PREMA – The Mercedes of the F1 Feeder Series

Prema's German driver Mick Schumacher steers his car during a Formula 2 race ahead of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in the desert south of the Bahraini capital Manama, on March 31, 2019. - Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, made his Formula Two debut this weekend in Bahrain after being crowned Formula Three champion last year with Prema, an Italian team allied with the Ferrari Drivers Academy with whom he joined in January. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP) (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Since their inception in 1984, the PREMA have endured a dominance in the feeder series that is akin to Mercedes’ in F1.

In 1990, PREMA Powerteam made their introduction to the Formula feeder series leading up to F1. Since then, both the team and their drivers have endured countless successes and championships. Their dominance in the feeder series is akin to the dominance that Mercedes-AMG Petronus had in Formula 1 between 2014 – 2021 (winning seven Drivers Championships and eight Team Championships in a row).

A Long & Storied History

PREMA Powerteam Racing, or simply PREMA, was founded in 1984 by Angelo Rosin and Giorgio Piccolo. They are based in Veneto, Italy. Six years after their inception, PREMA won their first Drivers’ Championship with Roberto Colciago in the Italian Formula 3 Championship.

Since then they have gone on to win a remarkable thirty-three Drivers Championships across the feeder series. That includes a streak of six championships in a row in European Formula 3 (2012 – 2018). PREMA won in 2003 & 2011 as well when the series was called Formula 3 Euro Series. They’ve claimed the Drivers’ Championship in 2019, 2020 & 2021, as well as this year’s F3 Team Championship. Beyond finding standout drivers, they have won twenty-nine Team Championships. Check out a few of the names to drive for PREMA through the years:

  • Esteban Ocon
  • Nicholas Latifi
  • Robert Kubica
  • Antonio Giovinazzi
  • Pierre Gasly
  • Oscar Piastri
  • Logan Sargeant
  • Lance Stroll
  • Mick Schumacher
  • Charles Leclerc
  • Zhou Guanyu
  • Nyck de Vries
  • Jacques Villeneuve
  • Jamie Chadwick
  • Robert Shwartzman
  • Felix Rosenqvist
  • Dindo Capello
  • Kamui Kobayashi

Ferrari Connection

With PREMA being an Italian-based team, they have had the opportunity to connect with another Italian-based mega-house – Scuderia Ferrari. In 2009, the Ferrari Drivers Academy (FDA) was opened, an academy based in Maranello, Italy. Its aim is to enhance the skills of young drivers. Like PREMA they’ve seen some incredible names come through their development system, including:

The link between PREMA and the FDA could be one reason for their major success, seeing as the drivers are based in Maranello and use equipment that others don’t have access such as the Ferrari simulator. The knowledge that the drivers have can help improve the car and prepare them as they move up the ranks.

If Mick Schumacher retains his seat at Haas next season, that will be 10 drivers from the PREMA/FDA system. Half the Formula 1 grid. That is also dependent on Formula 2 driver Logan Sargeant joining Williams for 2023 if he can gain enough super licence points at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. Regardless, there isn’t a driver development program out there that can match their history and alumni list.

This year PREMA won the F3 Team Championship, as well as titles in German F4, Italian F4, and the Formula Regional European Championship. With another round of talented young drivers expected in 2023, it’s realistic to presume that their success isn’t diminishing any time soon.

Featured Image Credit: KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images