The 2023 FIA Formula 3 season is rapidly approaching and there has been plenty of change over a short winter break. New driver line-ups and exciting new rivalries are set to be forged, and there are plenty on the grid with points to prove this season.
The ambition isn’t limited to the drivers though, teams equally determined to one-up their opponents in the paddock. Better performances lead to bragging right, but each team wants to win. What does the 2023 campaign hold for the 10 teams on the F3 grid and what are each of them targeting this time around?
Entering the 2023 season as reigning Champions for the third time in four FIA Formula 3 seasons, PREMA Racing remains the most successful team in the Championship. With 25 total victories and boasting three of the past four Drivers’ Champions, the Italian outfit enters as favourite this year for more glory.
New arrival Zak O’Sullivan will be driving in his second F3 campaign and the Williams Academy driver has plenty of potential that many expect him to deliver on. He is joined by Paul Aron and Dino Beganovic, Mercedes and Ferrari Junior drivers respectively. The latter makes the step-up having won last year’s Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, with Aron third in the standings. Anything less than a title double in 2023 would be a disappointment for René Rosin’s squad.
Team Manager Giacomo Ricci contends that Trident’s 2022 season was actually better than their title-winning campaign of ’21. From a purely results-based perspective, that rings true with the team achieving 15 podiums last year versus 13 in 2021. Despite that, the team ended up 80 points worse off the previous season, but there’s a positive feeling from within the team that 2023 will be even better.
Leonardo Fornaroli, Gabriele Bortoleto and Oliver Goethe make up the team’s three-pronged attack this time around. Fornaroli has prior experience racing with Trident having competed in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine with the Italian team. Bortoleto ended the FRECA season with two wins and a further three podiums to his name. Goethe took the Euroformula Open title in 2022, but also made two appearances with Campos Racing in FIA F3 last year, impressing on both weekends.
You might think that winning the Drivers’ Championship with Victor Martins meant 2022 was a success for ART Grand Prix. Team Principal Sébastien Philippe has higher expectations for his team however. The French outfit ended the season third in the Teams’ Standings but some way from contending for the Championship. They achieved eight podiums but claimed no victories after Round 3.
This time around ART will be targeting a much more consistent season across the board and have high expectations. A brand-new factory has been finished ahead of the 2023 campaign and the team is excited about the prospect of the new season.
Three wins was a good step forward for MP Motorsport in 2022 and the team actually achieved the second highest number of podiums behind Champions PREMA last season. The target is to make another step this year too and the trio signed up for the campaign stand a good chance of helping the team achieve that. With Franco Colapinto, Jonny Edgar and Mari Boya, the trio represent a very exciting driver line-up.
The Dutch team failed to score points on just two occasions last year, tied for the third-best record on the grid with ART. There’s scope for the team to break into the top three in F3 this year and continue on their upward trajectory. More wins, podiums and strong results to be expected this year.
A title challenge with Isack Hadjar that ultimately came undone at the last hurdle, Hitech Pulse-Eight has to rebound from the disappointment of last season, but is more than capable of doing so. The team made progress from 2021, climbing up a place in the Teams’ Standings and finishing fifth overall last term.
Results were also better across the board, with the three race victories the team scored second only to Trident in terms of win count. Another incremental improvement and achieving those points-scoring results consistently would go a long way in helping the team achieve a better finish in the Teams’ Championship in 2023.
A welcome surprise in its maiden Formula 3 campaign, Van Amersfoort Racing acquitted themselves more than capably. The team racked up two victories and six podiums in their first season led by Franco Colapinto, who also took pole position at the first time of asking in Sakhir. After a year of getting to grips with operating an F3 team, VAR looks perfectly placed to build from there.
The signing of Caio Collet, winner of two races himself in ’22, is a shrewd move by the team. He will be partnered by the returning Rafael Villagómez, who is battling well in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship ahead of the 2023 F3 season, and rookie Tommy Smith. The Australian has racing experience around seven of the nine circuits on the 2023 calendar, so could be in a stronger place to compete than other rookies across the year.
The peaks for Rodin Carlin in 2022 were very high as the team leapt up the order from last to seventh in the Teams’ Standings. The British outfit more than doubled their points tally from 2021 in the process, so what does the new season hold for Carlin? Oliver Gray will be hopeful of emulating fellow Williams Racing Driver Academy teammate Zak O’Sullivan’s Carlin efforts, while Hunter Yeany will be keen to put together a complete season after missing rounds last year through injury.
Another step forward in the Teams’ Standings is well within the squad’s capabilities, but more points-scoring finishes are a must. The changes made to Carlin’s Formula 3 operations following the ’21 season as a result of finishing 10th continue to benefit the team off the track as well as on it, so things could follow the upward trend this year.
Campos Racing was another team that improved results in 2022. Just as in ’21, the Spanish team scored a race victory, but the points-scoring finishes more than tripled last year to 12. Unfortunately for the Campos crew, that wasn’t reflected with a rise in the Teams’ Standings as they finished eighth for the second consecutive season.
The target is clear then for Campos: seventh or higher awaits as the outfit continues to make tangible progress year on year. That the team’s points-scoring consistency has improved is a hugely positive sign. Team principal Adrian Campos Jr believes that improvements on a Friday in Qualifying is the key factor that will lead to bigger rewards on race days.
There is huge potential for Jenzer Motorsport to enjoy their best year since 2019 in F3. The team’s signings are full of talent and could lead Jenzer to its best finish yet. Seven point-scoring finishes in 2022 was an improvement on ’21, but the team’s 67-point total from 2019 is still the high water mark to beat this time.
Taylor Barnard, Nikita Bedrin and Alejandro Garcia arrive with solid Formula 4 performances under their belts. Barnard is performing very admirably in the Formula Regional Middle Eastern Championship ahead of this year’s F3 campaign. Might he be the driver to lead the Jenzer charge in 2023 flanked by his new teammates?
Year one on the F3 grid for PHM Racing by Charouz will be an interesting one to watch. The German operation has plenty of experience within its ranks. The team competed in UAE, Italian and German F4 last year, finishing the Championships in third, third and second positions respectively.
Arriving in F3 this year, will the team’s comprehensive experience, born from the legacy of their Mücke Motorsport heritage, help them onto strong results in their maiden campaign? Maybe, but the team will be eager to get feet under the table this season and up to speed throughout 2023.