SMP F4 champion Niko Kari nearing European F3 graduation for 2016

Finnish single-seater powerhouse Koiranen GP is confident that its new SMP Formula 4 champion Niko Kari will step up to the Formula 3 European Championship in 2016

SMP F4 champion Niko Kari nearing European F3 graduation for 2016

Kari, who turns 16 next month, clinched the title in the inaugural SMP F4 series recently with one round to spare, the Finn landing the €350,000 prize to graduate to Euro F3.

Koiranen boss Afa Heikkinen, whose organisation centrally runs the SMP F4 series (which has races in Finland, Russia and Estonia), told AUTOSPORT: "Niko has some sponsors, so I am pretty sure he will be able to make up the difference in budget.

"We have some links to some teams - I will recommend a few that he will probably test with, but the decision will be his.

"I think he will probably test for three or four teams, then make his mind up, but it's his call."

British teams T-Sport and Double R Racing, both of which have historically strong links to Finnish motorsport, are both keen to at least test Kari.

T-Sport technical director Alan 'Skelly' Woodhead, who worked with SMP F4 driver mentor Mika Salo in his British F3 days, said: "Afa's a mate and there's quite a bit of dialogue going on [about Kari] at the moment.

"He's only got good things to say about him - he reckons he's the real deal, so we'd love to give him a run after the Macau Grand Prix and see where he's at in an F3 car."

Double R chief Anthony 'Boyo' Hieatt, whose team was co-founded by Kimi Raikkonen, said: "I've just got off the phone to Afa!

"We still have strong links with Finland and we would love to give him [Kari] a test and see how he goes.

"It will be interesting to see what the level is in that F4 championship, which is another reason why we'd be keen to give him a run."

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