Midland to run junior team

The Formula 3 Euroseries team owned by new Jordan managing director Colin Kolles will become an official Midland-Jordan Junior squad in 2005

Midland to run junior team

Kolles' F3 outfit, now managed by Alex Zoechling, will be rebranded as a Midland operation before the season, and may use Toyota engines given the team's Formula 1 engine supply deal with the Japanese company.

The ultimate aim is for the Midland F3 team to develop young Russian drivers for F1, but in its first season it will run Argentinian Formula 3000 star Esteban Guerrieri and German Pascal Kochem.

"We are planning to run a Midland F3 team in the Euroseries," Midland owner Alex Shnaider confirmed. "We will take some young Russian drivers and develop them through F3 and then, if they're worthy, take them up to F1."

Although Prema has run Toyota-backed drivers in F3 in recent years and several Euroseries teams have strong Mercedes affiliations, the Midland squad will be the first fully-fledged F1 junior team to compete in F3 since Jaguar closed its British F3 arm at the end of 2001.

Kolles had a difficult season in the F3 Euroseries last year, with drivers Adrian Sutil, Tom Kimber-Smith and Maximilian Gotz only finishing in the points four times between them. The signing of the highly rated Guerrieri is a boost, however. After winning the 2003 Formula Renault Eurocup, the Argentinian stepped straight up to the BCN F3000 team with minimal pre-season testing, yet qualified in the top ten for every race bar one and finished third at Hockenheim. Guerrieri then tested impressively for Kolles over the winter.

"It may look like a step down, but he's still only 19," said Zoechling. "Look at Scott Speed - stepping back from F3 to FRenault didn't do him any harm."

Kolles' satellite TME squad will be merged into the renamed team, which may run a third driver alongside Guerrieri and 18-year-old FRenault graduate Kochem.

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