Colapinto becomes the latest addition to the legendary team’s Driver Academy. The outfit is the second most successful team in Formula 1 history, amassing nine constructors’ and seven driver titles from talents including Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.
As part of the Williams Racing Driver Academy Colapinto will be immersed with the team both trackside and at the factory in Grove. He’ll work closely with various departments across Williams to hone his skills both on and off the track while conducting simulator work to provide the useful feedback for car development.
The 19-year-old from Buenos Aires competed in his rookie F3 season in 2022 and surpassed all expectations by claiming pole position in his first qualifying session in the championship in Bahrain. He then went on to score a spectacular victory at Imola, three podium finishes at the Red Bull Ring, Budapest, and Zandvoort, rounding off the season with a win at Monza. He finished P9 in the overall standings, scoring 83.5% of FIA F3 newcomer Van Amersfoort Racing total points.
In the 2023 season, the Visit Argentina-supported driver is aiming for even more. Franco has set his sights on the title on his return to MP Motorsport, the team he raced with in 2020 in the Formula Renault Eurocup and in 2021 in FRECA. The Dutch outfit has been on the FIA F3 grid since the series’ inaugural season in 2019 and won the Formula 2 Championship last year. The 19-year-old ROFGO Junior has already put the MP Motorsport Dallara at the top of the timing sheets in the post-season test in Jerez, laying the groundwork for a strong season ahead.
The 2023 FIA Formula 3 calendar will comprise a total of ten rounds, including supporting the iconic Monaco Grand Prix, Williams’ home race at Silverstone and the series’ first visit to Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. The season will commence on March 3-4 in Bahrain.
“It’s a real honour to join Williams Racing Team as an Academy Driver. They are one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history, and I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of the great Carlos Reutemann. It’s an incredible opportunity for which I am forever grateful. Thanks to everyone at Williams for putting their trust in me.
I am also excited that I will be back with MP Motorsport for the 2023 FIA F3 season. I really enjoyed my time with the team in Formula Renault Eurocup and FRECA and we achieved some great results together. The goal is to reach even higher this time. My first year in FIA F3 was all about learning and I will use all the knowledge I’ve gathered to aim for the title next year. I am grateful to everyone who made this possible. Bullet Sports Management, ROFGO Racing, YPF and of course, my beloved country Argentina. Thank you for all the support. I can’t wait to get the season started!“
Sven Smeets, Sporting Director, Williams Racing:
“We’re delighted to welcome Franco to the Williams Racing Driver Academy. His career achievements since starting karting highlight Franco’s natural ability behind the wheel and what he’s capable of in the years to come. He had a standout rookie season in Formula 3 with several strong performances that led to podiums and wins. We look forward to working closely with Franco to support and nurture his development as a driver.”
Maria Catarineu, Commercial Director, Bullet Sports Management:
“It’s a significant milestone we’ve been working towards since the day Franco joined Bullet. We are delighted to be able to secure these opportunities for him. To be supported by such an iconic F1 team while racing with a competitive outfit like MP Motorsport, Franco will have the perfect package to be a serious contender for the FIA F3 title. He’s already proved what he’s capable of in his rookie year in F3, and he is ready to take the next step. MP Motorsport is a highly successful team, and we believe they can provide Franco with the package he needs to fight for the title. We are grateful to Williams Racing for putting its trust in Franco, to Sander(Dorsman) for the opportunity and to our partners for their continuous support. This is going to be an exciting season, and I know Franco will rise to the challenge.”
Sander Dorsman, Team Principal, MP Motorsport:
“It’s so good to be able to welcome Franco back into the MP fold. He’s been outstanding in his two years with us and, in his other two seasons since his promotion from karts, Franco was always among our most daunting rivals! With a first season of FIA F3 under his belt, he now carries the weight needed for a consistently frontrunning campaign – and we’re here to help him achieve that.”
FIA Formula 3, 2023
1. 03-05 March – Sakhir, Bahrain
2. 31 March – 02 April – Melbourne, Australia
3. 19-21 May – Imola, Italy
4. 25-28 May – Monte Carlo, Monaco
5. 02-04 June – Barcelona, Spain
6. 30 June-2 July – Spielberg, Austria
7. 07-09 July – Silverstone, Great Britain
8. 21-23 July – Budapest, Hungary
9. 28-30 July – Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
10. 01-03 September – Monza, Italy