Van Amersfoort switches from VW to Mercedes in Formula 3

Leading Formula 3 European Championship team Van Amersfoort Racing has switched from Volkswagen engines to Mercedes with immediate effect

Van Amersfoort switches from VW to Mercedes in Formula 3

The team, which ran Max Verstappen to third in the 2014 standings and Charles Leclerc to fourth place this year, is making an overnight switch during the week-long test at Valencia, where it is running Mercedes power for the first time on Wednesday.

It is understood that this ties in with the expiry of VAR's VW contract.

The move brings an end to the Dutch squad's long relationship with VW tuner Spiess, which started with Opel power when VAR moved into the German F3 Championship in 1997, then continued with VW from 2008, initially in the German series and then the European.

In the past eight years, VAR has won 57 races with VW power.

Team boss Frits van Amersfoort said: "We can look back on a successful era in the history of our team together with Volkswagen.

"When it comes to Spiess, our ties go back even further, to our very first year of German F3 in 1997, including our title-winning campaign with Bas Leinders the following season. These will always remain happy memories."

VAR begins its programme with Mercedes by testing Pedro Piquet, the two-time Brazilian F3 champion who is already confirmed with the team for 2016, and Briton Callum Ilott for the remainder of the week at Valencia.

The move leaves VW with just three teams in F3 - Carlin, Motopark and Signature - as Mercedes continues to be the more proactive in supporting drivers in the category and beyond.

"When you look at what Mercedes-Benz has achieved in F3, and the continued involvement they have at all levels of the sport, one can only be impressed," said van Amersfoort.

"We are delighted with the opportunities Mercedes-Benz are offering us, and we are keen to start working together in preparation for the 2016 season."

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