Charouz Racing system have confirmed their driver line-up for the 2020 campaign, naming experienced racer Niko Kari alongside David Schumacher and rookie Igor Fraga.
Kari brings proven pedigree to Charouz, the Finn was a race winner in GP3 and European F3, and took two podiums in FIA F3 last season, with third at Barcelona and Sochi.
The 20-year-old won the SMP F4 Championship in 2015 and was also vice-champion in the 2016 Masters of Formula 3.
“I’m really looking forward to this year,” Kari elated. “It will be a nice challenge to go and fight for podiums and why not for the championship as well? It’s going to be an interesting journey with Charouz and I’m sure we can work well together.
“I want to improve myself as a racing driver and Charouz is a very professional team. I’m hoping this can be the start of a long-term relationship and that we can make a good season out of it.”
Schumacher made his F3 debut back in the season finale in September at Sochi with Campos Racing and finished in 22nd and 20th on his rookie appearance. The German then took part in post-season testing with Charouz, before competing in the FIA F3 World Cup in Macau, where he finished 21st.
The 18-year-old is the son of ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher and has already enjoyed success in his fledging single-seater career. Schumacher was the 2018 UAE F4 vice-champion and also scored three wins in 2019 Formula Regional European Championship.
Schumacher said: “I feel really happy and grateful to make the step up to FIA Formula 3 full-time with Charouz. I drove two events at the end of last year and that was good preparation for the season ahead.
“I got to learn more about the car, and that’s valuable as we don’t have many practice opportunities during race weekends. I think we can make a step forward this season and I will try and finish as high as possible.”
Fraga is poised to make his debut at this level and joins the Czech side on the back of finishing third in the Formula Regional European Championship. The Japanese-born Brazilian racer is the current leader of the Toyota Racing Series, with two wins and seven podiums so far in the category.
The 21-year-old first tasted F3 machinery in post-season testing, enjoying stints with Charouz and Carlin Buzz. Fraga is also well known for his success in eSports. The Brazilian won the inaugural FIA Grand Turismo Nations Cup and McLaren Shadow racing series in 2018, and also competed in the 2017 F1 eSports series.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the Formula 3 field with Charouz,” Fraga stated. “It is a competitive series and a very professional environment - running at the same events as F1 is kind a crazy to think about.
“I just can't wait to start my season. This year is about the process of learning. Of course, the goal is always to win a race, but I am not underestimating the challenge ahead either. I will give my best and push to achieve my goals.”
The Czech outfit will be looking to improve upon a positive first F3 campaign, where they finished in eighth with 15 points.
Charouz team owner Antonin Charouz said: “We’re delighted to announce such an exciting driver line-up for the new season, and we’re thrilled to welcome three fantastic racers to the team.
“Igor and David are newcomers to this championship but showed excellent speed and maturity in a competitive series last year, while Niko is very experienced in Formula 3 and will no doubt be among the front-runners. We’re excited to make a step in F3 after laying some solid foundations last season.”
Team principal Bob Vavrik added: “After our first year competing in Formula 3 we are highly motivated to achieve further success in 2020. We worked with Igor and David during last year’s Valencia test and they were both exceptionally professional, while David showed great promise at Macau.
“We’ve tracked Niko’s progress in Formula 3 and know he is an experienced addition to our family. I look forward to seeing what all three can achieve this season.”