Ferrari protege Robert Shwartzman claims Formula 3 title

Ferrari's F3 champion Robert Shwartzman

Ferrari-backed Robert Shwartzman has been crowned as the inaugural FIA Formula 3 champion, following the conclusion of Saturday’s race.

Shwartzman, who finished third in last year’s European Formula 3 standings, had a substantial points advantage ahead of this weekend’s final round on home soil in Russia.

Shwartzman, 20, lost out in a last-lap battle to Prema team-mate Marcus Armstrong but had enough in hand to ensure he clinched the title with one race to spare.

Shwartzman is likely to step up to Formula 2 next season.

“I mean, I still can’t believe we’ve achieved this,” he said.

“At the beginning of the season, I had dreams about it that it was possible to do it, but I wasn’t really sure because it was a new category for me and for my team so I had no idea where we would end up.

“From the first weekend in Barcelona however, I already felt the big power from my team.

“The target was to do a good result and make no mistakes. And yeah, finally we end up here today.

“Here’s a story: before this race today, I had quite a lot of pressure, and the last couple of nights, I only slept like two and half hours. Even though I didn’t want to think too much about the pressure, it was still on my mind.

“Now, I can sort of like relax and it feels great. I want to say thank you to the team, to SMP, to the FDA. They’ve supported me all these years.

“I think everybody in the team has done a huge job. I want to thank them all, my engineers, my mechanics and of course my dad who has been supporting me every step of the way. Without him, it would have been much more difficult for me to deliver a good job.”

The Formula 3 season will conclude on Sunday.