The 2021 racing season is fast closing in and while all the focus will be on many of domestic Australian championships getting underway over the next month, there are plenty of Aussies abroad who are gearing up for big years themselves
Ahead of these overseas championships and series, motorsport.org.au takes a look at drivers who will be representing our country on the European stage.
FIA Formula 1 World Championship
Australia’s Formula 1 star will begin his 10th full season in the world’s premier racing category with a new team in McLaren F1. After two seasons racing for Renault where his best results came last year with two podiums, Riccardo will launch into 2021 with a point to prove as he continues in his quest to become a Formula 1 world champion.
Ricciardo and FIA Formula 1 World Championship’s first race in 2021 will be at the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March.
FIA Formula 2 Championship
Arguably Australia’s next great hope for an F1 seat, Piastri has already showcased his impressive talent on the world stage, winning the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship by the narrowest of margins against a classy field of talented youngsters. The 19-year-old has once again signed up as an academy driver with Alpine F1 Team and will compete in the Formula 2 Championship with the reigning champions in Prema Racing.
Piastri begins his season at the Bahrain Grand Prix on 26-28 March.
Jack Doohan and Calan Williams
FIA Formula 3 Championship
Last year was less than ideal for Doohan, with a 26th placing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship nowhere near his initial expectations. A post season test with Trident Racing saw the Red Bull Racing academy youngster gain plenty of momentum, which he will carry through into a second season in Formula 3. The team with which he will be racing for, however, is still to be confirmed.
Like Doohan, it wasn’t the perfect debut season in the FIA Formula 3 Championship for Williams as he finished 31st and learnt a lot of important lessons along the way. However things are looking promising for Williams and Jenzer Motorsport, with the West Australian producing the second fastest times during the two-day post-season test last year. With the Aussie and Jenzer to pair up for a second crack at Formula 3 in 2021, Williams will be confident of a march up the order.
Doohan and Williams begin their seasons in the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship in May at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Christian Mansell and Bart Horsten
BRDC British Formula 3 Championship
Last year saw 15-year-old Mansell enjoy a dream maiden campaign in British Formula 4 with the Rookie Cup title. In 2021, he has made the step up to the British Formula 3 Championship and will be one of the youngest drivers on grid. Signing up with a successful team in Carlin Motorsport, Mansell will be looking to continue the momentum from last year’s outright seventh place in the tier below.
Joining Mansell in British F3 for his second season in the championship will be Bart Horsten. Last year proved a mixed campaign for the West Australian as the Lanan Racing driver finished the season in 10th outright with a trio of podiums to his name. This year, he has jumped ship to join Fortec Motorsport in the hopes of moving up the standings.
Mansell and Horsten will begin their season at Brands Hatch on 22 May.
British Formula 4 Championship
The youngest name on this list is Marcos Flack and the 14-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Mansell when he makes his international open wheeler debut in the British Formula 4 Championship. After coming second to James Wharton in the Ferrari Driver Academy’s selection process late last year, Flack has already shown he has skill behind the wheel and will pair up with Argenti Motorsport for an assault on the F4 championship.
The 2021 British Formula 4 Championship begins on 8 May in Thruxton.
French Formula 4 Championship
Flack isn’t the only Australian karter to graduate into an open-wheel car in 2021, with Hugh Barter earning himself a fully paid seat in the French Formula 4 championship. The young Victorian joins the Richard Mille Academy, where selected drivers were put through mental and physical tests before taking part in laps driving a Formula 4 car.
Just the third driver to be announced already, Barter will begin his journey on 3-5 April when the season gets underway in Nogaro.
2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine
Having raced in the Australian Formula 4 Championship in 2019, Tommy Smith went abroad to tackle the Formula 3 Asian Championship. A mixed season behind the wheel saw Smith return to Australia before confirming his place in the FIA Formula Regional European Championship with JD Motorsport. However before he heads to Europe, the 18-year-old will enjoy a small stint in the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.
The 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine season kicks off at Spa on 24 April.