Arthur Leclerc heads to Formula 3 with Prema in 2021

Arthur Leclerc (Prema) celebrates in parc ferme at Mugello.
© FIA Formula 3

Formula 3 reigning team champions Prema Racing have announced that Arthur Leclerc will be one of their drivers for the 2021 season.

The 20-year-old Monegasque driver is the younger brother of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

He is himself a member of the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy that has also included Callum Ilott, Robert Shwartzman and Mick Schumacher.

Leclerc started his single-seater racing career in 2018 in the French Formula 4 Championship and was third in the German Series the following year.

Most recently he picked up six wins and eight pole positions and was runner-up in the Regional Series, setting himself up for a promotion to F3 next year.

He's already worked with the team in two F3 postseason test sessions at Barcelona and Jerez last October.

"I am delighted to welcome Arthur to our FIA Formula 3 operation," said Prema team principal René Rosin on Tuesday.

"He experienced a high-quality season in 2020, ending up with more wins than anybody else in the Regional championship.

"His skills come with a dedicated approach to the hard work behind the scenes, which is clearly what we are looking for at this level. We can’t wait to start preparing for the season ahead!”

Leclerc spoke of the 'special relationship' that he's already developed with the Prema team that he felt would set him up well for next season's endeavours.

Race winner Arthur Leclerc (MON) Alfa Romeo Junior Team Formula 4 Driver, celebrates in parc ferme with brother Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari.

“I am really happy to announce that I will step up to FIA F3 with Prema Racing next year," he said. "It will be a completely new challenge for me.

"[There will be] a lot more drivers on the grid and a weekend format that looks really exciting! I can’t wait to start the season.”

"I have quite a bit of experience with the team," he added. "It will be my second year with them and we established a special relationship."

Prema have been the top team in F3 since the championship began in 2019, when it replaced the former GP3 Series.

Their drivers Robert Shwartzman, Marcus Armstrong and Jehan Daruvala topped the driver standings in the first year, and Oscar Piastri was champion in 2020 with Logan Sargeant and Frederik Vesti also finishing in the top four.

Charles Leclerc also competed for Prema's Formula 2 operation in 2017 and won the inaugural championship before getting taped to join Alfa Romeo in F1, a year before he made the move to Maranello.

The brothers competed against each other in the F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix series that took place while worldwide motorsport was suspended as a result of the global lockdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

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