Any PREMA Racing driver goes into an FIA Formula 3 campaign with great expectations considering the team’s historic level of success. This year is no different with the Italian team boasting four of the five Teams’ titles since the formation of the Championship in 2019.
So, Dino Beganovic, Gabriele Minì, and Arvid Lindblad have quite the act to follow, though any of the three could be a Champion by the end of 2024, such is the high standard between the trio and at the team in F3.
Beganovic is already well versed in how the team operates while Minì raced with PREMA earlier in his career. Now going into their second F3 campaigns, the duo is well placed to thrive in 2024. Lindblad arrives having impressed in Italian F4 last season, finishing up third overall with six race victories for the team’s F4 operation.
What does the new campaign hold for the three young chargers? Points, podiums and race victories each will hope.
THE SUPER QUICK SWEDE
While Beganovic was a regular presence inside the top 10, achieving 10 points scoring finishes in 2023, the Ferrari Driver Academy talent missed out on a maiden victory in Formula 3 last time out. Four podium finishes represent a solid platform from which to build from, but he will be under no illusions that he will have to step up to the plate in 2024 and secure wins for the team.
Beganovic started last year on the front foot, able to achieve three consecutive top five results including a maiden F3 rostrum visit in the Sakhir Feature Race. He was unlucky to lose out in a late-race battle with then teammate Paul Aron in the closing laps of the Melbourne Feature Race but bounced back with back-to-back podiums in the following two Feature Races.
There was just one more podium appearance though for Beganovic in 2023, taking P2 in the Budapest Feature Race, by which point Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto’s lead in the standings was well established.
Non scoring races in Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps dented his chances of a miraculous overhauling of his nearest rival, and sixth in the Drivers’ Championship means he has room for improvement this time around.
He will be hoping to emulate his exploits from Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine, where a learning season in 2021 gave way to a dominant title-winning campaign in 2022 before he earned promotion to F3.
Has Beganovic learned all he needs to in order to contend for the Drivers’ title this time around? The Ferrari junior was confident of that in post-season testing last year, eager to make his 2023 lessons count for more throughout the campaign.
NO SMALL THREAT
At one stage, Gabriele Minì appeared to be Bortoleto’s closest challenger for the Drivers’ crown last season, though a title charge never quite materialised for the Alpine Academy talent.
Minì was quick enough to contend for more race wins but small errors had big consequences in the following rounds. He secured his first F3 podium in the Melbourne Feature Race but wasn’t on the top step until the return to Europe and the Monte Carlo round.
His performance around the Principality was dominant, taking pole by over half a second from his closest rival and escaping far up the road in the Feature event. Still, he had a sizeable gap to overcome in order to catch Bortoleto. Driver and team errors in Barcelona and Spielberg left him just nine points better off after those four races and all but out of the title reckoning.
There is an air of untapped potential for Minì going into his second F3 campaign. He looks to be a driver that is capable of going on to much greater things this time having experienced the ups and downs of a rookie season. He’ll be mindful to keep himself out of trouble this time around and maximise the team’s pace at every available opportunity.
Like Beganovic and Lindblad, the Italian has prior experience racing for PREMA in other categories and was the Italian F4 Champion with the team back in 2020. That year, he finished every single race he saw the chequered flag inside the points-scoring positions. The 12 podiums and four race wins speak to the prospect of an incredible PREMA-Minì reunion.
THE UNKNOWN QUANTITY
Arvid Lindblad arrives in F3 after a solid campaign in 2023, finishing third overall in the Italian F4 Championship. The Red Bull Junior Team driver claimed six wins during the season and a further four podium finishes, his efforts to win the title ultimately thwarted by a late-season charge by new MP Motorsport signing, Kacper Sztuka.
Still, Lindblad has made a positive start to life at PREMA in F3, logging plenty of mileage during the three post-season tests last year at Jerez, Barcelona and Imola.
Following those appearances, he made his debut in Macau and was victorious in the prestigious F4 event. He won both the Qualifying and Main races, after taking pole position and securing the fastest lap in both events also.
He has also never finished outside of the top five in a Championship in which he has completed a full season in, giving him a tough target to hit in FIA F3 in his rookie season, though it would be hugely impressive should the Briton achieve the feat.
Lindblad is competing in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship ahead of pre-season testing as he looks to get up to speed as quickly as possible ahead of the new campaign. He has already been victorious once around the Yas Marina Circuit, but time will tell if he can translate success there into early season form in F3.