Nürburgring, Germany 

It was a tough weekend for the FIA Formula 3 European Prema Theodore drivers, with weather conditions fluctuating between every session. After the dry free practice on Friday morning, the qualifying session was very different with slim visibility, making it difficult to get any flying laps in place. However Callum Ilott managed to secure a third place ahead of race 1 with his teammate Maximilian Gunther close behind in fifth. Ferrari Academy Driver Guanyu Zhou improved through the session but was unable to secure a better position than P14, Mick Schumacher managed P16 in the hard conditions. 

Ahead of the second day at the Nürburgring was another wet and gloomy morning. As the lights went out for the first race of the weekend Callum Ilott had a flying start battling for P1 with Lando Norris. Visibility at it’s least forced many drivers to spin including Ralf Aron, who in turn made contact with Günther on the opening lap, which forced the German to pit for a new front wing. Schumacher had one of his most positive races starting from P16, by managing to climb the field scoring valuable points as he crossed the line 8th. For Guanyu Zhou it was a controlled race holding onto his sliding car due to the extreme weather conditions also scoring points in P9. To end the race on a high Günther flew past Marino Sato before taking the chequered flag in P13. After two full course yellow situations and a strong battle with Joey Mawson Ilott finished P5. 

# 3 – Maximilian Günther
“The start of race 1 was really good and I went up to P3, but from there on I felt no grip or confidence.  In the first half of the race my tires did not work as expected, maybe this is an explanation, and I lost the positions I gained. Then a car in front spun and broke my front wing. My race was basically over, then it was just testing. The positive thing is that in my final lap I posted purple sectors and I was pretty much the quickest guy in the field. In qualifying we changed some small things to go in the opposite direction. To be honest I’m completely speechless because from the point when I went out until I came back I felt I had no grip at all. For sure there is something wrong, maybe the tires, but I cannot change the situation which is very bad. We have to take this and then do everything we can for tomorrow.” 

# 8 – Guanyu Zhou
“Today’s race featured quite tricky conditions and I couldn’t see anything at the start. I tried to manage to stay on track and learn a bit more about driving on the wet at the Nürburgring. In the end it worked quite well, I got P9 even though I felt some lack of grip with new tires, a really strange feeling not having grip at the beginning and then ending much better. A points score is ok. Then in qualifying I felt much more grip, even if the conditions were probably worse. I’m pretty happy about the car balance. I did my job too with a good improvement in terms of driving. In my second fastest lap I locked up the rear in the chicane and lost about four tenths. P7 is good for the wet conditions and P5  is even better for race 3.”

# 25 – Mick Schumacher
“Definitely a challenging day with conditions changing really fast. It was positive to finish the first race in the points and to recover well while in the second qualifying session something with the car was jus not working like it used to and I felt that the grip was lacking. We have to check the data to analyze the situation and be ready for tomorrow.”

# 53 – Callum Ilott
At the beginning of race 1 we messed up a bit with the set-up but then in the closing stages we were really quick relative to the people I was fighting with. Overall the top speed wasn’t as good as it could have been and I had to fight quite hard with Joey to try to pass him, but I ended up P5 on-track and P4 afterwards so not too bad. Then at the beginning of qualifying I couldn’t get it to work, a similar feeling to my team-mates. Then in the last couple of laps it just clicked. I don’t know why, I don’t feel that the last two laps were special. Up until that point I wasn’t even below 1 minute 40. I was worried it wasn’t going to happen but in the end it did so I’m pretty pleased with the results.”

Race 2 had Ilott setting off in P2 after a positive second qualifying. The Brit held onto the position in the early stages of the race before having a wheel to wheel fight with Norris, which unfortunately he lost. From then on Ilott held the last spot on the podium after creating a 10.9 second gap to P4. After having an initial good start gaining two places to P5, Zhou spun which then left him falling down the grid to P11. It was an unlucky race for the Chinese driver as he crossed the line in P14. Schumacher on the other hand who started in P20 had a brilliant start, slotting himself into P15 where he remained for the rest of the race unable to catch the cars in front. Championship title contender Maximilian Günther took three positions from his rivals after starting from P15 and finished P11 overall. 

For the final race of the weekend Callum Ilott was sat on pole and had a good pull away from the field but a safety car was called out instantly due to his teammate Zhou and Ferdinand Habsburg colliding, ending both their races.  Günther flew to P8  after a sensational start from P14 as did Schumacher jumping straight to P13. Once a restart took place Ilott lost the lead to Norris and sadly fell to P4 where he maintained his position till the end of the race. Günther made a clean pass on Joel Eriksson for P7 and Mick Schumacher put himself into the last points position but lost two places in the closing stages of the race finishing P11 in the last race of the weekend. 

Although not the most positive weekend for the team, a podium was scored and the Championship is still firmly in the hands of Prema Theodore as the next event looms at the Red Bull Ring 23-24th September.

# 3 – Maximilian Günther
“It was a tough weekend, we still don’t know the reasons for it, especially for qualy 2 we don’t know what happened. After a very tough race 2 again with lack of grip, the car was slightly better in race 3 and to be honest I quite enjoyed it. Obviously speaking of a best finish in seventh place is not what you want to do at the end of a weekend but from fourteenth to seventh was the maximum. That’s racing, sometimes stuff like this happens. We just have to concentrate on improving ourselves to come back stronger at Red Bull Ring.”

# 8 – Guanyu Zhou
“In race 2 I did a great start but unfortunately I got a huge snap off turn two which forced me to the outside kerb. Then the kerb put me on the wet astroturf and that made me spin. It’s a shame because after that, a promising race was pretty much over. In race 3 made a mega start again, I was in P4 attacking for P3 but I got a big hit from behind and ended up spinning in the gravel.”

# 25 – Mick Schumacher
“After yesterday’s troubled qualifying 2 session, we were still lacking some grip today and it was all about maximizing what we had. In the end I think that’s what happened, on-track we recovered as much as we could. Now we have to focus on the next round at Red Bull Ring to come back to our best form.”

# 53 – Callum Ilott
“We changed a lot for race 2 after the troubles in practice with the dry but it felt the same, I don’t know what’s happening, possibly tires, mine fell off after a couple of laps. I tried to hang on, Lando got by me early as I made a mistake but probably he would have got me anyway with his pace. In race 3 I started well and there was a slight improvement with the car. Eventually ended up in fourth place. All in all I’m happy with the points, Joel didn’t score a lot of them so I’m catching up a little bit.”

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