One To Watch
He had his first test in F1 machinery back in 2003, and is eyeing a full time Formula 1 test seat for 2008.
Does he have what it takes?
Marko Asmer broke new ground when he became the first Estonian to test for a Formula One team when he drove a Williams-BMW four years ago. Asmer was born in the Eastern European state in 1984 when it was still under Soviet control. His father Toivo was a racing driver before becoming Estonia’s minister of regional affairs from 1999-2003.
Asmer got into karting before pursuing a racing career in Britain. In 2003 he won the British Southern and Northern Formula Ford Championship, did a couple of Formula Renault V6 races and was second in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival. He got his first F1 test that year despite his relative lack of experience in race cars.
He began the first of what would be four years in Formula Three in 2004. The first two were in the British championship with Hitech Racing, for whom he delivered two fastest laps and tenth overall in 2004, then six podiums and two pole positions (but no wins) en route to fourth in the championship the next year. Asmer was also the highest-placed British F3 driver in the annual F3 Masters and Zandvoort (seventh overall).
For 2006 he tried his hand at the Japanese series and scored a single win. He planned a dual assault on the British and Japanese championships for 2007, but quickly elected to focus his energies on the British series. He dominated it, winning 11 of the 22 races and beating Maro Engel by 85 points. He also made his fourth appearance in the Macau F3 Grand Prix, finished a best-ever fourth, and scored fastest lap.
After winning the title Asmer set his sights on graduating to Formula 1:
My goal is to succeed in F1 one day and I suppose I feel more hopeful about that now than I did last year. I have met people informally in F1 and other series so I can start building contacts, but who knows what and when anything will come out of it.
Asmer has clearly mastered Formula Three – although some would point out that he’s had long enough to. Whether he’s quite ready yet to step up to more powerful machinery remains to be seen. He will test alongside Javier Villa at Jerez, and on paper the GP2 race-winning Spanish driver seems the more likely candidate.
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Photos: British F3 Media