GP3 points leader Albon to make F3 return in Zandvoort's Masters

GP3 Series leader Alexander Albon is to return to Formula 3 for next month's Masters of F3 at Zandvoort

GP3 points leader Albon to make F3 return in Zandvoort's Masters

The Anglo-Thai, who finished seventh in last season's F3 European Championship, will line up with Hitech Grand Prix for the August 20-21 event.

Albon will partner Nikita Mazepin in Hitech's squad of Dallara-Mercedes machines, but regulars George Russell and Ben Barnicoat will not be contesting the Dutch weekend.

Hitech boss Oliver Oakes told Autosport that Albon is not necessarily in the frame with the team for the Macau Grand Prix - for which he would qualify by competing in the Masters - and that the plan is to take Russell, Barnicoat and Mazepin to the Far East race in November.

He added that Russell and Barnicoat were missing the Masters because they do not want the distraction of racing on the control Kumho tyres before returning to the European championship's Hankooks.

"The Masters was never in our plans as such due to it falling in August, which is our shutdown period for engine rebuilds - plus the boys have been flat-out since January on the F3 programme," said Oakes.

"We wanted to support the event as it's always been a good fixture, so it was logical to send Nikita to do the event for some more race experience.

"It's ended up being a nice fit having Alex join us - he did well in F3 last year, and although it's tough jumping in for a one-off race in different machinery and very different tyres [compared to GP3] I'm sure he will be fine."

Of the other teams in F3, only Prema Powerteam - which has not contested the Masters since 2013 - is skipping the event.

Van Amersfoort Racing will take Callum Ilott, Anthoine Hubert and Pedro Piquet, and is hoping to give an F3 debut to a Formula Renault 2.0 racer in place of Harrison Newey, who will not be at Zandvoort.

Motopark stated that Joel Eriksson, Red Bull junior Niko Kari and Ferrari protege Guan Yu Zhou will all compete, and is hoping to get a commitment from its other Red Bull-backed driver, Sergio Sette Camara.

Carlin is almost certain to take Alessio Lorandi and Ryan Tveter, and is planning an entry of at least three cars.

Mucke Motorsport is entering David Beckmann, but lack of budget could sideline Mikkel Jensen, so the team is seeking a Masters replacement.

T-Sport, Fortec Motorsport and Double R Racing are all hoping to send cars to the race but have yet to name any drivers.

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