One final night of celebrations capped off a thrilling and record-breaking 2022 FIA Formula 3 season in style. Teams, drivers, guests and friends all gathered in Monte Carlo, Monaco for the official Prize Giving Ceremony, recognising the best and the brilliant from the year gone by.
The 2022 Prize Giving was the first official event of its kind since 2019, following years of the awards being handed out following the final round of the season. The occasion was worth the wait, with the glitz and glamour of Monaco on full display at Twiga, the venue for this year’s celebrations.
While the winter breeze blowing in from the harbour made things a little chilly en route, guests were welcomed into the warmth under soft lighting and with glasses of prosecco. A chorus of conversation soon followed as the venue began to pack full of the star-studded list of attendees for this year’s event.
Formula 3 Champions Victor Martins and PREMA Racing Team Principal René Rosin were joined by the likes of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, Formula 2 Champion-turned-F1 race winner George Russell, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
F1 TV presenter Laura Winter encouraged guests to be seated as the night began with a video recapping the spectacular action from all the way back in March in Sakhir to the twists and turns at Monza in September that brought the season to a dramatic close.
Alongside the Formula 3 awards, a total of 20 trophies were handed out over the course of the evening. CEO Bruno Michel began: “This year’s Championship has been quite amazing because we had seven drivers at the final round that were fighting for the title, which was absolutely amazing. The season has been great. The level of the drivers has been amazing, and I think we can say that almost half of the grid in F2 next year will be made up of F3 drivers, which is a fantastic achievement.
“We had a very very worthy winner which will be awarded later on both in the Teams’ and the Drivers’ Championships. I think we can be very proud of both Championships and the level of racing that we’ve been having.”
The first award of the evening was for the third-place finishers in the Championships, with ART Grand Prix’s Philippe coming up on stage to collect the award on behalf of the French team. It was a nice moment made even more special, as Mercedes F1 driver Russell was the man to present the award. The Briton of course won his 2017 GP3 Series and 2018 F2 Championship titles with the team.
Next up was Oliver Bearman for his third-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship. The PREMA Racing driver has already been confirmed as graduating up to Formula 2 with the Italian team and was full of praise for his team in making his season in F3 such a success.
“I’m super happy with how the season went. It was a big step-up from Formula 4, it’s a tough step and it was a big risk to be honest, but I think it paid off. I started off a bit slow and made a few rookie mistakes which hurt my season, but I finished with four really strong rounds which put us right into contention.
“Monza was a bit disappointing, but I made a few too many mistakes at the start of the year so Monza wasn’t the reason I lost out. I want to say thanks to the team who did a mega job and I’m looking forward to continuing next year.”
Next on the docket was the first Dallara Award of the evening, presented to Giacomo Ricci of Trident for Best Team Effort. The Italian team’s Manager collected the award for the brilliant Spa-Francorchamps weekend. Team and driver Zane Maloney rebounded from a sizeable crash in the Sprint Race to take Feature Race victory on Sunday following an extensive rebuilding of the Trident car.
The second Formula 3 Dallara Award of the evening went to Campos Racing for its endeavours on the same race weekend. The Spanish team was the other outfit involved in the crash, with Oliver Goethe colliding with Maloney, leaving his car in need of serious repairs also. The team decided it would post a camera at the back of its garage and film the entire operations, garnering huge attention and admiration on social media after it was posted for the heroic rebuild job in time to take the start on Sunday.
Trident’s Team Manager Ricci was soon back on stage to collect the trophy for second place in the Teams’ Standings. “We had a very very tough start to the season. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but we were able to come back in the second part of the year,” he remarked. “So, I’m really proud of this and I want to thank the entire team once again.”
This time it was the turn of Maloney himself, who had already picked up the award for FIA Rookie of the Year on the previous Friday at the FIA Gala. This time he was collecting his runner-up trophy for the Championship.
“We started off pretty rough at the start of the season, many mistakes from my side and a few unlucky moments. But we turned it around, Giacomo did a really good job and all the engineers and mechanics at Trident. We turned it around and had an amazing end to the season so overall, a lot learned.”
As far as comeback drives go, Zak O’Sullivan’s effort in the Budapest Feature Race was the obvious winner of the Dallara Award for Best Comeback in 2022. The Carlin driver made a storming drive through the field in the final laps after gambling on a swap to slick tyres on a wet but gradually drying track. It rewarded him with P4 from P22 that Sunday and a trophy at the Prize Giving Ceremony.
The Briton was beaming as he received his award and said that the decision was spur of the moment. “We were originally going to start the race on the slicks but about five minutes before the start on the grid, the rain came and that put that out of the question. Then about halfway through the race I saw Juan Manuel Correa pit behind me, then I made the call to my engineer, and it turned out to be the correct call.”
On stage to present the final Dallara Award of the evening, Dallara CEO and General Manager Andrea Pontremolli welcomed the boy from Barbados up one final time. Maloney was the recipient of Best Rookie in F3 after his runner-up finish in the Championship and three Feature Race wins. After a video montage of all of Maloney’s best races, passes and moments, the Barbadian paid tribute to his team for all their work throughout the 2022 campaign.
“Like I said earlier, I made a few mistakes at the beginning. I didn't keep the car on track as much as I should have and gave the team a lot of work. But once we found our stride, we were able to do a great job for the rest of the year. Of course, it's all down to Trident for giving me the package each weekend and I just had to go out there and drive as fast as I can, which worked out well.”
Finally, it was time to acknowledge our Champions of 2022, with PREMA Racing Team Principal Rene Rosin taking to the stage to accept the Championship trophy on behalf of the Italian team. This year was the third title for the team in four years of F3, an incredible achievement.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was on stage to present the trophy for the Drivers’ Championship to Rosin, with the PREMA boss adding that it was a proud achievement to win for the third time. “It’s been an amazing season,” he said. “Thanks to our drivers, engineers and mechanics for another memorable season. We missed the Drivers’ Championship only at the last round but we’re proud to have won back the Teams’ Championship that we lost last year.”
On stage to present the final award, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem paid tribute to all of the drivers and how they handled the pressures of racing in what he called one of the most competitive Championships in racing.
“The connection that they have and just the feeling of how they go through all of the process at that young age is just incredible. We are also blessed that there is so much now in the technology that drivers, yes, they are younger than before, but they stay longer. At the start of the Formula 2 and Formula 3 Season, nobody predicted who would be the winner. So really, I would like to say to everyone here, it's the night of the Champions, enjoy it.”
Finally, it was time for Victor Martins to take to the stage and accept the trophy for winning the 2022 Drivers’ Championship. The Frenchman received the loudest ovation from his ART Grand Prix team as he held the trophy aloft over his head.
“To go to the last race and to know that there were seven drivers that could take the title is something quite painful and stressful I would say. It was a nice season, enjoyable with ART, without them I wouldn’t be standing here with the trophy. I’m proud of them and myself for what I have done, now it’s time to focus on next season.”
Presented with a cheque from Pirelli for his title success, Pirelli Motorsport Director Mario Isola joked that the prize money would in fact be going to incoming Ferrari Team Principal for 2023, Frederic Vasseur, sat in the front row.
The new Maranello boss handed back the reward to Martins, who juggled his trophy and cheque for a photo opportunity to wrap up a special night of festivities and celebration involving all of the Formula 2 and 3 family.