The only rookie in the Van Amersfoort Racing 2024 lineup, Noel León arrives fresh from winning the Euroformula Open Championship last season and hopes to carry that momentum into his maiden Formula 3 campaign.

The Mexican driver has found success in every category he’s raced in so far, with three single seater titles on his impressive resumé. Despite his prior victories and accolades, León knows that the step up to F3 will be tough, but he’s raring to get going in Sakhir next month.

“I’m super happy and super grateful to my team and my sponsors for making this happen. Of course, it’s going to be a big year, some new circuits for me, a different car, and lots of different things. I’m just waiting until we get to go onto the track in Bahrain and we’ll see what we can do.

“Post-season testing we did a really good job, so I think we can do even a little bit better with the team, getting more confident with the car too.

“The expectation this season for me is to fight in the top 10 and be up there every week in the points. I think we can do that and make it happen, but we have to do a little bit of work to make it so.”

Taking part in the three post-season tests in Jerez, Barcelona, and Imola, the trio of events were the first experiences for León in the F3 car.

While he admits that it was a steep learning curve getting used to the new car and acclimatising to it versus what he’d experienced before, the Van Amersfoort driver says they were extremely useful as it helped build up confidence in himself and the team.

León arrives in F3 fresh from winning the Euroformula Open Championship in 2023
León arrives in F3 fresh from winning the Euroformula Open Championship in 2023

“It was amazing. I’m coming from Euroformula Open so it’s a bit of a different car, similar downforce but not the power. The F3 car is amazing. The first test in Jerez was a little bit complicated because I was still getting used to the car and to the team but in Barcelona, we did a really good test there and I was quite happy. I’m looking forward to Bahrain for another chance to test.”

One aspect that León expects to be a big difference maker in the early rounds especially is how drivers are able to take care of the Pirelli tyres.

With Sakhir being one of the most abrasive track surfaces drivers will race on this year, it can often cause even experienced drivers to fall below their expectations in terms of results.

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León says that it has been and will continue to be one of the bigger focuses for Van Amersfoort Racing ahead of the 2024 campaign getting underway.

“Tyre management and race runs will be important. You need to manage them because if you push too hard in the beginning, you don’t have any left in the end. I’m not used to that so I think in the first few rounds, that will be a topic we need to learn more about.

“In the post-season tests, we did it quite well but you’re out there driving by yourself, you’re not under the pressures of a race weekend so let’s see how it goes in Bahrain. It’s a very demanding track in terms of tyre management, so let’s see.

“I think that will make a difference in the beginning. How you approach those first laps will be very critical. In the end, we’ll learn a lot from Bahrain because tyre management is so hard. If we do well in Bahrain, we could do well at other tracks, but in the beginning it’s difficult.”

Van Amersfoort Racing are aiming to continue their streak of winning at least one race a season since joining F3
Van Amersfoort Racing are aiming to continue their streak of winning at least one race a season since joining F3

Looking ahead to the forthcoming season, León says he and the team can achieve regular top 10 finishes if they work hard enough for them.

With so many rookies joining the F3 grid this season, early consistency could be a huge factor in determining who makes a running start and who trips up in the beginning.

He will be with the team this week making final preparations before flying out to Sakhir for pre-season testing and what he hopes will be the starting point of a very successful season.

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“I would be happy with the top 10s in every race. If we can get through the first few rounds with top 10s, I’d be happy. There are a lot of rookies on the grid this year, so I’d be happy with that.

“I think we need to work a lot overall. Euroformula is different in a lot of ways, and I need to adapt to F3 in order to be fast. I think we can do it, but I need to work with the team to see how we can improve a little bit more on the race and qualifying runs.

“I’m in Amsterdam this week to make the new seat for the 2024 season and to spend time with the mechanics and engineers and get to know them all. We need to work on a few areas but with good preparation, testing days, we can have a lot of fun together.”