Monza, 21st March 2013

Gelael anticipates his Formula 3 debut at historic Monza

The countdown is nearly over, and Sean Gelael for one is very excited: Friday is the first day of competitive action in the 2013 FIA Formula 3 European Championship at Monza in Italy.

The youngest driver in the field at just 16 years of age, Gelael is also the least experienced in car racing among the 30 young hotshots from all around the globe. After just one year in Formula Pilota China, he has made the big step up to Formula 3, the third rung from the top of the motor racing ladder – behind only Formula 1 and GP2.

For that reason this will be a tough season for Sean, who is commuting from his Indonesian home to races and continuing with his studies at school. He needs as much time as he can get in the car – and that was not helped when one of the two test days at Monza this week was cancelled due to snow. That meant that, instead of getting vital experience of driving his Mercedes-powered Dallara racing car and working with the Double R Racing team, he had to sit out Monday’s intended day of action.

Then, on Tuesday, testing was delayed further by ice. When the test sessions started, drivers were threading their Formula 3 racing cars at speeds of up to 260km/h through a ribbon of asphalt with snow on the grass either side!

At least Gelael got into his rhythm, before the wait for the race weekend. This kicks off on Friday morning with 80 minutes of free practice, followed in the afternoon by 40 minutes of qualifying – vital to set the grid positions for the three races. Race one takes place on Saturday, with races two and three on Sunday.

It is a fitting venue for the start of such a prestigious championship. The famous Autodromo di Monza, not far from Milan, is the fastest track on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship calendar. It opened in 1922 and has hosted the Italian Grand Prix nearly every year since. Set in a royal park, it is surrounded by trees and oozes history, with mementoes of past motorsporting glories commemorated in statues and buildings.

It is the only European track on which Sean has raced – in Formula Abarth last year – but this will count for little when the competitive action starts.

“I know that this is going to be very tough, especially since some of my opposition started racing cars when I was only 10 years old!” said Gelael. “My target is to learn and progress and do the best job I can with the team. If I can avoid all the incidents that always seem to happen at Monza, then maybe I will have a chance of championship points, which would be like a win for someone of my experience. But the most important thing is to improve.”

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