The FIA Formula 3 campaign returns for Round 2 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, but what should you be watching out for this weekend?
PREMA VS HITECH
Hitech Grand Prix were the closest challengers to PREMA’s dominance last season, and this was borne out once again in the opening round of 2020, with the two teams taking a win a piece.
With two experienced challengers, and an exciting rookie, Hitech have arguably the strongest squad of the field on paper, but PREMA’s exciting rookie duo, backed by second-year Logan Sargeant, proved they are just as capable.
You suspect they’ll be battling at the front once again in Round 2, with the opportunity to throw down a gauntlet in the title race. They won’t just need race wins though, both sides will require all three of their talented trios to score high to gain an advantage in the Championship.
David Beckmann has settled back into life with Trident pretty sweetly. The German looks more at ease in the familiar surroundings of the Italian garage and displayed this with some positive performances out on track, topping Free Practice.
Qualifying and the races were a little trickier, finishing in P7 for both Qualifying and Race 1. Add in his P4 finish in Race 2 though, and he already has plenty of points on the board.
If he can find the speed he showed in Free Practice, and translate this into even stronger race pace, then we could see the German’s true colours this season, after a tough 2019.
NEW NAMES TO SHINE?
We saw plenty of strong rookie performances in the opening round of the season, with the likes of race winner Oscar Piastri and podium finisher Clement Novalak both shining on their debuts, but who will step up in Round 2?
Frederik Vesti enjoyed a solid first round, scoring fourth and sixth, but will be gunning for at least a top three finish in Round 2. Alex Smolyar also impressed in Round 1, while 17-year-old Roman Stanek was strong in both Free Practice and Qualifying. The Czech driver is the youngest on the grid and looks like an exciting talent.
FERNANDEZ FIGHTS BACK
Sebastian Fernandez’s Round 1 woes have been well documented, with the Spaniard qualifying first, only to crash out on lap 1 of the race. No one in the paddock will be hungrier than he is this weekend, with the Spaniard determined to make amends.
If he can drive like he did in Race 2, when he made his way from last to 13th, then you’d be brave to bet against him nabbing a podium, at very least.
It remains to be seen how much difference, if any, remaining out in Spielberg for a second round will make. You imagine it will play a part in confidence though.
Teams and drivers who performed around the Red Bull Ring in Round 1 will be assured of their pace and abilities around the circuit, and it will perhaps allow drivers to push the limits a little bit harder than they normally would.