The FIA Formula 3 campaign returns for Round 8 at Monza in Italy, but what should you be watching out for this weekend?
THE DRIVERS’ TITLE FIGHT
The Championship lead changed hands twice in Round 8, as Oscar Piastri briefly usurped teammate Logan Sargeant in the standings. His time on top didn’t last though, as Sargeant fought back admirably to reclaim it in Race 2.
For two rounds in a row just a single point separated them, and even now, there’s only seven between them – it’s excruciatingly tight. They are both showing title-winning qualities. Sargeant has been aided by his impressive one-lap pace, which has handed him a strong starting place in each of the last few rounds – he scored three pole positions in a row between Silverstone and Barcelona.
Piastri has made things a little more difficult for himself, as he hasn’t been the strongest qualifier by his own admission, but his racecraft has been arguably one of the best on the grid.
With just two rounds of the campaign to go, it will be an intense battle between the two. Whoever can get the closest to pulling it all together, will be the victor.
Of course, if Sargeant enjoys a perfect weekend, and results go his way, then it could be all over come Sunday afternoon… But where would be the fun in that?
PREMA Racing will almost certainly win the Teams’ title in Round 8. In fact, they will more than likely win it in Race 1, given that they only need a 142 point advantage at the end of Saturday to clinch it. They currently have a 188-point buffer.
The fact that they’ll take the title in their home country will make the feat even more special, and it’ll certainly be cause for celebration.
THE BATTLE FOR THIRD
The battle for first is tight – there’s no doubt about that – but the battle for third in the Drivers’ Championship is even closer. Just half a point separates David Beckmann from Liam Lawson, with the Trident man on 111.5 and the Hitech Grand Prix racer on 111. There is almost, quite literally, nothing between them.
Trident are likely to excel in Monza, having looked good on the long straights all year, but Hitech have been consistent since Silverstone and will fancy their chances as well.
We got a glimpse of the tow in Spa, with a queue of drivers lining up behind one another jostling for track position, but the potential benefits are even greater in Monza – it could be worth at least a couple of tenths.
The battle to gain a tow – when a driver attempts to slipstream the car in-front - could result in a chaotic Qualifying session on Friday. We saw it in Italy last season, when a number of drivers were given penalties for infringements caused while trying this very tactic.
The grid will be well aware of this fact, and will be cautious not to overstep the mark – but, that doesn’t mean they won’t try their luck.