JOEY Mawson, the 20-year-old Australian who caught the right kind of attention this year when he beat son-of-a-gun Mick Schumacher to the German Formula 4 Championship, is edging closer to securing a seat in the tough European Formula 3 Championship in 2017.
Mawson and his manager Gwenda Searle were back in Australia this past week talking to the consortium of believers (a group known as PODIUM) led by high-profile businessmen: Sydney’s Geoff Morgan, and Melbourne based Tom Warwick.
Mawson and Searle spoke to groups of potential supporters in each city, outlining what it would take to place the Australian in a strong F3 team next season.
Leading European F3 teams ask drivers to bring along a budget of €750,000 ($A1.06 million). Drivers with proven ability such as Mawson, who won 10 races this year, are likely to get a discount.
Searle told Wheels the budget target to put Joey Mawson in a top team and provide the right support, insurance and travel expenses is $A1 million. Mawson’s supportive mother is currently working a night job in a restaurant to help cover her son’s living expenses.
“All of the top four teams would like to have Joey in their car, but no-one gets a free ride,” said Searle.
Mawson and Schumacher’s intense rivalry is likely to spill into next year, with the German teenager also lining up in Euro F3 with the well-credentialed Prema team.
The fascinating aside to the Mawson-Schumacher track duels is their off-track friendship. They are close mates.
“We race hard – really hard – maybe because we are close friends,” said Mawson. “He is always under lots of pressure because of his name.
“One of the first guys to come and congratulate me after I won the championship was Mick.”
Given a choice, Mawson hopes he will again race with his Dutch-based team Van Amersfoort Racing, with which he has raced the last two seasons. There’s plenty of mutual respect and Mawson believes Van Amersfoort can take the fight to category top-dog Prema.
Meanwhile, Mawson is staying race-fit over the European winter by competing in the four-round MRF Challenge across the Middle East and India.
A week ago he scored three podiums and a sixth in the opening round in Bahrain, aboard a Dallara Formula 3 chassis.
Coming up next month is round two in Dubai, then New Delhi on January 27-29 and the final event in Chennai on February 17-19.