Cooper Tires British F3 2012 season to open
The Cooper Tires British F3 Series – long established as a feeder series to the pinnacle of single-seat racing – begins at Oulton Park on Easter weekend, alongside the British GT Championship, provided and sponsored by Cooper brand, Avon. The F3 series runs on Cooper rubber, and the brand has been title sponsor since the 2009 season, when it took over from Avon; in total the company has now been involved in the series for 30 years, its first season being 1982.
This year, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, champions from the 2009 and 2010 seasons respectively, began racing for the Toro Rosso F1 team, while 2007 National Class champion Sergio Perez stunned onlookers by taking second in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Cooper says that each of this year’s F3 drivers will be aiming to follow a similar path to the top.
One of the favourites to do so is Red Bull-backed Carlos Sainz Jr, son of the rally legend of the same name. Driving for Carlin, which has won the series for the past four seasons, will help him achieve this, but the extra experience of his team mates Jack Harvey, Pietro Fantin, Harry Tincknell and Jazeman Jaafar mean that, even within the Carlin team, there will be a fierce battle.
The introduction of the new-for-2012 Dallara chassis will give the other teams a real chance to break Carlin’s stranglehold on the series, with Fortec Motorsport, Double R Racing and T-Sport all keen to make their mark on the series again.
Paul Coates, general manager for Avon Tyres Motorsport, said: “A lot has happened in world motorsport over the last 30 years but, throughout it all, British F3 has remained one of the most important championships on the ladder to F1. Cooper works closely with each team and driver in the series to ensure that the championship retains the quality that makes it so successful, and there’s every reason to believe that 2012 will be another thrilling championship to watch.”
The first three races of the season take place at Oulton Park on Easter Saturday, with a further 26 races spread over nine weekends at circuits including Monza in Italy, Pau and Paul Ricard in France, Spa in Belgium, and Silverstone in the UK.