Maximilian Günther: Assault on 2017 FIA Formula 3 European championship

Maximilian Günther will contest the FIA Formula 3 European championship once again in 2017. He will be turning out to start his second season as reigning European championship runner-up with Italian racing outfit, Prema. After achieving his big success last year, Günther has set himself a clear goal, to win the championship in the world’s strongest formula racing series for juniors.

Another task awaits Günther this season apart from his ‘assault’ on the Formula 3 title. He was recently invited to join the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team as official test and reserve driver after a successful DTM test in early December which came about as a reward for his strong performance in the FIA Formula 3 European championship. Günther will act as the seventh driver for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team on race weekends of the touring car series which is internationally popular and will also take out the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM race taxi.

Günther attracted attention internationally during the 2016 season. The 19-year-old was a contender to win the FIA Formula 3 European championship title and was the first German driver since Nico Hülkenberg in 2008 to lead the overall standings in European Formula 3. Günther’s record last year – four wins, seven pole positions and 13 podiums.

He also had the most successful year of his career to date away from his single-seater racing car in 2016. He was voted ADAC Junior Motor Sports Person of the Year and was awarded the accolade of ‘Germany’s Motorsport Talent of the Year’ for the second time by the Deutsche Post Speed Academy.

Günther will have a German team-mate at Prema this year in the shape of Mick Schumacher, the son of record Formula 1 championship winner, Michael Schumacher. Ferrari junior Guan Yu Zhou from China and British driver Callum Ilott complete the squad which has won the European Formula 3 driver’s championships six times in a row.
Four questions for Maximilian Günther

Max, what led to your decision to line up again in the FIA Formula 3 championship in 2017?
The series is considered to be the world’s strongest formula racing series for juniors. There were alternatives, but as far as I’m concerned, this was the overall package that suited me best. Winning the title of European championship runner-up last year was a major success for me, but as a racing driver, you always want to achieve more, so my goal this year has to be to win the championship, for sure. With the help of the guys from Prema and the support of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, I reckon I have an excellent chance of making the move up into Formula 1 or into the DTM.

You are regarded as one of the favourites to take the title. Do you see that rather as pressure or as something to spur you on?
It’s certainly an incentive and feels nice to be among the title favourites. Sure, it also adds extra pressure, but when your goal is to drive in the top echelons of motor racing and be successful there, you have to withstand that pressure. I’ve consistently proven over the past few years that I can handle pressure well, which is why I’m already looking forward to the new season and will again do my best.

You are getting a famous team-mate in the shape of Mick Schumacher. How do you rate his abilities?
Mick is a very talented driver. He’s shown in Formula 4 that he can be very quick. We spent some time together at the end of last year Formula 3 testing in Spain. It went extremely well for us. We’ve both been part of the Prema family since 2015 and have had one or two interesting conversations during our time together. I think it’s great to have a Formula 3 team-mate who speaks German like me.

Apart from being involved in Formula 3, you are now an official test and reserve driver for the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM team. What does your role encompass?
I think it’s something very special to now officially be part of the Mercedes-AMG motor racing family. During DTM race weekends, I will take part in briefings so as to get a better understanding of the team and how they do things. I’ll get an even more detailed insight from working with the engineers, especially during races. I will also be taking out the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM race taxi a few times. The main aspect of my work, though, is to be prepared for further tasks.