Monza F3: The fight is on for the title of ‘Best Rookie’

The long 2011 race season for Raffaele Marciello and Brandon Maisano is approaching its finale. Next weekend the two competitors from the Ferrari Driver Academy programme will take to the track at Monza for the final race of the Italian Formula 3 Championship.

The unfortunate last race, which took place at the circuit of Mugello, all but eliminated any chance for Marciello and Maisano to win the overall title. There remains a slim hope of taking the 2011 championship but realistically it is only a mathematical possibility. But the situation is very different in the title race reserved for rookies, in which both Marciello and Maisano have a strong chance of success.

At Mugello we didn’t manage to achieve as much as we’d hoped heading into the weekend,” said the head of the FDA Luca Baldisserri. “As a result we lost precious points in comparison with all our direct opponents. Heading to Tuscany we were still in the hunt with both Brandon and Raffaele in both title races – including the overall championship – but now our chances are limited to the rookie competition. There is still a chance to try for the prize reserved for the best rookie, which is a test with the Ferrari F60 Formula 1 car. That opportunity doesn’t come along every day and it makes our response this weekend in Monza even more important.

Heading into the weekend at the famous circuit near Milan, the rookie title race has the American driver Michael Lewis in front with 142 points, followed by Marciello and Maisano who are tied on 135. The final classification will be based on the 14 best points-scoring finishes out of a total of 16 races. As Lewis and Marciello have so far failed to score only once this season, if they take a strong haul of points this weekend, both will have to eliminate their lowest personal scores – respectively 4 and 3 points. Maisano, who has finished in the points in all the races so far, will instead have to ditch a total of eight points.

The programme for the weekend in Monza sees the drivers take to the track on Saturday for the qualifying session – which takes place at 0940 – followed by the first race which will get under way at 1335. The weekend will finish with Sunday’s Race 2, which is scheduled to start at 10:00.

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