Why is Prema so dominant in junior single-seaters?

In the feeder series’ world, it’s extremely hard to stay at the top as a team. However, Prema has done just that – and they seem to be in the hunt for more success this year, with an incredible start in both FRMEC and F4 UAE. The Italian outfit and its affiliated team Mumbai Falcons are currently leading both championships after great performances from the likes of Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Dino Beganovic, Ugo Ugochukwu and James Wharton. Their success has been nothing short of incredible, but how has the team gained the incredible reputation it now holds?

By Daniele Spadi

Founded in 1983 by Angelo Rosin and Giorgio Piccolo, Prema started operating as a small team competing in national and European races. 40 years later, the Italian outfit has established itself as one of the giants of the feeder series’ ladder, extending their participation to many different junior single-seater championships that go from the most important ones (such as F2 and F3) to entry-level competitions like Formula 4 and F1 Academy.

Despite being operative in championships that use different cars, Prema holds the title as the most successful team in Formula 2, Formula 3 and Italian F4 – in both the drivers’ and teams’ standings. There are many reasons as for why they are considered the best team in feeder series’ short history, but a couple of them stand out as the most relevant ones.

Budget and personnel

It’s impossible to deny the huge role money has in the world of motorsport. An established team like Prema definitely has the resources to hire the best people in any department – keeping them satisfied in the process.

Having the best people for the job in the best environment is a deadly combination that is often unmatched by other teams in the feeder series’ world.

More budget means better personnel, which usually generates more wins and therefore attracts new and better sponsors. It creates a snowball effect that helps Prema stay at the top and gives them the best opportunities and resources to win every championship they enter.

Top-tier team members

However, budget isn’t the sole reason for Prema’s success. The team’s history and recent results are more appealing than any other offer laying around, and every driver knows it. To start the season as one of their drivers means to aim to win the title, or at least to be a front-runner for the majority of the year.

In a hugely competitive world where drivers usually have no more than two to three seasons to express their full potential, it’s crucial for them to find a drive with the best team out there. Moreover, winning and attracting more sponsors grants great exposure, too – something that any driver needs in order to try and make it to Formula 1 one day. 

Dino Beganovic, 2022 FRECA Champion for Prema | Credit: Sebastian Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency

Since partnering with the Ferrari Drivers’ Academy back in 2011, many incredible drivers have raced – and won – for the Italian outfit: names like Charles Leclerc, Kamui Kobayashi, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Oscar Piastri and Mick Schumacher have all won titles with Prema on their way to Formula 1. 

Experience and versatility

In championships where the car is developed by a third-party manufacturer and can’t be fully developed by the teams, it’s their knowledge and experience that usually do the trick. With years of experience and many championships under their belt, Prema is now accustomed to the various different cars they race with.

Even in case of a new challenge, such as new car specs and regulation changes, the Italian team’s experience and versatility come to the rescue and help them secure a good foundation for the season ahead.

As of late, Prema has ventured into the endurance world, too – winning the European Le Mans Series title in 2022 and finishing on the podium at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 category.

Despite being a different racing genre compared to single-seaters, having multiple successful teams scattered across the different disciplines of motorsport gives Prema the opportunity to move their personnel around and give every department the best people for the job, which positively affects their chances to win yet another trophy.

Will it ever end?

As of late, Prema’s dominant run has started to slow down, especially in super competitive series like Formula 2 and Formula 3. In 2022, the Italian outfit failed to win either of the drivers’ championships for the first time since the latter got rebranded in 2019; and despite losing out in the season finale in F3, they never looked in contention for either of the F2 titles during the season.

This could go down to many factors such as circumstance, unlucky races, and a couple of mistakes that cost the team some points. What’s more, the utter brilliance displayed by others – like Felipe Drugovich’s dream title run and Victor Martins’ huge consistency – didn’t help, either.

Red and white formula style car driving to the left of the camera with many cars behind it.
Ollie Bearman driving in FIA F3 for Prema | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

However, 2023 looks extremely promising for Prema. Other than being clear favorites to win it all in championships like FRECA and Italian F4, the team will have two very exciting line-ups for both Formula 3 and Formula 2.

In what promises to be a huge fight for the F3 title, Prema will try to get the crown back with one of Paul Aron, Dino Beganovic and Zak O’Sullivan. In F2, Ollie Bearman’s sheer talent and the experience of Frederik Vesti could be a fantastic mix to win both championships next year.

As always, it’s really hard to predict a clear outcome in any championship that is part of the feeder series’ ladder, and it’s their uncertainty and high-level competition that make some of the most exciting racing in the world of motorsport.

But if any team can be described as the benchmark to beat in any of the feeder series’ championships, that’s Prema.

Header image credit: Media Stellantis


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