What does it take to earn an invite from Mercedes-Benz to test in a DTM car? You may want to start with a resumé that includes a FIA Formula 3 European Champion title. Like the title recently won by Italy’s 18-year-old Raffaele Marciello from Prema Powerteam. Finishing fourth during this weekend’s race, Marciello is the newest FIA Formula 3 European Champion, and now, Mercedes-Benz has now invited him to test a DTM car.
So far this season, Marciello has recorded twelve wins, 18 podiums, twelve pole positions and seven fastest race laps. Drivers powered by a Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine occupy the first four places in the FIA Formula 3 Championship standings: after Marciello and Felix Rosenqvist (21, Mücke Motorsport) come Alex Lynn (20, GB, Prema Powerteam) and Lucas Auer (19, Austria , Prema Powerteam). Marciello finished last season as European Championship runner-up and in third place in the Formula 3 Euro Series. In the prestigious Formula 3 Masters at Zandvoort, he finished second behind Daniel Juncadella.
New champion Marciello is following in the footsteps of Roberto Merhi and Daniel Juncadella who won the FIA Formula 3 title in the two previous years in a Prema Powerteam Dallara-Mercedes and were subsequently promoted to the Mercedes-Benz DTM driver squad. In addition to Juncadella and Merhi, Mercedes-Benz DTM juniors Christian Vietoris and Pascal Wehrlein also enjoyed F3 success with the Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine. Twelve of the 22 current Formula 1 drivers races cars powered by Mercedes-Benz during their apprenticeship in Formula 3, including 2008 F1 champion and MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver Lewis Hamilton, three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and 2010 DTM champion Paul Di Resta.
Teams using Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engines have won the Formula 3 Euro Series team championship in nine of the last ten seasons. On eight occasions, the winner of the Formula 3 Euro Series drivers’ championship was powered by Mercedes. Since the debut of the M271 Formula 3 engine in 2002, it has been instrumental in securing 226 wins in the German Formula 3 Championship, the Formula 3 Euro Series, the British Formula 3 Championship and the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Raffaele Marciello: “What a fantastic day for me. Winning the FIA Formula 3 Championship is not only the biggest success in my career to date but also a great springboard for my future in motorsport. I can hardly believe that I am the latest in a long line of Formula 3 champions such as Lewis Hamilton and Paul Di Resta who have experienced success at this level with a Mercedes-Benz powered car and have then made the step up to the DTM and Formula 1. Obviously, I still have some way to go, so I’m all the more grateful to Mercedes-Benz for this invitation to test a DTM car. I’ll be doing my very best to justify the confidence they have shown in me and to use the opportunity to learn as much as possible for my future development.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Motorsport at Mercedes-Benz: “Congratulations to Raffaele Marciello on winning the FIA Formula 3 Championship. To triumph in such a keenly contested racing series is an extraordinary achievement, and he has well and truly earned the title. Here at Mercedes-Benz, we have had considerable success over the years in promoting young talent in the sport. The latest fruits of our development programme can be seen in the five members of our Mercedes DTM Junior squad, four of whom enjoyed success at Formula 3 level in Mercedes powered cars. It therefore gives me great pleasure to offer Raffaele a test drive in a Mercedes-Benz DTM car as a reward for his achievements this year. It goes to show that, if you work hard for success in Formula 3, it can lead on to greater things in your motor racing career.”