Alexandr Smolyar started his second season with ART Grand Prix on a positive note, topping the timesheets on the opening day of pre-season testing in Spielberg, ahead of Carlin rookie Jonny Edgar and his ART teammate, Frederik Vesti.

Competitive times were set in both the morning and the afternoon sessions on Day 1, but it was the second stint that provided the strongest laptimes, with ART impressing in particular thanks to Smolyar and Vesti.

Their teammate Juan Manuel Correa marked his long-awaited return to racing with a solid finish of 13th, just 18 months after the crash in Spa-Francorchamps.

MORNING

Having not seen a circuit since the post-season tests in 2020, the Formula 3 grid were quick to dash out onto the Red Bull Ring and get a taste of the tarmac, although most returned to the pits after an installation lap.

Charouz’s Reshad de Gerus opted to remain on track in the cool and windy conditions. He set the first competitive time of the morning, lapping at 1:20.823.

Debuting with Carlin, Edgar broke the 1m 20s barrier to climb to P1 as the field started a run of qualifying simulations. The Red Bull junior ended up in 10th at the chequered flag, but he got plenty of work in, completing the joint-most laps alongside his teammate Kaylen Frederick.

A red flag brought the session to a halt midway through when Rafael Villagomez went off at Turn 8. It appeared to be a tricky corner to handle for the rookies, as the HWA RACELAB driver’s teammate Oliver Rasmussen skidded off at the same place with 15 minutes to go.

On just his second outing with MP Motorsport, Caio Collet already looked comfortable in the Dutch machinery, jumping to the top of the order with a lap of 1:19.673.

Second-year Clément Novalak was able to better the Brazilian’s time to snatch first place, knocking the benchmark down to 1:19.522, before putting in an even quicker lap to solidify his place at the top, notching 1:19.162.

Novalak topped the morning session for Trident with a tour of 1:19.162

Collet attempted to respond, but fell nearly two tenths short and ended up settling for second. His Alpine Academy teammate Victor Martins had a go as well, but was a further 0.036s off, which proved good enough for third.

Vesti managed fourth as he got off to a strong start with ART Grand Prix, while Olli Caldwell recorded the best time of the PREMA Racing trio, scoring fifth, 0.360s off P1 and 0,030s better than his teammate Dennis Hauger in sixth.

Novalak’s teammate Jack Doohan - who dominated the post-season tests in 2020 with Trident - briefly held second before dropping down the standings to P8 behind HWA RACELAB’s Matteo Nannini. While Charouz Racing System’s Michael Belov put in a lap quick enough for ninth.

AFTERNOON

The field made a swift return to the track after lunch and Collet picked up from where he left off, beating his morning time and returning to the top of the leaderboard setting the standard at 1:19.292. There was then a brief pause as Laszlo Toth came to a stop on track and brought out a Red Flag.

Smolyar was putting his experience to practice around Spielberg and fought up to second, one tenth off Collet. The duo were bumped down the order by Hauger, who set the quickest time of the day so far, notching 1:19.110.

Correa marked his long-awaited return to racing with a solid finish of 13th

ART unleashed Smolyar on a fresh set of tyres with 15 minutes to go and the Russian rewarded them by breaking the 1m 19s barrier and snatching P1 from Hauger with 10 minutes on the clock.

The Russian was briefly backed up by his teammate, Vesti, but the Mercedes Academy driver fell to third behind Red Bull junior Edgar. Hitech’s own Red Bull recruit Jak Crawford snuck into fourth shortly after and dropped Hauger – also of Red Bull - further down the order to fifth.

Roman Stanek pipped Logan Sargeant to sixth by 0.001s, ahead of Doohan and Nannini, who completed a mammoth 64 laps.

Despite running in first for a period, Collet couldn’t keep up at the end of the session and fell to P10, ahead of the morning’s quickest racer Novalak.

2021 FIA FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP - PRE-SEASON TESTS, DAY 1, MORNING SESSION

DRIVERTEAMLAPTIMELAPS
1Clément NovalakTrident1:19.16226
2Caio ColletMP Motorsport1:19.32830
3Victor MartinsMP Motorsport1:19.36434
4Frederik VestiART Grand Prix1:19.49230
5Olli CaldwellPREMA Racing1:19.52222
6Dennis HaugerPREMA Racing1:19.54518
7Matteo NanniniHWA RACELAB1:19.56128
8Jack DoohanTrident1:19.64113
9Michael BelovCharouz Racing System1:19.72620
10Jonny EdgarCarlin1:19.75137
11David SchumacherTrident1:19.78625
12Oliver RasmussenHWA RACELAB1:19.90524
13Arthur LeclercPREMA Racing1:19.90518
14Logan SargeantCharouz Racing System1:19.9649
15Alexandr SmolyarART Grand Prix1:19.97831
16Ayumu IwasaHitech Grand Prix1:20.01428
17Jak CrawfordHitech Grand Prix1:20.05128
18Filip UgranJenzer Motorsport1:20.09828
19Roman StanekHitech Grand Prix1:20.10227
20Pierre-Louis ChovetJenzer Motorsport1:20.12520
21Ido CohenCarlin1:20.21936
22Juan Manuel CorreaART Grand Prix1:20.28319
23Tijman Van Der HelmMP Motorsport1:20.42130
24Amaury CordeelCampos Racing1:20.44628
25Calan WilliamsJenzer Motorsport1:20.45622
26Reshad De GerusCharouz Racing System1:20.55734
27Rafael VillagomezHWA RACELAB1:20.68718
28Lorenzo ColomboCampos Racing1:20.72237
29Laszlo TothCampos Racing1:20.73532
30Kaylen FrederikCarlin1:21.05737

2021 FIA FORMULA 3 CHAMPIONSHIP - PRE-SEASON TESTS, DAY 1, AFTERNOON SESSION

DRIVERTEAMLAPTIMELAPS
1Alexandr SmolyarART Grand Prix1:18.89450
2Jonny EdgarCarlin1:19.04645
3Frederik VestiART Grand Prix1:19.05654
4Jak CrawfordHitech Grand Prix1:19.08555
5Dennis HaugerPREMA Racing1:19.11039
6Roman StanekHitech Grand Prix1:19.19752
7Logan SargeantCharouz Racing System1:19.19844
8Jack DoohanTrident1:19.23852
9Matteo NanniniHWA RACELAB1:19.28864
10Ciao ColletMP Motorsport1:19.29252
11Clément NovalakTrident1:19.30953
12Michael BelovCharouz Racing System1:19.40637
13Calan WilliamsJenzer Motorsport1:19.42242
14Juan Manuel CorreaART Grand Prix1:19.45648
15David SchumacherTrident1:19.46753
16Olli CaldwellPREMA Racing1:19.49141
17Arthur LeclercPREMA Racing1:19.50941
18Oliver RasmussenHWA RACELAB1:19.51535
19Kaylen FrederikCarlin1:19.56547
20Rafael VillagomezHWA RACELAB1:19.64254
21Pierre-Louis ChovetJenzer Motorsport1:19.71151
22Amaury CordeelCampos Racing1:19.74036
23Lorenzo ColomboCampos Racing1:19.76146
24Reshad De GerusCharouz Racing System1:19.93338
25Ayumu IwasaHitech Grand Prix1:19.94255
26Filip UgranJenzer Motorsport1:20.14949
27Ido CohenCarlin1:20.15843
28Tijmen Van Der HelmMP Motorsport1:20.40845
29Victor MartinsMP Motorsport1:20.43752
30Laszlo TothCampos Racing1:21.19829