Ben Barnicoat to do first F3 test next week with Prema Powerteam

Formula Renault Eurocup title contender Ben Barnicoat is to get his first Formula 3 test next week with top squad Prema Powerteam

Ben Barnicoat to do first F3 test next week with Prema Powerteam

The 18-year-old Briton, who won last year's Formula Renault NEC title in his first season of car racing, is one of two F3 newcomers Italian team Prema is trying out at Vallelunga on Monday and Tuesday.

Barnicoat is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, whose existing F3 driver Jake Dennis lies fourth in the European Championship points with the Mercedes-powered Prema team.

Team manager Rene Rosin said: "With Racing Steps everything started two years ago when we first tested Jake [before he joined Carlin for 2014], then he was with us for this year and everything worked very well, and he is fighting for the top three in the championship.

"From this, everything is very good with RSF, and we are trying to get Ben for the future - that is quite automatic for us.

"Normally, if you are an RSF driver you're quite good, so we're really looking forward to it."

Barnicoat said: "To do the test so early on is a great opportunity to try and get the drive for next year.

"I can be a bit more relaxed because I know that everything's going to be done right - I'm really excited and grateful for the opportunity."

Barnicoat will be joined at the test by 17-year-old Estonian Ralf Aron, who has won this year's Italian F4 Championship with Prema to follow in the footsteps of 2014 title winner Lance Stroll.

"F3 is a logical step after winning F4 - we wanted to see how everything goes and from there we will start talking," said Rosin.

Rosin believes Aron is capable of making as strong an impression as Stroll, who has scored five Euro F3 podium finishes with Prema in recent rounds.

"I think he is," he said, "and he is more experienced than Lance because he did a season in Formula Renault 1.6 [in 2014] - for sure he's ready to go to F3."

AUTOSPORT understands that Stroll will continue in F3 in 2016, with Prema looking to run one more experienced driver and two rookies.

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