#33 Dan Ticktum (GBR – Arden Renault)
#31 Neil Verhagen (USA – MP Motorsport Renault)
#29 Richard Verschoor (NED – MP Motorsport Renault)
The incredible Formula Renault Eurocup season starts this weekend at Monza with three Red Bull Junior Team drivers sure to be in the heart of the action. Richard Verschoor and Neil Verhagen are part of the MP Motorsport campaign while Dan Ticktum lines up for Arden.
Preseason testing showed that it should be an intensely competitive year.
Running up front
Heading three of the test time sheets preseason was 17-year-old Briton Dan Ticktum and that left him feeling buoyant about things as he travelled to Italy. "It was a great start to the year, I was pretty much always in top five, I would say I was consistently highest out of the good drivers and it was all very positive. I don't want to make too much of that and I am going to stay open minded, not build up the expectations too much for this weekend but it should be good."
"We are running at great tracks this year, just about all of them and Monza is a fantastic place to start. I don't have any concerns going into practice, I've got a great team around me, quickly had a very good rapport with my engineer so I think we can sort through anything we need to."
Ending 2016 as both NEZ and Spanish F4 Champion has not left 16-year-old Dutchman Richard Verschoor with any fanciful ideas about his debut season in the 2 litre Renault. "I know it's going to be tougher, way way tougher. That's how it is and we've got to manage it," he added in his usual determined fashion.
"Testing started well but I can't be happy with the last test at the Nurburgring, I was one second off and that's not good. I am not sure if it was all me, my lack of experience or also the car. I'm not sure where we stand coming into Monza but I do l know I like the track, I have tested here before, really enjoyed it and the sim test we did in preparation for this weekend went very well. It should be good for me."
Youth and enthusiasm
A cool head with intense commitment sits on the shoulders of 16-year-old American Neil Verhagen and he feels very well prepared after testing. "We learned quite a bit. We were focussed on our own programme and quite happy with the way that went. I don't think we showed 100% what we could do because of a few things, some red flags and the way some people were using tyres but we were pleased."
"I grew up watching Schumacher and Vettel win at Monza on TV so it's great now to be racing here. I'm very excited to see how it goes, no one knows quite were they are. We'll learn more after qualifying but I want to be running up front, learn as much as possible and carry that forward to Silverstone. We are racing at so many great circuits this year, it is very cool."
Monza weekend schedule – all times CEST
Thursday April 20th
13:30 – 17:30 Testing
Friday April 21st
10:00 – 10:50 Collective test 1
14:05 – 14:55 Collective test 2
Saturday April 22nd
9:00 – 9:15 Qualifying 1 (Group A)
9:20 – 9:35 Qualifying 1 (Group B)
14:00 – 14:27 Race 1
Sunday April 23rd
9:00 – 9:15 Qualifying 2 (Group B)
9:20 – 9:35 Qualifying 2 (Group A)
12:40 – 13:07 Race 2