Carlin announces Honda protege as first driver for FIA F3 season

Rachit Thukral
Carlin announces first 2019 FIA F3 driver

Carlin has announced Honda protege Teppei Natori as its first driver signing for the 2019 FIA Formula 3 season.

Natori finished second in last year's Japanese F4 championship, driving for Honda Formula Dream Project, and will make his European racing debut with Carlin at the new-look third-tier series' Barcelona season-opener in May.

He becomes the second Honda-affiliated driver to join the F3 grid after Jenzer signed Yuki Tsunoda, who beat Natori to the Japanese F4 title last year.

While Tsunoda has been given the designation of a Red Bull junior as part of the energy drink brand's tie-up with Honda, Natori's affiliation is limited to Honda.

"I am very excited to be the part of Carlin Buzz Racing in the FIA Formula 3 Championship," said Natori.

"There will be a lot to learn this season, but we will fight hard together for the championship with the aim of becoming an F1 driver in the future."

Natori's deal coincides with Carlin announcing Japanese investment firm Buzz as its title sponsor.

As part of the deal, Carlin will ditch its familiar blue livery and adopt Buzz's black and neon yellow colours.

"We're extremely proud to be carrying the Buzz name and colours on our FIA F3 race cars for the 2019 season," team boss Trevor Carlin said.

"We also welcome Teppei to the team for the upcoming season following what has been a strong year racing in the Japanese Formula 4 Championship.

"Teppei already knows how to fight for wins and podiums so we look forward to working together and hitting the ground running during testing ahead of the first race in May."

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