Ever improving FIA Formula 3 European Championship racer Nikita Mazepin will be back for a second season in the world’s premier F3 category in 2017 after today, TBC, confirming his return with British squad Hitech GP.
Off the back of a very impressive maiden campaign in the championship with the Silverstone-based squad this year, the 17-year-old from Moscow is now determined to make even greater strides as he targets outright podium finishes in his sophomore season. Securing a best Rookie Championship result of third during the 2016 season finale at Hockenheim, ending the year ninth in the class standings, Mazepin also raced to four outright points finishes with a best overall result of eighth place on two occasions – at Spa-Francorchamps and Hockenheim.
“I had a good first season in Formula 3”, commented Mazepin, “Of course, it was a steep learning curve as it was only my second full season in car racing. I managed to show at certain points, particularly Spa, Paul Ricard and Hockenheim, where I had my first rookie podium, that I have the potential to make the step up next year to fight at the front. This is the target.”
As well as contesting the main FIA Formula 3 European Championship this year, Mazepin also made his high-profile Formula One test debut in July with the Sahara Force India F1 Team at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. Fast forward to the end of the year and the recent Macau F3 Grand Prix, the Russian delivered an excellent showing on his maiden visit to the hugely challenging Guia street circuit. Now, Hitech GP team boss Oliver Oakes is relishing the opportunity of further developing Mazepin’s natural talent.
“Nikita had a typical rookie season in F3, showing some promise and also finding some tracks more difficult”, said Oakes, “He had some really strong races, particularly Spa and Hockenheim, where he showed he has the ability to be at the front in F3. We need to build on that and some consistency next season, if we do then Nikita can be at the sharp end of the field throughout the year.”
Hitech GP, of course, secured multiple race wins and podium results in its first season in FIA Formula 3 this year with George Russell and Ben Barnicoat. The Silverstone-based squad went on to conclude a headline-grabbing campaign as Team Vice-Champions. Mazepin will team-up with the recently announced Ralf Aron next year at Hitech GP, both drivers heading into their sophomore season in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The pilot of the squad’s third Mercedes-powered Dallara will be confirmed in due course.Next year’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship is expected to begin on British soil at a yet-to-be-determined venue. The series will again visit Monza in Italy, Pau street circuit in France, Zandvoort in The Netherlands, the Norisring street circuit in Germany, Spa in Belgium, the Hungaroring in Hungary, Austria’s Red Bull Ring and also the Nurburgring and Hockenheim in Germany.