Ferrari protege Arthur Leclerc and Red Bull Junior Dennis Hauger appear to be homing in on seats with double FIA Formula 3 championship-winning team Prema Racing for 2021.
Leclerc, the younger brother of Ferrari Formula 1 star Charles, and Hauger have completed all four days of post-season F3 testing with Prema over the past few weeks, and team boss Rene Rosin has told Autosport that both are on his shortlist.
Leclerc is currently embroiled in a fight with his Prema team-mates Gianluca Petecof and Oliver Rasmussen for the Formula Regional European Championship, while Hauger had a tough rookie F3 season with Hitech Grand Prix as the reigning Italian Formula 4 champion.
Norwegian Hauger was the quickest Prema driver in both tests, at Barcelona and Jerez, and went sixth fastest overall at the Andalusian circuit last week.
“Dennis did a good job and immediately we got a great feeling together,” Rosin said. “After a very disappointing season, I expected much more from him, and he showed us his real potential.”
If Hauger does drive for Prema in 2021, he would be the first Red Bull Junior at the team since Pierre Gasly won the Formula 2 title in 2016.
Of Leclerc, Rosin added: “Our idea has always been to promote one driver from our Formula Regional team – we think it’s the right business model for our package.
“He’s a Ferrari junior, and we’ve been working with Ferrari since 2011.”
Prema also ran current Formula Renault Eurocup runner-up Caio Collet on the first day of the Jerez test, before the Brazilian switched to ART Grand Prix for day two.
Autosport understands that Renault F1 Junior Collet, who is managed by Nicolas Todt, will go to either one of these teams for an F3 graduation in 2021.
If Collet lands an ART drive, that would almost certainly line him up alongside current rival Victor Martins – the Renault Eurocup points leader is managed by ART team principal Sebastien Philippe, and completed both days with the team at Barcelona.
Oliver Rasmussen, currently third in the FRegional standings with Prema, took over at the Italian team from Collet for the second day of the Jerez test.
Rosin confirmed that he thinks the team will make a decision by the end of this week.
The Jerez test was topped by Jack Doohan, who raced for HWA Racelab in F3 this season but has been rapid in running with Trident.
Clement Novalak, who raced with Carlin in F3 this year, completed a Trident 1-2, and Doohan at least looks extremely likely to join the team for 2021.