The second of three back-to-back race weekends this season, Round 7 of the Formula 3 season takes place from the always popular Silverstone circuit.
With another two races coming in July, time is quickly running out to stake a claim in the Championship fight, while others will be aiming to hit their best form of the season before the summer break.
Here is everything you need to know about Round 7 and the Silverstone race weekend.
THE FORM BOOK
Who can stop Gabriel Bortoleto? The Trident driver is in serious form at the moment and arrives at Silverstone with a healthy 36-point advantage over his closest rival Josep María Martí. The Brazilian has been a consistent points scorer all season long, with only one non-score all year.
Martí will be aiming to replicate his Barcelona weekend in order to close down the gap as quickly as possible to the leader. The Campos Racing driver is now on 75 points. Dino Beganovic’s top five finish and fastest lap in the Feature Race has put him level on points with the Spaniard in third position.
Zak O’Sullivan was a Feature Race winner for the first time in his Formula 3 career. The PREMA driver was a stand-out performer last weekend in Spielberg, and arrives at Silverstone full of confidence. He’s now fourth in the Standings on 73 points but could be on the up, considering his knowledge of the circuit and pole-winning performance with Rodin Carlin last year around the British circuit.
Gabriele Minì rounds out the top five in the Drivers’ Championship. The Italian secured P2 in the Spielberg Sprint Race last weekend but was an early retirement in the Feature after first-lap contact. The Hitech Pulse-Eight driver is on 65 points, tied with sixth-placed Paul Aron.
PREMA Racing has broken the 200-point barrier and now leads with 213 following two wins out of two in Spielberg. Closest challengers Trident are on 171, 49 points clear of Hitech Pulse-Eight who are now on 128 in third.
FROM THE GRID - Zak O'Sullivan, PREMA Racing
“I enjoy racing around Silverstone, it’s my home circuit and one I enjoy driving. British drivers are quite lucky that we have quite a nice circuit as our home race, I really enjoy it. In general, the high-speed nature of the corners make it so special. Copse, Maggotts and Becketts and then up to Stowe is probably the best sequence on the calendar. In the races, it’s quite good. The DRS zones are quite powerful and it’s hard to break away, last year the racing was good and it’s really enjoyable to drive over one lap too.
“I think the main overtaking spot is into Stowe but it’s also possible into Turn 3 and into Brooklands. Those are the three main overtaking spots, they’re all pretty possible as long as you have the pace. Tyre deg was a mixture last year, some people struggled, some people didn’t. We’re on the hard compound so you can push throughout the majority of the race, only the last couple of laps is when you’ll lose one of the axles on the car, but it wasn’t as bad in 2022 as I thought it might have been.
“I don’t know what it is about it, it’s just a lot nicer. There’s less travel in order to get to the track but also it feels like home. I’ve got quite a lot of experience of Silverstone from other categories, so I just feel at home when I’m at Silverstone. It’s a very British weekend on my part, there’s a lot of anticipation coming from the Williams side, they’re hoping for a good result, as am I. It’s a really nice weekend and a celebration of British motorsport.”
While the circuit layout means there is a great demand placed on the tyres, the lack of heavy braking and major traction zones means the hard compound Pirelli tyres are well equipped to deal with those demands, providing the car setup is nicely balanced.
Those high-speed corners mean the downforce requirements are subsequently high, and drivers will have to balance the car in order to have strong one-lap pace but a car that can handle the tyres over a full race distance too. Drivers that are able to nurse the tyres during the Sprint and Feature Races will likely be rewarded with points if others hit trouble with tyre degradation.
With so many flat-out sections, fuel consumption is also relatively high compared to other circuits on the calendar. Such a large percentage of the lap is spent on throttle. Braking is less of a problem, with fewer heavy braking zones to deal with courtesy of such a flowing track layout.
The white-walled hard Pirelli tyres will be in action this weekend around one of the most demanding circuits on the 2023 F3 calendar. Tyre management will be critical this weekend with so many high-speed corners putting a lot of energy through the Pirelli rubber. Those that are able to extract the laptime without overstraining the hard tyres will be rewarded, while others may hit trouble with higher levels of tyre wear and a subsequent loss of pace.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“Silverstone’s fast corners make it one of the toughest tracks for the tyres, and it’s for this reason that the P Zero White hard tyre is nominated for Formula 3, just as in previous years. This is a compound that the teams and drivers are very familiar with: it’s the only one that has remained the same for this year, and has already been used in Sakhir, Melbourne and Barcelona this season. So the drivers should be confident to race each other hard, but the demands of Silverstone are such that a degree of tyre management will still be necessary. Like always, the weather also has the potential to complicate the weekend.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Gabriele Minì can solve a Rubiks Cube in quick order. The Italian driver’s personal best is under just 10 seconds.