Callum Ilott switches to Prema for 2017 European F3 season

British Formula 3 star Callum Ilott has switched to category dominator Prema Powerteam for his third season in the F3 European Championship

Callum Ilott switches to Prema for 2017 European F3 season

The 18-year-old took two race wins on his way to sixth in this year's rankings with Van Amersfoort Racing, and last weekend finished fifth in the Macau Grand Prix with the Dutch team after qualifying on the front row.

His maiden season of car racing came in European F3 in 2015 with Carlin as a Red Bull Junior, although he was dropped from the scheme at the end of the year.

"We looked at all the possibilities for 2017: GP3, Indy Lights as well as GP2, but in the end, with only two years of car racing experience, another year in F3 made the most sense," said Ilott.

"Prema's record is impeccable, and having decided to return to F3 it was the team I focused on joining.

"Just walking around the Prema factory, the family feeling you get with the Italian teams from my karting days came flooding back, and with its successful GP2 squad, it's also a team that offers the chance to climb the ladder to F1.

"I'd like to thank VAR for everything they did for me in 2016. They enabled me to get my first wins in cars, something I'll never forget.

"Now it's time to take that knowledge and aim for the championship in 2017 and to start the test programme as soon as possible."

Prema boss Rene Rosin added: "I am thrilled to be able to collaborate with Callum for the next European Formula 3 season.

"As he was one of our main competitors in the last couple of years, we got to know him well, and his progress as he became one of the benchmark drivers in the championship.

"More than once, he showed outstanding natural car-control skills that helped him excel, especially in challenging conditions such as we saw in Macau last weekend."

Ilott is expected to be joined in the Prema F3 line-up by Mick Schumacher, who was runner-up in the German and Italian Formula 4 championships with the squad this year, and Ferrari Driver Academy prospect Guan Yu Zhou, who raced in F3 with Motopark this season.

Other contenders include 2016 Euro F3 runner-up Maximilian Gunther and Honda-backed Japanese F3 ace Tadasuke Makino, although Ralf Aron is tipped to be on the move to another F3 team after his rookie season with Prema.

Ilott is expected to take part in next week's GP2 post-season Abu Dhabi test with ART Grand Prix, although the French team is expected to continue next year with Honda protege Nobuharu Matsushita and promote Alexander Albon, one of its two GP3 title contenders.

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