As usual, the Formula 3 season kicked off with some frenetic racing action in Sakhir, Bahrain for Round 1 of the 2023 season.
Looking back at the major talking points from the opening weekend, F3 CEO Bruno Michel picks out the hot topics after the first race weekend of the year.
START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON
The 2022 season left Trident with a sour aftertaste, having lost their crown to PREMA Racing. So, it was important for the runners-up to open their 2023 campaign as strongly as possible. Looking at the Teams’ Standings after Round 1, Trident are leading PREMA by 24 points, thanks to a 1-2 finish in the Feature Race. Rookie Gabriel Bortoleto ‘s mature drive took him from second on the grid to first at the flag, claiming a maiden victory ahead of teammate Oliver Goethe. Both drivers sit at the top end of the Championship. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep the pressure on in Melbourne, a new venue for everyone.
A SATURDAY TO REMEMBER
The F3 and F2 Sprint Races at Sakhir were all about Campos Racing. In Formula 3, Pepe Marti remained in control of a very hectic race to take a first win for the Spanish team. The young Spaniard was greeted in the parc fermé by F1 double World Champion Fernando Alonso, who manages Marti’s and Bortoleto’s careers. It’s great to see someone like Fernando supporting the next generation.
MINÌ AND BEGANOVIC ALSO STAR IN ROUND 1
Hitech Pulse-Eight’s rookie Gabriele Minì became the first poleman of the 2023 season, beating fellow newcomer Bortoleto in an incredibly close Qualifying session. Only five-hundredths separated Minì from Bortoleto, with the top 20 drivers covered by one second! Mini’s races were challenging, but the promise is there.
Meanwhile, Dino Beganovic secured a first podium, finishing third in the Feature Race. The Swede and Sebastian Montoya are the only two rookies who scored points in both races in Sakhir.
With so many rookies joining this year’s field, it’s not easy to know exactly who the title contenders in 2023 may be. The season opened at the Bahrain International Circuit, where the teams and the drivers had gathered for the pre-season tests two weeks prior. They were on familiar ground. Next up is Melbourne. It will be our first visit to Australia. I cannot wait to see who will master the demanding street circuit. It may give us some clues as to how the rest of the season could unfold…
A SUCCESSFUL BREAKTHROUGH
Last year, we announced a historic partnership with Aramco, with the objective to introduce sustainable fuels from 2023. Behind the scenes, there has been a lot of work done between us and Aramco, and it was incredible to see all 52 cars across F2 and F3 racing with Advanced sustainable fuels successfully and for the first time ever. This is a tremendous achievement and the first step in a wider sustainability strategy announced by Formula 1.