CEO Bruno Michel looks back at an eventful final round of the 2021 season and picks out his key topics from Sochi.
Michel discusses the championship battle between Dennis Hauger and Jack Doohan, Trident’s title win, the difficult weather conditions and what lies ahead for the third tier.
DENNIS HAUGER IS A WORTHY CHAMPION
The gap between Dennis Hauger and Jack Doohan in the Drivers’ standings ahead of the final round of the season made it mathematically possible for the Australian to keep his title hopes alive. However, Hauger only needed to extend his lead over Doohan by one point after Race 1 to claim the crown.
The Norwegian not only did that but even more: Doohan had to start from outside the points, while Hauger lined up P4 on the grid. The PREMA Racing driver could have only focused on remaining in control and cruising to the title, but that was not enough for him. He drove superbly and caught up with race leader Logan Sargeant in the final stages of Race 1.
He crossed the line in second to become the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Champion, following in the footsteps of Robert Shwartzman and Oscar Piastri. Hauger had taken the lead of the Championship in Round 1 and never lost it. He has been mighty impressive all season long. Bravo!
JACK DOOHAN LOST WITH PANACHE
Doohan came to Russia with a positive mindset, knowing very well that he had to give 100% if he wanted to become this year’s Champion. That’s what he did in Qualifying, taking pole position and the four points that go with it. However, his first race went terribly, and he had to witness Hauger claim the crown.
With only one race to go in the season, Doohan wanted to prove a point and end his 2021 campaign on a win. After a very tense battle with his teammate Clément Novalak, the young Australian took victory. He can be very proud of his second F3 season.
A NEW TEAMS’ CHAMPION
This season, the fight for the Teams’ Championship has been pretty intense between PREMA Racing and Trident, with the former having been quite dominant in recent years at this level. But it was Trident who dramatically claimed the title in the final race of the season! Going into Race 3, Trident were 27 points behind the reigning champions. But starting with two cars on the front row, they were quite hopeful if not optimistic that they could swoop in and defeat PREMA.
From the pitwall, they anxiously watched Doohan and Novalak fighting tooth and nail for the win, and at the chequered flag, they exploded with joy having achieved their greatest result in any category. Trident have been strong with all three cars. Their hard work and dedication has been rewarded in the best possible way.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ROUND 7
As usual, I would like to highlight a few drivers, starting with Logan Sargeant. It was the American’s third F3 season. In 2020, he was a title contender and a multiple race winner. He had not planned to come back to F3, but a late call from Charouz Racing System convinced him to re-join and help them in 2021. The team had finished last in 202, but with Sargeant’s help, they classified fifth this season and in Sochi, they even earned their very first win, thanks to the American driver.
I would also like to underline Clément Novalak’s campaign: the Frenchman joined Trident this season and his consistency meant that he finished third overall. He desperately wanted to get a victory and he fought really hard for it in the final race in Sochi, but ultimately, he had to settle for P3.
Yet he can be proud to have been a huge part in his team’s success. Finally, we need to talk about our highest ranked rookie, Victor Martins. He ended the season P5 overall, with one win, six podiums and four fastest laps. He adapted quickly to F3 and was exciting to watch on track.
A CHALLENGING FINAL ROUND
The weather forecast promised rain in Sochi, and it delivered in spades. Knowing that Saturday’s running would most likely be reduced, together with F1 and the FIA, we worked on a new timetable that saw our first race take place on Friday. It was a bit unusual, to say the least, and it also meant that F3 had three sessions in one day, but everyone adapted well and worked quite hard to make this happen.
THANK YOU FOR AN AMAZING SEASON
The third instalment of FIA Formula 3 didn’t disappoint. We saw some thrilling racing and a title fight that kept us on our toes until the very end. I would like to thank the drivers, our 10 teams and our partners for keeping us entertained throughout the seven rounds.
I would also like to thank the fans. Looking at the audience figures on our social media platforms, we have attracted numerous new followers. We hope you have enjoyed the 2021 season as much as we did!
We announced last week that we will introduce a new race weekend format for 2022. F3 will race alongside Formula 2, with all rounds taking place on Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends. There will be two F3 races per event: one Sprint Race and one Feature Race. The Saturday starting grid will see the Top 12 from the Qualifying session reversed, while the Qualifying results will determine the Sunday race starting grid.
We will announce the F3 teams for the next three-year cycle in the coming weeks, and we should be able to reveal our 2022 calendar soon as well.
Finally, there will be a post-season test session on November 1-3 at Valencia, Spain. Will we get some clues as to what the 2022 field will look like? Stay tuned!