums in three rounds, Pierre-Louis Chovet has confirmed to F1 Feeder Series that Mugello was his final race in single-seaters. Part of the Lamborghini Young Drivers Program, the RPM guest driver will now focus on GT. He will participate to the final shootout at Portimão in two weeks to become a Lamborghini official driver.
Seventh of the drivers’ standings despite missing the second half of the season, Michael Belov seems to be in a complicated situation. According to two industry people present at Mugello, his management has not paid MP Motorsport and the Russian driver is contractually blocked so he can’t drive anywhere else. However, his management has strongly denied these allegations.
“Due to evens related to the war that involves Russia, the country where Michael was born and permanently resides, he had to stay in Russia until the end of last September. Michael interrupted his participation in the championship due to events of force majeure and certainly not of his own will”. Contacted by several teams for the end of the FRECA season, Belov could not accept any of their propositions and stayed in Russia. To use the words of one team owner we talked with, Belov is “at the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
The first FRECA driver for 2023 is yet to be announced but Kas Haverkort seems be following in the same path as David and Aron last year, as he could be forced to do a third season in the same category. Fifth in the standings, the Dutchman was the only frontrunner to drive in the FRECA post-season testing at Mugello, still with Van Amersfoort Racing. He should be the lead driver of the Dutch squad for the 2023 season, before a potential move in F3 in 2024.
Reigning team champions Prema may have already secured their line-up for 2023. Andrea Kimi Antonelli and Rafael Câmara will be joining them from Italian F4. Lorenzo Fluxá is also closing in on a deal with Prema, for what would be his third season in the category.
After another strong season, R-ace GP is always one of the most exciting options for drivers trying to join a top team. After testing with them last year, Tim Tramnitz did it again this week at Mugello and is the clear favourite to join them in 2023. Many drivers are being evaluated by the French squad, such as Nicolas Baptiste, Aiden Neate, Martinius Stenshorne, but also Frederik Lund, Charlie Wurz and Marcus Amand who have tested with the team earlier this year.
ART GP will continue the adventure with Laurens Van Hoepen in line with what Team Principal Mathieu Zangarelli told F1 Feeder Series at the start of the year. An experienced driver and a rookie will be placed alongside the Dutchman. Sami Meguetounif has been testing with ART, and two rookie drivers, Charlie Wurz and Marcus Amand are the main candidates for the final seat.
Trident will retain Roman Bilinski for a second year. A 2022 FRECA driver that “has performed well on Saturday” is in advanced talks with the Italian team, according to Team Principal Luca Zerbini. Impressive for his maiden FRECA tests, Nikhil Bohra is one of the candidates for the third seat, for what could be a 2-year contract, according to information circulating in the paddock. Sergio Perez’s protégé Noel Leon is also in contention.
After racing with their sister team this season, F1 Feeder Series understands Victor Bernier will join MP Motorsport in 2023. Coming from F4, Valerio Rinicella will be his teammate.
RPM Team Principal Keith Donegan stated he would like Santiago Ramos to stay and that he would like to attract an Irish driver to this Irish team, such as rookie Adam Fitzgerald who has been testing with RPM at Mugello.
Macéo Capietto’s main option is to stay with Monolite after this strong rookie season. However, the Frenchman is also in talks with several teams such as RPM, and could join a bigger team if he is able to secure enough budget.
Despite several rumours, G4 Racing will stay in FRECA and will not join F3 despite being one of the pre-selected teams to enter the F1-supported championship. There are advanced talks with two drivers but the team are yet to confirm who. Reigning French F4 champion Alessandro Giusti is believed to be one of them.
FRECA teams will have several days of testing at Monza, Spielberg, Barcelona, Le Castellet, the last testing day being on December 16th. The drivers and the teams will then have one month of rest before the start of the Formula Regional Asia season at the start of 2023.
Header photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool
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