The moment has finally come for Prema Powerteam. The Italian squad will line-up this weekend for the first round out of nine of the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series at the French Le Castellet racetrack. In addition to the Euro Series schedule, Prema will be also running in the maiden edition of the new FIA International Trophy, articulated in 5 rounds, of which one is also part of the Euro Series, at Hockenheim. The Paul Ricard Circuit (which is more than 5-km long in its race configuration) is located between Marseille and Toulon, and has already hosted the championship's opener in 2010. The event will be part of a Le Mans Series endurance meeting. Prema will be fielding two Mercedes-powered Dallaras for the team's two Spaniards, returning Daniel Juncadella and newcomer Roberto Mehri, who made his debut with the Italian squad last season at Macau.
As an additional note, the Formula 3 Euro Series format will be changing for this season. Three races will be held instead of two. Two races will be starting on Saturday, while one will follow on Sunday. Race 1 and Race 3 will be run over a 40-minute distance awarding points with an F.1-like system (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-3-2-1). The shorter, 20-minute race 2 will feature a 2010-like points system (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1). The starting grids will be set in the following way:
- Race 1: by the second fastest laptime clocked by each driver in qualifying
- Race 2: by the Race 1 results, with the top-8 position reversed
- Race 3: by the fastest laptime clocked by each driver in qualifying
The Series' new format will enable drivers to run more laps thanks to the additional race, and to push harder through the whole session in qualifying.
Angelo Rosin, Team Principal:
"We're ready to line-up for the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series. We expect this year's championship to be quite tough and high-profile despite the low number of cars entered. All the teams are extremely professional, and the drivers are the best of the current youngsters' panorama so we really can't complain. We're lining-up two cars for two experienced racers like Juncadella, who's returning for another season with us, and Mehri, who really doesn't need any introduction. He's at his third year in the championship and really wants to win the title like we do. I think that we can rely on two great drivers who can accomplish every goal we set. We want to let the results speak though, we don't need other types of feedback!"