After an extended break, FIA Formula 3 is back in action this weekend in Monaco. So far this year it has been the Gabriel Bortoleto and Trident show, winning two Feature Races out of two.
Will that change this time around or can the Brazilian keep his impressive streak going? Here is all you need to know ahead of Monaco and Round 4 of the 2023 FIA F3 season.
THE FORM BOOK
Bortoleto has opened his rookie campaign in some fashion, taking victory in Sakhir and Melbourne on Sunday to lead the Drivers’ Championship with 58 points. A tangle with Rafael Villagómez in the Sakhir Sprint Race represents his only non-scoring result of the season. Discounting that, he has finished every race inside the top six.
Grégoire Saucy has been quick in every session so far this year and is Bortoleto’s closest challenger in the Standings. The Swiss driver has 38 points to his name and four point-scoring finishes out of four. He is the only driver on the F3 grid with a perfect record still intact.
Dino Beganovic has been quiet so far this season arriving in F3 off the back of his Formula Regional European Championship title in 2022, but PREMA Racing’s Swede has quietly gone about his business. He arrives in Monaco with one Feature Race podium to his name (3rd, Sakhir) and if not for a post-race penalty in Melbourne, would have a scoring record to match Saucy’s also.
Gabriele Minì is yet to take a win after losing the Sakhir Feature Race victory to a time penalty, but the Italian has been quick all year so far. The Hitech Pulse-Eight driver is fourth, tied with Beganovic on 28 points but has arguably been Bortoleto’s closest challenger on track.
Josep María Martí put on an overtaking clinic in Melbourne, driving through the field from 30th and last on the grid to finish P7 in one of the most impressive drives in FIA F3 history. The Spaniard has a Sprint Race win from Sakhir and two more points-scoring finishes to put him fifth in the Drivers’ Championship on 25 points.
Trident has a 30-point advantage in the Teams’ Standings over PREMA Racing, 100 points to 70. Third placed Hitech Pulse-Eight follow on 54 points ahead of ART Grand Prix on 45 and Campos Racing on 29, fourth and fifth respectively.
FROM THE GRID – Oliver Goethe, Trident
“It’s such a unique place. It’s a very small country and it’s really nice, the track is amazing. I can’t wait to drive there this year. Driving there in Formula Regional was amazing last year, the results weren’t great in 2021 but this year I’m confident it can be a lot better. It’s such a cool track, it’s probably the only one with a tunnel that I’ll be driving at. The swimming pool chicane is really fast, I enjoy the whole thing.
"Overtaking is not the easiest. If you pressure the person in front into a mistake then it’s possible. I’d say the best places are under braking after the tunnel and then Rascasse. We’ve seen some nice moves there in the past but anywhere will do! Tyre deg should be a bit easier with it being a street track. It’s a bit of a home race for me, I grew up and go to school there still to this day. All my friends will be watching along with my family which will be really cool. I also get to sleep at home which is nice!”
The red-walled soft Pirelli tyres will be in action this weekend along with the yellow medium tyres used as carry-over from the previous round. Monaco’s notorious and narrow layout makes overtaking a huge challenge for all of the drivers, and keeping the car out of the barriers is a fight in itself. Qualifying will therefore be critical to the hopes of everyone on the grid. Ensuring the tyre is at its best throughout the 3.337km lap will go a long way to helping with those pole position ambitions.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“It will be great to see Formula 3 cars racing on the streets of Monaco once again alongside Formula 1 and Formula 2. As is the case for those championships, the low wear and degradation rates produced by the tight and technical street circuit mean that we bring the softest available tyre compound – which for Formula 3 is the P Zero Red soft. This compound has been revised for 2023, with Monaco being its first appearance, and should provide the drivers with optimal performance as they get to grips with the circuit. Extracting that performance will likely be critical in the split qualifying session to secure track position for the races, with no mandatory pit-stops in Formula 3.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Formula 3 Qualifying will mirror the same format as F2, with two groups separating the grid in half for two shortened sessions. Groups A and B are then aggregated together to form the grid, with the group that earns the fastest time overall starting from pole and the other fastest driver starting P2.
Positions then alternate between the groups for the remaining positions based on the results of Split Qualifying.
For the Sprint Race, the top 12 will be reversed. The sixth fastest car from the second group will start on pole, with the sixth fastest car from the faster group alongside them in P2.