FIA Formula 3 CEO Bruno Michel looks back over another weekend of excellent racing and picks out his key topics from Round 5 in Budapest. He discusses the F1 junior programmes, the battle at the top of the Championship and the unique challenge of the Pirelli tyres.

Link to F1

There are a number of our drivers who are backed by Formula 1 teams as part of their academy programmes. Ferrari have Marcus Armstrong and Robert Shwartzman; Renault have Max Fewtrell, Christian Lundgaard and Ye Yifei, and Red Bull have Jüri Vips, Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda.

We had two of them on the top step of the podium in Round 5 – Lundgaard and Armstrong - and it is clear to see the influence that the F1 teams have, providing them with guidance and mentorship on their Road to F1. This is key to their development amongst the large roster of talent F3 possesses and it shows that the F1 teams rightly take our Championship seriously.

Tight at the top

The battle at the top of the Drivers’ Championship has really intensified following the weekend’s Round 5 action. Vips may have missed out on the podium marginally in both races, but he has now closed the gap between himself and Shwartzman to just 12 points going into the summer break, while, Jehan Daruvala is only eight more behind.

I’m also happy to note that ART Grand Prix, Hitech Grand Prix and HWA RACELAB have scored big points in Hungary, with the French team achieving a 1-2 finish in Race 1. PREMA Racing’s domination is getting more and more challenged.

This is a fantastic advert for the Championship and shows how competitive our drivers and teams are. I am eager to see how it plays out in Round 6 when we return.

Pirelli Tyres

Pirelli have done a great job so far this season in providing our drivers with tyres that are tricky to manage. The tyres have played a key role this year in how the races have panned out. Those who can master degradation will have the edge over their rivals in the closing laps and this makes for a great show. This is key in their motorsport education and will better prepare them for the next stages of their careers in F2, and ultimately, F1, where tyre management gets even more difficult. Most of all, it makes for great entertainment from start to finish.

Last weekend our drivers were provided with medium tyres, which if correctly managed, would take them to the end of the race and allow them to still overtake in the final laps. Jake Hughes was an excellent example of this, as he passed Vips in the closing stages of both Race 1 and Race 2. I look forward to seeing the drivers further develop this skill as the season progresses.