Musical chairs on the F3 driver market

A spate of musical chairs has struck the British Formula 3 Championship. Driver changes have taken place at three of the top teams, despite only five rounds remaining until the end of the season

Musical chairs on the F3 driver market

While Manor Motorsport's Antonio Pizzonia is dominating the Championship with a seemingly unassailable 45-point lead, others lower down the order are struggling to make an impression. Pizzonia's Manor team mate Juan Manuel Lopez is the latest casualty to pull out of the series mid-season after a string of disappointing results.

After winning races in Italy last year, the Colombian has languished in the midfield in Britain and now, according to Manor team boss John Booth, Lopez's sponsors have decided enough is enough and are pulling out. This leaves a vacant berth at the Sheffield based team. Cue Wesley Barber...

Wesley Barber's relationship with the Alan Docking Racing team broke down three weeks ago for financial and performance reasons and he is now looking to Manor Motorsport to move up the grid. Barber tested for Booth's team last week at Snetterton, ostensibly to bed in brakes for the team.

The split between the promising 18-year-old and ADR was said to be amicable, but ADR now require a team mate for Thailand's Tor Sriachavanon. Cue Marcos Ambrose...

Australian Marcos Ambrose was touted as a possible replacement for Barber when the split with ADR was announced. Following tests at Pembrey and Snetterton during the last two weeks, the reigning Formula Ford Eurocup Champion will make his F3 debut at Croft this weekend and will complete the season with the Silverstone-based team.

While other teams are struggling to fill their berths, it would seem front-runners Carlin Motorsport have the opposite problem in too many drivers. Rumours that the Hampshire team are to run a third car for 1999 Formula Renault runner-up Rob Austin would appear to be wide of the mark.

"I only want two cars in Britain," joked team boss Trevor Carlin. "I'm always at the clerk of the course's office with Takuma (Sato) and Ben (Collins) as it is!"

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