Max Esterson is stepping up to Formula 3 full-time in 2024, and looks set to be the only American driver in the category this year.
Kaylen Frederik and Hunter Yeany started the 2023 season but Yeany was replaced by Esterson for two rounds at Carlin mid-season and did not secure another seat in the series after that point. Frederik has since tested Indy NXT and Super Formula Lights machinery and looks unlikely to return to F3 for a fourth year.
While Esterson only made those four race starts in Silverstone and Budapest in FIA F3, the iRacing star turned racer will now join the grid full-time with Jenzer Motorsport, who he drove for at Macau in November.
“I’m excited to be joining Jenzer Motorsport and to be racing in FIA F3,” said Esterson. “Jenzer has a great history of success and has proven they can run at the front in F3, which has to be considered one of the most competitive series in the world.
“It’s a big step up for me with more power, more downforce, and a heavier car, but I feel like I’ve gelled well with Jenzer’s family environment in the post-season tests last year and at the Macau Grand Prix in November.
“I’m grateful to Andreas [Jenzer] and everyone at the team for the opportunity and to all my supporters including iRacing who have stepped up and helped me make this move. We’re working hard to be well prepared for Bahrain in February and I’m excited to get going!”
Esterson only made the transition from iRacing to real racing in 2020, and the Jenzer team principal believes he can go all the way through the ranks to emulate Logan Sargeant as a grand prix driver.
“After completing the official post-season 2023 test days with our team as well as the prestigious Macau World Cup, American racing driver Max Esterson will take on the challenge of competing as a rookie in the FIA F3 Championship with Jenzer Motorsport this season,” Jenzer said. “As Max is competing with the American flag and sponsors, we will work to bring the next American driver into the FIA F1 paddock!”
Esterson moved to the UK in 2021 to pursue the European ladder towards F1, becoming the first American to win both the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy while representing the Team USA Scholarship in 2021, and competing in the GB3 Championship (pictured) prior to his step up to F3. For now he’s the only American in the field, although seven of the 30 slots are yet to be confirmed.
America does have Jak Crawford a rung further up the ladder in Formula 2, with the 18-year-old race-winner switching to DAMS for his second season in the feeder series following his departure from the Red Bull junior program.