Rookie Formula Three driver Lewis Hamilton has confirmed what many had suspected, but had yet to be confirmed - he will be contesting next year's F3 Euroseries with Manor Motorsport rather than the British domestic championship.

Much has been made of the possibility that Manor would link up with Mercedes-Benz and contest the European series because of Hamilton's links with the German manufacturer and McLaren, but the team has yet to officially confirm the move, and Hamilton only let slip when receiving his trophy for winning the 2003 British Formula Renault crown at the weekend.

"It was the right decision to stay in Formula Renault UK this season, but now I'm looking ahead to next year and racing with Manor Motorsport in the F3 Euroseries," he said, "Some of the other drivers will have the benefit of knowing the circuits already, but it doesn't take me long to learn - I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Mercedes is already heavily involved in the Euroseries - which originated through an amalgamation of the French and German F3 series in 2003 - and powered seven cars during the inaugural season. It has yet to confirm whether Manor will be joining that number in 2004. The competition will be Manor's first full-time involvement overseas, but it is not giving up completely on trying to exert its authority in Britain. Having won the UK title twice since moving into F3 five years ago - with Antonio Pizzonia and Marc Hynes - the team has intimated that it intends to splice the odd British round into its international programme.

Another British driver, Jamie Green, is likely to team up with one of the Mercedes-powered teams in next year's Euroseries, having impressed during his British F3 campaign after winning the annual McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award in 2002.

 

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