Prema Powerteam has confirmed Stefano Coletti will remain with the team for a full-time assault on the 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries.
Coletti joined Prema four rounds into the 2008 season as a replacement for Charlie Kimball when Red Bull's decision to withdraw their sponsorship forced him out of his drive with Signature-Plus.
Showing flashes of speed with a front row starting position at Le Mans and a fourth place result at the Hockenheim season finale, Coletti has now been rewarded with a chance to impress over a full season with the Italian team.
For the Monegasque driver, re-signing with Prema after they threw him a lifeline was an easy decision to make.
"I would first of all like to thank Prema for the opportunity that they gave me in 2008, when in a difficult moment of my career they believed in me and gave me a competitive car. I also have to thank Prema for the determination demonstrated in the last weeks, when they clearly showed all the energy and will to renew our agreement for another season.
“The season that will shortly start, will be difficult and important for my career, because I will aim to obtain the necessary results for each young driver who dreams from the moment he starts his racing activity in go karts.
“To realise this together with Prema, provides me the serenity and trust on the means that I will have at disposal which will allow me to concentrate and reward who believes in me with results that we all hope for."
Confirming that they will continue to use Mercedes engines in 2009, Prema team principal Angelo Rosin was delighted to promote Coletti to team leader.
"Counting on a driver of great talent such as Stefano Coletti is very satisfying and allows us to look at the future with greater confidence. The F.3 Euroseries is an extremely competitive series, where important manufactures such as Mercedes are involved, and in order to be competitive it is crucial to have fast and reliable drivers.
“Coletti did enormous progress during his stay with us, learning and applying our advice and at the same time gave valid indications to our engineers. A perfect feeling that will be even more evident from the beginning of 2009 when we will start with the maximum focus and effort so as to be among the title contenders that we had once won in 2003."
Prema, title winners with Ryan Briscoe back in 2003, finished fourth in the 2008 standings with the combination of Coletti, Renger van der Zande and DanI Clos.