Round one of the 2024 FIA Formula 3 season at the Bahrain International Circuit is in the books. It was a weekend filled with first time winners, star rookie performances and a few unfortunate moments for the experienced drivers.

Here are the main storylines to take from an action-packed weekend in Sakhir.


Luke Browning’s pace in Sakhir was not a surprise considering that he had set the fastest times of days two and three of pre-season testing at the same venue weeks prior.

However, you never know how much stock you can put in the pre-season leaderboard given the relative unknowns at play, such as fuel loads, tyres and much more.

RACE ANALYSIS: How rookie Lindblad showed experience beyond his years in Sakhir

But once the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver went fastest in Free Practice, it was clear he would be in the running for pole position. He confirmed that in Qualifying, ultimately ending up second behind Dino Beganovic.

Browning then capitalised on the PREMA Racing driver’s slow start in the Feature Race to take the lead heading down to Turn 1. He came under heavy pressure from ART Grand Prix rival Christian Mansell, but never looked likely to relinquish top spot.

A strong start to the 2024 season for the Williams Driver Academy member then, one he hopes will culminate with the FIA F3 Drivers’ title.

Browning won the first Feature Race of the season in Bahrain
Browning won the first Feature Race of the season in Bahrain


Arvid Lindblad enjoyed as strong a debut weekend in F3 as one could hope for as went from fourth to victory in the Sakhir Sprint Race – thereby becoming the youngest winner in the Championship at 16-years-old.

The British driver followed that up with a fighting drive to finish eighth in the Feature Race. However, the PREMA Racing rookie was not the only newcomer who impressed in Sakhir.

MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz also put in a starring performance of his own as he went from finishing in fifth place in the Sprint to taking third place in Saturday’s Feature.

READ MORE: Team Principal Campos Jr says pace is there after bad luck halts Sakhir progress

The third rookie to take home silverware was Laurens van Hoepen, who started on reverse grid pole in the Sprint Race. While he missed out on the win, he fought valiantly on his way to an impressive P2 for ART Grand Prix.

There were also some eye-catching performances from rookies outside of the podium. Sami Meguetounif and Santiago Ramos both scored valuable points for Trident this weekend, as they finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Elsewhere, Max Esterson and Alex Dunne scored for their teams, with the former finishing sixth in the Sprint Race for Jenzer Motorsport. Dunne, on the other hand, came through from 14th to score points in the Feature for MP – a neat late-race overtake on Campos Racing’s Oliver Goethe a highlight as the Irish driver made his way up to ninth.

Lindblad scored the Sprint Race victory on his debut in Formula 3
Lindblad scored the Sprint Race victory on his debut in Formula 3


Beganovic started well in Sakhir as he ended up third in Free Practice before retuning later in the day to qualify fastest. However, from then on, his weekend was marred by unfortunate events that dropped him to the back of the field.

He collided with Trident’s Ramos on the opening lap of the Sprint Race – for which he was handed a 10-second penalty – and was forced to pit to change his front wing. This left him to run at the back of the field and meant he finished 29th.

READ MORE: Dunne laments costly ‘mistakes’ in Sakhir but remains pleased with P9 Feature Race

Beganovic would have hoped for a change in fortunes when he lined up at the front on Saturday. However, a slow start saw him down in last. However, the Swede demonstrated his impressive speed and racing prowess as he took the chequered flag in 13th.

Heading to Melbourne, he will need a much cleaner weekend to match his speed, as he looks to get his Championship charge up and running.

Beganovic took Pole Position in Sakhir and showed strong pace
Beganovic took Pole Position in Sakhir and showed strong pace


Speaking following the Sakhir weekend Team Principal Adrián Campos Jr was less than enthused with his team’s Qualifying performance.

Mari Boya was the lead driver in 15th ahead of Oliver Goethe in 17th, while Sebastián Montoya had his best time deleted and was down in 29th.

Both Boya and Goethe recovered to score points in the Sprint Race, with pair taking the chequered flag in eighth and ninth respectively.

HIGHLIGHTS: Browning resists Mansell pressure for Sakhir Feature Race win

However, while Goethe was able to return to the points paying positions in the Feature Race, placing 10th, Boya sustained a puncture on the opening lap and was forced to run at the back of the pack in clean air.

Looking at Boya’s performance in free air and Montoya’s pace as he came through the field in both races, Campos could see that if they had qualified better, they had the pace to compete for the top positions.

Ahead of Melbourne, that will be a key point emphasised within the Campos camp, which could see all three drivers fighting for top honours down under.

Mansell finished second in the Feature Race behind Browning for ART
Mansell finished second in the Feature Race behind Browning for ART


Christian Mansell ended the 2023 season with Campos in fine form, scoring points regularly and finishing third at the Silverstone Sprint Race and second at the Spa-Francorchamps Feature.

Coming into the 2024 campaign now a member of ART Grand Prix, the Australian driver was looking to continue that positive momentum into Bahrain.

READ MORE: Meguetounif disappointed to miss out on podium but happy with Sakhir weekend

Mansell qualified eighth – the lead ART driver ahead of Nikola Tsolov and van Hoepen – and was in brilliant form during Saturday’s proceedings, making it up to second by Lap 5.

He pushed Browning all the way for victory, consistently staying within DRS range of the Hitech driver but Mansell just did not have enough pace to overhaul him for victory.

However, a podium in the first weekend of the year is exactly how he wanted to start the year and gives him great momentum going forward, and he heads into Round 2 third in the Drivers’ Championship.