The FIA Formula 3 Championship heads to the familiar surroundings of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the third round this weekend, while ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins and PREMA Racing’s Arthur Leclerc sit neck and neck at the top of the Championship.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Two new names were added to the Formula 3 winners’ list at Imola as Franco Colapinto and Roman Stanek claimed their maiden F3 victories. The Argentinian secured Van Amersfoort Racing’s first win in the Sprint Race. Meanwhile, a frantic Feature Race saw the Czech make it four different race winners, from four different teams across the first four races.
The title fight continues to heat up with Martins holding on to his lead in the Drivers’ Championship by the narrowest of margins – countback, tied with Leclerc on 36 points. The Frenchman will be wanting to go one better than his second place in Barcelona last year, but the momentum could be with PREMA’s Jak Crawford, who sits in fourth following his double podium last time out.
Trident’s Oliver Rasmussen achieved his first points in F3 and will be on the hunt for more, while expect Zane Maloney to be in the fight after the 18-year-old claimed his maiden pole position in only his second round in the category. Also, look out for Charouz Racing System, as Lirim Zendeli returns in place of David Schumacher for this event.
FROM THE GRID – Josep María Martí, Campos Racing
“I'm excited to drive to Barcelona because my family is going to be there. It's my home race so having the extra support from my family, and hopefully some of my fans, will be awesome.
“I really like Barcelona because it's quite a high-speed track, and it also has quite technical sections, so it's difficult to get a good set-up. I like the whole of Sector 1 because it's flowing, you have Turns 1 and 2 which is the fast chicane, and then you have the long right-hander, which makes you get a sense of speed because you've got your neck pulling for a good five seconds. It gets the best out of you.
“The main opportunity for overtaking at Barcelona is Turn 1 after the long straight, but you also have a good chance into Turn 10, with their modifications you don't have such a big breaking zone but it’s still a good opportunity.
“It's probably one of the most important tracks of the season for tyre management - Turns 1 and 2, and especially Turn 3 and Turn 9, really stress the rear left tyre.”
LAST TIME OUT – IMOLA
Arriving off the back of two in-season tests at Jerez and Barcelona, the ever-changing weather proved to be a major challenge. Trident mastered the conditions in Qualifying after heavy downpours overnight and Maloney secured a front-row lockout for the Italian team ahead of teammate Stanek.
Welcoming the warm and sunny conditions on Saturday, Franco Colapinto converted reverse grid pole into victory. A two-lap dash to the chequered flag saw him overtake Caio Collet, who found himself interlocked with Hitech Grand Prix’s Isack Hadjar moments later. Their fellow Alpine and Red Bull juniors rounded out the podium, with Martins narrowly pipping Crawford at the line.
A slippery circuit greeted drivers for the Feature Race after more rain overnight. With his teammate Maloney spinning out of contention, Stanek held his nerve to cement a home race victory for Trident. Crawford made it back-to-back podiums in second, as Hadjar finished third - the second podium of his rookie campaign.
For the third round of the season, F3 will be using the white–walled hard compound tyres.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“This is the same compound used at the circuit in previous years, selected with the significant demands of the many high-speed corners in mind. With the new rear tyres for 2022 designed to degrade quicker and make the cars more challenging to drive, the young drivers will still need to manage their rubber carefully over a race distance. So the work done at the in-season test at Barcelona last month, when drivers also had the hard tyre available to try, could be very important.”