Reigning British Formula Three Champions Carlin are set to compete in the new FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Northern Irishman William Buller and Red Bull Junior driver Carlos Sainz Jr. The 10 round championship also incorporates the F3 Euro Series. Both Buller and Sainz Jr have experience in British Formula 3; Buller a previous racer winner in 2011, and Sainz Jr an early front runner in this year’s British championship. Having claimed three consecutive F3 titles with Volkswagen in Britain, Carlin will be racing with Volkswagen power in Europe this season
In addition to Carlin’s five car squad in the Cooper Tires British F3 Series, the team will enter two cars in the ten event calendar of this year’s FIA European Formula 3 Championship, which incorporates the full F3 Euro Series calendar and two events of the British F3 Series. The team previously competed in F3 Euro Series from 2008 – 2009, taking a race win with Brendon Hartley at the team’s home event at Brands Hatch in 2009.
Despite his young age, 19 year-old Buller already has two seasons of Formula 3 experience and has amassed an impressive 14 podiums in his British F3 career, including a race win at Paul Ricard last year. Buller went on to finish fourth in last year’s championship.
Buller’s F3 campaign will be run in conjunction with an assault on the GP3 Series with Carlin.
Joining Buller in Carlin’s European Formula 3 team will be Red Bull Junior Sainz. As well as impressing on his F3 debut in the UK, Sainz has a successful racing CV to his name. Sainz enjoyed a successful 2011 season competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup where he finished vice-champion, as well as claiming the Northern European Cup with eight wins and 17 podiums. Sainz has already tasted champagne in British F3 at last weekend’s event at Oulton Park, after finishing the first race of the season in an impressive third position.
Sainz’s British Formula Three commitments will take priority over the European series.
Speaking about his busy race schedule, Buller said, “As a driver it was difficult to wait for everything to get sorted, but I'm delighted to be signed with Carlin as they are one of the best teams there is, as their record of championships shows.
"I believe the new FIA European F3 Championship will be a major series in the coming years and I really want to try and win it this season. There is a lot of effort going into the programme and it’s great to be able to count on the support of Carlin, Volkswagen and all my sponsors.”
Team mate Sainz added, “I’m very happy to be adding more races to my calendar in 2012, and would like to thanks Volkswagen, Red Bull and Carlin for making this possible. I am really looking forward to the start of the championship, even though we arrive with hardly any experience of the Hankook tyres. I am still very optimistic about us making a good start however, especially on a track like Hockenheim, which I really like. For sure it will be a busy season, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Speaking about the team’s return to Europe, Trevor Carlin said, “We still firmly believe that Formula 3 is an extremely important learning ground for young drivers, and having been presented with the opportunity to race in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. Our programme in the British Series remains unaffected, and the team are excited about the new challenge in Europe this season. With Will and Carlos we clearly have a very talented team, and I look forward to seeing them fight for race wins this year.”