The Northamptonshire countryside in the United Kingdom hosts the paddock this weekend for Round 4 of the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

WHEN TO WATCH All times local (GMT +1)

Friday Free Practice: 09:35 – 10:20 Qualifying: 14:05 – 14:35 Press conference: 17:45

Saturday Feature race: 09:25 (20 laps) Press conference: 10:25

Sunday Sprint race: 08:45 (20 laps)

THE STORY SO FAR

Three incredible opening rounds in the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship have seen five different victors from four separate teams. We also saw this season’s first double winner in Budapest when Théo Pourchaire won Race 1, before David Beckmann took his first F3 victory in Race 2.

It was Beckmann who set the pace during Friday’s Free Practice session, topping the timesheets in his Trident machine for the second time this season. Qualifying at the Hungaroring was another matter however, and in challenging track conditions ART’s Alex Smolyar beat all challengers for his maiden pole position.

The track was still damp on Saturday for the first race of the weekend, and there was drama right from the off. Pourchaire, the Championship’s youngest ever race winner at 16-years-old, showed composure beyond his years to grab the race lead after a collision between Smolyar and Logan Sargeant in front. The Frenchman forged ahead, building a gap and coming home first to make it back-to-back race wins. Championship leader Oscar Piastri finished second, with Sargeant third.

Wet weather returned for Sunday’s action, and although Beckmann began on reverse pole, MP Motorsport’s Bent Viscaal had no problem finding the grip to launch from P8 to take the lead. The Dutchman’s pace was incredible, but two mistakes eventually saw him penalised by the stewards and he tumbled down the order. Beckmann took the top step of the podium, joined by Piastri in second once again. Dennis Hauger grabbed his first Formula 3 podium in third place.

THE CHALLENGERS

Piastri (76 pts) has pulled ahead in the Drivers’ Championship after another strong weekend, 26 points clear of the four drivers behind who are separated by just five points. Sargeant (50) is second, with Pourchaire (48) climbing to third. Beckmann (47.5) is in fourth, while Richard Verschoor (45) is fifth.

PREMA Racing (163.5 pts) have extended their lead in the Teams’ Championship, ahead of Trident (83.5) in second. 53 points from Hungary sees ART Grand Prix (81) climb to third. MP Motorsport (60) also move up into fourth place, with Hitech Grand Prix (44) slipping to fifth.

Popular with fans and drivers alike, Silverstone, famed for its high speeds, fast corners and long straights, plays host to Round 4 of the championship. With 30 cars set to battle it out around the former airfield on Pirelli’s hard compound tyre, we should be in for another thrilling instalment of F3 action.

FROM THE GRID – MAX FEWTRELL (HITECH GRAND PRIX)

“First of all, Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks to drive, and I think a lot of drivers would agree with me about that too. Plus, with it being a home race for me, it makes it that extra bit special.

“The circuit has been good to me, and my favourite memory here would be from 2018, when I took pole position and won the Formula Renault Eurocup race in front of my family and friends. I set the fastest lap too.

“As far as challenges go, I think that Silverstone has got a good mixture of low and high-speed corners, and to nail a lap around here is very tricky. As a result, it is very rewarding when you do it. Tyre management is always a part of the race and something to consider at most tracks, and Silverstone is no different. As drivers, we just have to manage it according to whatever situation we find ourselves in the race.

“I think there’s likely to be a lot of action after the DRS zones. They always open up opportunities to overtake. The track is also very wide in places, such as Turn 3 and Turn 6, and this gives us a lot of room to play with when it comes to lines and planning an overtake.

“As always, the aim is to win, and it would be pretty special to do it at my home track. We have a few things to get right with the car, but I have full belief that we can achieve this.”

TYRE TALK – MARIO ISOLA (PIRELLI’S HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING)

“It’s been a very interesting start to the season in Formula 3. Moving onto another double-header, we have again looked to mix up the tyre nominations for each weekend to add an extra element of unpredictability. Due to the well-known severity of the Silverstone circuit, it’s not been possible to go any softer for F3, so we have the hard tyre for both weekends. This presents a challenge for the drivers in terms of lap preparation and higher ultimate performance.”

STAT PACK

  • The F3 race lap record at Silverstone is 1:45.692, set by Logan Sargeant with Carlin Buzz Racing in 2019.
  • The gap between Oscar Piastri and PREMA Racing teammate Logan Sargeant at the top of the Drivers’ Championship is 26 points.
  • Three drivers have scored points in every race so far this season: Piastri, David Beckmann and Richard Verschoor.
  • Beckmann became the first German driver to win in FIA Formula 3 after his Race 2 win in Budapest.
  • With back-to-back victories in Spielberg and Budapest, Théo Pourchaire now has more FIA F3 wins than any other driver on the current grid.
  • Pourchaire has now led 29 laps so far this season, tied at the top with Hitech’s Liam Lawson.
  • The opening three rounds have seen six different drivers start from the front row in Race 1, including three different drivers starting from pole position.
  • 23-year-old Briton Ben Barnicoat will drive Carlin Buzz Racing’s 27 car this weekend, in place of Enaam Ahmed.
  • MP Motorsport’s Lukas Dunner will start three places further back in Race 1, after being given a grid drop penalty for making contact with Cameron Das in Budapest Race 2.
  • Going into Round 4, 12 different drivers have stood on the podium this season.