There’s no time to rest as the FIA Formula 3 season is in full swing, with the Championship heading to Barcelona for the halfway mark of the 2023 campaign. Gabriele Minì was the driver to beat last time out in Monte Carlo, but Gabriel Bortoleto’s consistency sees him retain the top spot in the Drivers’ Championship.
How will the battle unfold on the return to familiar Spanish circuit? Here’s all you need to know ahead of Round 5’s action.
THE FORM BOOK
Two top six finishes around Monte Carlo ensure Gabriel Bortoleto retains his lead in the Standings on 73 points. However, Hitech Pulse-Eight's Gabriele Minì earned a clean sweep in the Feature Race by taking pole, victory and the fastest lap, closing the Trident driver’s advantage down to 17 points.
Despite dropping to third, Grégoire Saucy’s perfect record so far this season remains intact. The only driver to have scored points in every single race so far, third and 10th places last time out bump the ART Grand Prix driver up to 47 points, one point ahead of PREMA Racing rookie Dino Beganovic.
Rounding out the top six, Paul Aron and Josep María Martí are continuing to close up ground to the leading pack. Scoring his second podium of his maiden Formula 3 campaign, Aron moves up to fifth on 38 points, whilst the Monte Carlo Sprint Race victory keeps Martí only a point adrift of the Mercedes junior.
In the Teams’ Championship it’s advantage Trident. A first podium for Leonardo Fornaroli and Bortoleto’s back-to-back points finishes means the Italian squad remain ahead of their compatriots on 124 points to PREMA Racing’s 110. Hitech Pulse-Eight remain third but have broken the 100-point mark to sit only eight points off second place.
FROM THE GRID – Mari Boya, MP Motorsport
“Barcelona is the city I’ve been living in for four years and I’m also studying there. The weather is amazing, and the Spanish people are used to supporting a lot of drivers so I’m looking forward to it a lot because it’s my home country. I think we’ll have a lot of support, and I hope to have lots of friends and family there. Normally, they come to see this race because it’s our only race in Spain, so it’s really important to me.
“The track is just amazing! It’s a track where tyre degradation is super hard because of the hot temperatures that are normally there, but also because of the track itself. It has a lot of fast corners, and the last sector is a bit more technical and slow, so it has a lot of things that are really nice to drive on. The last sector is really hard on the left-hand tyres, and also through the long corners like Turns 3 or 9. At the end of the race when people start to suffer a bit with the tyre degradation, especially at the end of the straight, that’s where the proper opportunity is to overtake.”
Sticking with the compound used during in-season testing, the drivers will have the more durable, white-walled hard Pirelli tyres at their disposal. The Spanish circuit is known to be very demanding on the tyres and the removal of the final chicane will only amplify that, with higher average lap speeds carrying them through to the long main DRS straight out of the final corner. Last season, 2022 Champion Victor Martins seized the lead into the opening corner and kept his tyres in check to avoid the fronts falling off their performance cliff in the latter stages.
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director
“The race weekend in Barcelona will be the third time this season out of four rounds held so far that the Formula 3 drivers will have the P Zero White hard tyre available – after Bahrain and Melbourne. This is our usual selection for the Barcelona circuit which is one of the most demanding on tyres, and this year the lateral forces put through the tyres over a lap will increase with the removal of the chicane at the end of the lap. The Formula 3 teams and drivers got to experience this configuration during their recent in-season test at Barcelona, where they were running on the same hard compound, so they should have an idea of what to expect – though temperatures could be higher with the race weekend taking place seven weeks later.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Jenzer Motorsport are celebrating their 30th anniversary in motorsport this season. The Swiss team were founded by now-Team Principal Andreas Jenzer in 1993 to compete in the Formula Ford 1800 Zetec Championship and joined the Formula 3 grid for our inaugural season in 2019.
Since then, they’ve achieved one victory with Yuki Tsunoda in Monza (2019) and a further four podium finishes. Currently, Jenzer sit seventh in the Teams’ Standings with 12 points to their name.