With no fewer than 16 rookies joining the grid for 2020, as well as some seriously strong returning talent, Formula 3 fans will be able to feast their eyes on some enthralling new intra-team battles this season.
Who will best handle the balancing act of remaining harmonious in the garage, while battling tooth and nail on the track? We’ve delved through the varying different partnerships, taking experience, youth, and the influence of Formula 1 driver academies into consideration to select three of the most interesting potential battles.
Oscar Piastri vs Frederik Vesti
Where else to start than last season’s title winning outfit? With all three of their 2019 drivers earning seats in Formula 2, the Italian side start with a clean slate in 2020. All of their 2020 recruits have been expectedly tipped for the title, but we’ve opted for the rookie duo as the hottest rivalry of the three to look out for.
The duo step onto the Road to F1 as champions, with Oscar Piastri taking the Formula Renault Eurocup title, and Frederik Vesti the Formula Regional European Championship. Both will want to make their marks on F3 by proving they were the stronger champion.
Sitting in title-winning machinery, there will be lofty expectations of the duo to prove themselves from the off, especially up against the experience of second-year Logan Sargeant.
Vesti will posses a minor advantage, having raced for the team at the Macau Grant Prix back in 2019, where he surprised with an impressive 10th place finish around the toughest track on the planet. While, his tally of 13 wins and 20 podiums from 24 races in 2019 makes for pretty remarkable reading.
Meanwhile, Piastri will benefit from the support of the Renault Driver Academy, on the back of a season where he won seven times and took 11 podiums in 19 races. Expect them both to get to grips with F3 sooner rather than later.
Max Fewtrell vs Liam Lawson
Hitech Grand Prix mean business. Having finished second to PREMA in the 2019 Teams’ Championship, they’ve pulled no punches in their recruitment for 2020. Pairing the second and third highest finishing returning racers from 2019 with Italian F4 champion Dennis Hauger.
Like at PREMA, all three will be expected to fight closely for the Championship, but it’s the experienced duo of Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson who could spark the most interesting battle of the three.
With a season of fighting it out against one another in the top ten, they’ll both be faced with the pressure of returning as known quantities and expected title challengers. No longer will they be afforded the defence of being in the midst of a rookie campaign.
There was next to nothing to separate the pair in the last campaign, with both securing two podiums on the way to 10th and 11th place finishes in the standings. It was Fewtrell who narrowly came out on top, with 57 points to Lawson’s 41.
Both are also backed by prestigious F1 driver academies, with Fewtrell on the books at Renault and Lawson with Red Bull. Heavy pressure indeed.
Enzo Fittipaldi vs Jack Doohan
HWA RACELAB’s Jake Hughes is the highest finishing returning driver from 2019 and with a season of F3 with German outfit behind him, will be expected to challenge for the title and add to his collection of race wins.
However, his teammates Enzo Fittipaldi and Jack Doohan could provide racing fans with a fascinating intra-team battle. The rookie duo come with racing pedigree and the pressure of their famous surnames, ensuring all eyes on them when racing begins.
The Mercedes-linked team have recruited the highly rated duo alongside the experience of Hughes with the aim of regularly challenging for podiums and wins this season, following their debut season at this level of racing.
Fittipaldi is the grandson of former F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi and joins on the back of finishing second in the Formula Regional European Championship. The Brazilian is a Ferrari junior and a former Italian F4 champion.
Meanwhile, Doohan’s famous surname comes from his father, Mick Doohan, who was a five-time MotoGP World Champion. The Aussie racer has opted for a career on four-wheels as opposed to two, and joins on the back of finishing second in F3 Asia. Doohan has lofty ambitions, already making it known that he wants to fight for wins and the title in his debut season.