The FIA Formula 3 campaign has returned for Round 9 at Mugello in Italy, but what should you be watching out for this weekend?
THE DRIVERS’ TITLE DECIDER
A combined total of six different drivers could all mathematically win the F3 title this weekend, with PREMA’s Oscar Piastri currently leading the way with 160 points, eight ahead of Logan Sargeant.
Sixteen points further back is Théo Pourchaire in third, with Liam Lawson, David Beckmann and Frederik Vesti all capable of leapfrogging them if results go their way. Piastri and Sargeant have exchanged first and second between them for the majority of the campaign, but that’s not to say it will finish like that.
There is still so much to race for, and it will almost certainly go down to the wire.
As if the title fight wasn’t already spicy enough. The top 2, Piastri and Sargeant, both have grid drops carried over from Round 8 in Monza. The Australian will serve a five-place drop for forcing Beckmann off track, while the American will drop three places for causing a collision.
Their penalties could very well open the door for one of the other contenders to take pole and steal a march on them in Race 1.
Carlin’s Clément Novalak has also got a five-place drop for causing a separate collision.
PREMA Racing sealed the teams title in the penultimate round following a second season of dominance. Yet again, the Italian team have been phenomenally consistent all season, leading Trident by a mega tally of 202 points.
Having clinched the crown, Race 2 didn’t exactly go their way in Monza with all three drivers retiring, so they will want to fight back in the season finale and will have the bit between their teeth.
René Rosin’s side will want to close out the campaign in style, so don’t expect any let off.
A NEW TRACK
Mugello is certainly a driver’s circuit. It’s incredibly high speed, but extremely tight. As a one-lap challenge, it can be phenomenal to watch, even if it can be difficult to overtake on.
Realistically, the first corner is the best option for a move, after a long DRS straight, but F3 has already proven this season (see Budapest Race 2) that moves can and will be attempted in the most unlikely to places. Turns 10 to 12 can also be ripe for an overtake or two, if the drivers get it right.
Mugello is also not a track that anyone is used to, really. Most of the grid will have driven here at one point or another during their junior careers, but never in F3.