Stuttgart/Imola: Esteban Ocon (18, Prema Powerteam) is the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion. The French youngster wrapped up the title on the penultimate race weekend of the season at Imola driving a Mercedes-Benz-powered car. Having now amassed 454 championship points, he can no longer be caught in the three remaining races to be contested during the final weekend of the 2014 season at Hockenheim (18th/19th October). In his debut FIA Formula 3 Championship campaign, Ocon has so far notched up nine wins, 15 pole positions and seven fastest race laps. In the 30 races contested to date, he has made 21 podium appearances.
Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of bringing on talented young racing drivers. With this title win in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Esteban Ocon is following in the footsteps of numerous well-known Formula 1 and DTM drivers who also achieved earlier success in cars powered by the Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. These include 2008 Formula 1 world champion and current MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver Lewis Hamilton, four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and the youngest ever race winner in DTM history, Pascal Wehrlein. No fewer than twelve of the 22 drivers competing for the 2014 Formula 1 championship were powered by Mercedes during the Formula 3 stage of their career.
The 2014 season is the first for the new Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. The F3 414 is Mercedes-Benz's response to a fundamentally new set of rules governing engines, which no longer require the use of a power unit based on that of a series model. The F3 414 is a pure racing engine with four cylinders, a maximum two litres of displacement and direct injection. Under the new FIA regulations, the air restrictor has been increased from 26mm to 28mm, thereby boosting performance. The new Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine pumps out well in excess of 200 horsepower. Like its predecessor, the new power unit was developed by Mercedes-Benz motorsport partner HWA AG.
"FIA Formula 3 European Champion - I can hardly believe that I've already won the title on the penultimate race weekend. My special thanks go to my Prema Power Team and of course, to Mercedes-Benz, without whose support this success would not have been possible. The new Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine was powerful and reliable right from the word go. I'm now looking forward to the season finale at Hockenheim where I intend to finish my season in style with another successful weekend."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes-Benz Head of Motorsport:
"Congratulations to the new FIA Formula 3 European Champion, Esteban Ocon. Esteban has performed exceptionally well in his first season in this series and has deservedly clinched the European title ahead of time. The junior development programme has been one of our priorities here at Mercedes for many years now - from the early days of Michael Schumacher through to Lewis Hamilton and most recently Pascal Wehrlein. Having recorded his maiden DTM win and having been named as reserve driver for our MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Silver Arrows Formula 1 team, Pascal has demonstrated that it really pays to work hard in Formula 3. This is where numerous drivers have laid the foundations of a successful future career."
Souce: Daimler AG