The final triple-header of the season begins in Belgium this weekend, as Spa-Francorchamps hosts Round 7 of the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

When to watch All times local (GMT +2)

Friday Free Practice: 09:35 – 10:20 Qualifying: 14:05 – 14:35 Press conference: 17:45 Saturday Feature race: 10:25 (17 laps) Press conference: 11:25 Sunday Sprint race: 09:45 (17 laps)

The story so far

With six exciting FIA Formula 3 Championship rounds completed in just eight weeks, the action has certainly come thick and fast this season. Last time out, Barcelona provided plenty of drama as Jake Hughes took his maiden victory of the season, before Oscar Piastri won for the first time since the opening round to maintain his championship challenge.

In the Spanish sunshine it was Charouz Racing System’s Roman Stanek who set the fastest time in Friday’s curtailed Free Practice session, a red flag ending the session with three minutes to go. Logan Sargeant then took his third consecutive pole position during Qualifying, ahead of Hughes and Liam Lawson.

Sargeant enjoyed a solid start in Race 1, and got away again cleanly after an early Safety Car to maintain the lead, but Hughes was unrelenting in his pursuit of the championship leader. The Briton systematically reeled in the American before passing him in Turn 1 and building a lead of his own. Another Safety Car appearance cut that short, but the HWA RACELAB man went straight back to work to rebuild his advantage and bring home his first win of the campaign. Lawson danced past Sargeant for second, with the PREMA racer settling for P3.

Race 2’s start was incredible, as the first four corners were all Piastri needed to claw his way into the lead from fifth. Behind him, Alex Peroni battled past Jenzer’s Matteo Nannini for second place, with the Italian finishing third for his maiden F3 podium.

The challengers

The gap between the top two in the Drivers’ Championship remains just a single point. Sargeant (131 pts) leads teammate Piastri (130), with Lawson (99) behind them in third place. David Beckmann (94.5) is fourth, with Théo Pourchaire (80) completing the top five.

PREMA Racing (331.5 pts) have a healthy lead in the Teams’ Championship as they look to make it back-to-back titles. Trident (144.5) are second, with ART Grand Prix (125) behind them in third. Hitech Grand Prix (118) are seven points further back, ahead of MP Motorsport (93) in fifth.

With just three rounds remaining, the paddock heads to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps to begin the final triple-header of the season. Pirelli’s medium compound tyre returns for the first time since Round 3, and the teams and drivers will have to ensure their setups are correct if they’re to maximise them around the longest circuit on the calendar.

From the grid – Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport)

“Spa is my favourite track and it's more or less my home track too. I've been there a lot and it's quite historical. It’s so nice with the flowing corners, and I cannot wait to go back there. Obviously, there’s a different feeling now too, as we all know what happened there last year and that’s still in my mind. I think it's in everyone's mind that was there. It will be a bit different, but I'll be racing my heart out for Anthoine.

“Tyre management last year was really important. We had big drop offs in the race. After a good start we dropped completely to P17 or something because the tyres were dropping away so much. We need to be careful with that and not underestimate it this weekend.

“Overtaking is a bit easier than other places, like the Hungaroring, but it’s still a challenge. You have a bit more space in between corners, and you have a bit more time to get yourself well placed behind someone.

“I expect there’ll be action and overtaking after Eau Rouge with the DRS, and after Blanchimont into the last corner with the chicane. I think that will see the most overtaking, maybe some in Turn 1. For the rest, if you try and pass anywhere else you can lose quite a bit of time. There might be overtaking in other corners in the opening laps, but mainly, when we're racing and settled, the action will be in those corners.

“Hopefully, we'll have a good qualifying session and get a little bit of a tow to get a perfect lap time out of it. I'm just going to enjoy it. I love Spa so much. I cannot wait to go there again, to race, and to give it everything in Qualifying.”

Tyre talk – Mario Isola (Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing)

“Spa is always a challenging circuit for the drivers and the demands for the tyres are also high. As usual at Spa, the compounds nominated in F3 are from the middle of the range and are likely to require some degree of management, but we usually see some exciting racing there in the championship and we’re looking forward to more of that this weekend. Of course, Anthoine Hubert will be at the forefront of everybody’s thoughts this weekend, with a number of tributes planned.”

Stat pack

  • The F3 race lap record at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is 2:08.535, set by Marcus Armstrong with PREMA Racing in 2019.
  • The gap between Logan Sargeant and PREMA Racing teammate Oscar Piastri at the top of the Drivers’ Championship is just one point.
  • The first six rounds of the season have produced eight different winners. There were nine different winners last season.
  • Liam Lawson has led more laps than anyone else so far this season with 49.
  • At 7.004km Spa-Francorchamps is the longest circuit on the FIA Formula 3 calendar.
  • Whoever takes victory in Sunday’s Race 2, will win the FIA Formula 3 Championship’s 30th race.
  • David Schumacher will join Carlin Buzz Racing for the remaining three rounds of the season, after parting ways with Charouz Racing System. Schumacher will race the British outfit’s No. 27 car.
  • Russian racer Michael Belov joins Charouz and takes the No.25 car vacated by Schumacher.
  • Andreas Estner returns to FIA Formula 3, replacing compatriot Sophia Floersch at Campos Racing for Round 7. Estner competed the 2019 F3 campaign with Jenzer Motorsport.
  • 18-year-old French racer Pierre-Louis Chovet will drive Hitech Grand Prix’s No. 4 machine in Round 7, replacing Max Fewtrell.