FIA Formula 3 is back in action this weekend for Round 5 of the 2024 season, marking the halfway point in the season.

Along with an historic 100th race in Championship history on Sunday, the Sprint and Feature Races in Barcelona will shape the season and title fight, with several drivers vying for top spot.

Ahead of the action, here are a few areas you’ll want to keep close eye on as the weekend unfolds.

Any more for any more?

Tsolov became the newest winner in FIA F3 winning the Sprint Race in Monte Carlo
Tsolov became the newest winner in FIA F3, winning the Sprint Race in Monte Carlo

Eight races into the campaign and we have eight different winners, with the field finely split in terms of performance levels.

Championship leader Gabriele Minì, Luke Browning, Dino Beganovic, Arvid Lindblad, Oliver Goethe, Sami Meguetounif, Nikola Tsolov and Martinius Stenshorne have each stood on the top step so far in 2024, and there’s a good chance that collection is added to this weekend.

Over the past five years, there have been seven first-time winners around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, most recently David Vidales the victor on home soil for Campos Racing back in 2022.

READ MORE: Road to 100: Memories of the Champions

Currently third in the Drivers’ Standings, Leonardo Fornaroli is yet to stand on the top step in F3, though the Trident driver is due a victory in the Championship. On home turf, the Italian was heartbreakingly denied a win at Imola following a technical glitch that he recovered from to finish P3.

Elsewhere, MP Motorsport’s Tim Tramnitz is the second-highest rookie in the Championship currently behind PREMA’s Lindblad and has three podiums to his name already in 2024. Might he add a maiden victory to that total in Barcelona this weekend or will ART Grand Prix driver Christian Mansell, twice a runner-up this season, put himself on the top step for the first time in his F3 career?

Tyre talk

Teams had the chance to use the white-walled Hard tyres during in-season testing around Barcelona
Teams had the chance to use the white-walled Hard tyres during in-season testing around Barcelona

For the second time in 2024, the Hard compound Pirelli tyres will be in use and could be the crucial ingredient in success or failure. The white-walled Hards were last used in Sakhir at the season-opening round where tyre management was a big factor across both the Sprint and Feature Races.

That will be the theme once again as the abrasive surface in Sakhir is replaced by the demanding corners of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a track renowned for its demand on the rubber.

All of the drivers are well aware that how they manage the tyres will be the difference between a strong result and disappointing outcome, it’s how they go about that mission that will be interesting to watch.

READ MORE: Barcelona Preview: Teeing up the triple-header with Race 100

Push early for track position and come the latter stages, rivals who saved tyres early could capitalise. Make a push too late and the pace in the tyres could have gone already, leaving an insurmountable gap to make up in the remaining laps.

It’s a high wire balancing act, who will get it right?

Don’t count out Dino

Beganovic has been ultra consistent since his Melbourne Feature victory
Beganovic has been ultra consistent since his Melbourne Feature victory

It was a tough start to 2024 for PREMA Racing’s Beganovic. The Swede earned Pole Position in Sakhir but suffered two poor getaways and failed to score points in Bahrain.

That was followed by the Melbourne Sprint in which he finished 13th to remain well adrift of his expectations, but since then, he has been in formidable form.

In the five races following his three non-scoring results, Beganovic has an average finishing position of 4.6, including a maiden F3 victory in the Feature Race around Albert Park.

READ MORE: Beganovic: ‘Smaller details making bigger differences’ as 2024 title race takes shape

It’s the best average across the grid in the same five-race period, as he continues to recover from those three disappointing results to kick off the season. He is homing in on teammate Minì, who leads the Drivers’ Championship on 72 points compared to the Scuderia Ferrari Driver Academy talent’s 58 that leave him fourth.

Up next is Barcelona, a track he finished on the podium at last year, securing third in the Feature Race.

Sunday specialists

Minì and Browning along with Fornaroli are a consistent factor in the Feature Races
Minì and Browning along with Fornaroli are a consistent factor in the Feature Races

When the prizes are at their biggest, it pays to be in contention and that is where Minì, Browning and Fornaroli have built their seasons so far.

All three have led the Championship at various stages in 2024 and are currently placed first, second and third respectively. It is in no small part due to their performances in the Feature Races, where they have accumulated their best results.

Fornaroli has a ‘worst’ finish of seventh in a Feature, that result coming back in Sakhir in the first round of the year. Compatriot Minì has been stronger still, with sixth being his lowest finish in the Features, though second-place driver in the Championship Browning is strongest.

READ MORE: Championship leader Minì says there’s no time to relax ahead of upcoming triple-header

The Briton has not finished outside of the top four on a Sunday all season so far, taking his one win in Sakhir and following that result up with a pair of P4 finishes before returning to the podium in Monte Carlo with P3 and the fastest lap.

It leaves the top three separated by just eight points going into Round 5. For Fornaroli and Browning, they have achieved podiums there in the past, second and third in 2023’s Sprint though Minì will be targeting a first rostrum appearance in Barcelona this weekend.

He will be hoping that comes in the Feature as he aims to retain his Championship lead.