2007 British F3 Champion Signs for BMW Sauber F1 Team
Reigning British F3 International Series Champion, Marko Asmer, has become the latest British F3 graduate to step up to the top level of Motorsport after being named as a one of two test drivers for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Former F1 driver Christian Klien has been signed up as a test and reserve driver, while Asmer will take the role of the team’s junior test driver.
"We wanted a third driver with Formula One racing experience," explains BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, "as well as an up-and-coming young driver for us to train up to Formula One level. With Christian we have signed on a driver who is familiar with the format of a grand prix weekend and can step into the breach right away should one of our team drivers have to back out. Marko has driven our car four times since 4th December and has made steady progress. He has worked in a concentrated, focused and calm fashion. The feedback from the engineers bears positive testimony to him, and the chemistry between him and the team is right as well."
Marko Asmer (born 30th July 1984 in Tallinn, Estonia) says: "I always hoped for an opportunity to get into Formula One. Naturally I did everything I could to avoid any mistakes and to do a good job. I learnt a lot while driving in the tests at Jerez and Valencia, but also as a spectator and observer. I was given a very friendly welcome and got on just fine. I feel good in the BMW Sauber F1 Team and I'm very grateful to be a part of it now."
Asmer was Estonian, Baltic, Finnish and Scandinavian kart champion, dominated the World Kart Championship, and was honoured in 2001 as the world's most talented kart driver. Formula Ford proved to be the most affordable way of gaining entry into single-seater racing. In 2003, Asmer came runner-up in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. In the same year he was invited to get behind the wheel of a Formula One racer for the first time to take a test for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. From 2004 on he competed in Formula 3. 2007 saw him dominate the British F3 International Series with Hitech Racing, which he won with a commanding 11 wins and two further podium places, joining an impressive roll of honour which includes Ayrton Senna, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet (both Sr and Jr), Emerson Fittipaldi and Mika Hakkinen.
2004 British F3 Champion Nelson Piquet Jnr will race this season for the ING Renault F1 team alongside double world champion Fernando Alonso, while 2006 British F3 Champion Mike Conway is a test driver for Honda Racing F1. 2005 Champion Alvaro Parente took the World Series by Renault title in 2007 and tested for Renault F1 as part of his prize. Former BF3 champions Rubens Barrichello (1991) and Takumo Sato (2001) are also due to line up on the F1 grid in Australia on 16 March, along with other BF3 graduates Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren), Mark Webber and David Coulthard (both Red Bull Racing), Jenson Button (Honda) and Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri, subject to confirmation).