German Formula 3 celebrates a 70th birthday

18. March 2016

Bertram Schäfer is a legend of German Formula 3 sports. In 1976 and 1978 he won the German Formula 3 Championship as a driver. Later on, he managed the most successful racing team of the German Formula 3 history to date for several years. Seven championship victories, countless runner-up titles and about 80 individual wins by drivers from Schäfer’s team, including Stefan Bellof, Tom Kristensen or Nick Heidfeld. Bertram Schäfer was in charge of the founding of the Formula 3 Association in 1975 and has been active in the Board ever since. Today the “German Formula 3” celebrates his 70th birthday. A look back with Nick Heidfeld and Tom Kristensen at a very successful professional life.

Bertram Schäfer lives for the German Formula 3 like no other. Back...


Lotus team to compete in the 2014 ATS Formula 3 Cup

In each of the first and third races of the weekends one of the Lotus drivers scored full points. And in each of the reversed-grid races the drivers contesting for the team from Oschersleben secured one of the top 3 places. Twelve times the entire podium showed the black-and-gold livery. The Lotus team won the newly established team ranking in the 2013 ATS Formula 3 Cup at the fourth-to-last racing weekend, with a 177-point lead over the competition. A fantastic season 2013. With the exceptionally talented Marvin Kirchhöfer it often looked like a breeze. Nevertheless, the remarkable results are based on hard work. Team Principal Timo Rumpfkeil gives us a glance behind the scenes of the Lotus team.

How do you feel a few weeks after winning the team ranking?
“Good. However, the racing season is still in full gear for us and we did not really have time to reflect upon the season, but we can surely be pleased about the results.”

Somehow it seemed to be a clear-cut case in the ATS Formula 3 Cup, did it not?
“Ultimately, yes. It became obvious pretty early on in the season.”

What was the decisive factor for your success?
“I guess an analytical and pedantic preparation for the season and the individual events. An efficient training for the drivers and individual support. And, in addition, reliable and well-tuned cars.”

Not every competitor shares this view. What do you say about “Envy must be earned”?
“Envy is the most honest form of approval. The results are based on many hours of hard work and a full personal commitment of each and every member of the team, probably more so than in other teams, and that probably makes a big difference.”

Marvin Kirchhöfer was exceptional. Do you share that opinion?
“There is nothing I could add.”

Artem Markelov and Emil Bernstorff are great drivers. Did they lose out on getting their achievements noticed?”
“A little, I guess. Both drove on the same level as Marvin but Marvin was more consistent. Marvin's season was probably not as superior as it looks from the outside. Both, Artem and Emil, put him under quite a lot of pressure. In the end, Marvin succeeded in delivering more consistent results.”

Will Lotus be back to contest the 2014 ATS Formula 3 Cup?
"We will be back to contest the ATS Formula 3 Cup again. We plan to enter two cars. Kirchhöfer, Markelov and Bernstorff will make the next step and switch to higher racing series. A decision has yet to be made on whether Sheban Siddiqi will contest the ATS Formula 3 Cup again.”

What other racing series are you planning on contesting?
“We will contest the ADAC Formula Masters, the GP3 and GP2 in 2014. Therefore we can pave the way for young talents to smoothly advance from karting towards Formula 1. We will announce the drivers shortly before the end of the year.”

Are all eyes on Marvin Kirchhöfer?
“Marvin is definitely a favourite for our GP3 team. We are working hard at the moment to make this happen.”

Will the other drivers continue to contest for you as the team principal?
“We hope to be able to keep a few of our current drivers. Our talks have been quite promising.”

You surely seem to have a lot of plans. How do you manage that?
“It works if you have good people around you. Everything is based on my team. You simply cannot do it by yourself.”

What are the requirements to be able to work in your team?
“As a mechanic you should be committed, dedicated and reliable. As an engineer you should have a good degree. In general, we try to promote young people and offer them a long-term perspective.”

What is your personal goal for 2014?
“More time for my family, although that does not look likely considering our current plans.”

Thank you for talking with us, Timo! We are looking forward to welcoming you back in the ATS Formula 3 Cup in 2014. And good luck for the finish of the 2013 season!