The FIA Formula 3 Championship springs back into action this week just over a fortnight after the first pre-season outing of the 2021 campaign at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. The on-track action resumes tomorrow at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, as the 30-strong field eagerly continue to gear up for the 21-race season ahead.

The two days of track time in Spain will not only give the teams and drivers the chance to set their learnings from Austria in motion but also the valuable opportunity to put the F3 machinery to the test at the circuit that will host the 2021 season opener in May.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Running from Wednesday, 21 April to Thursday, 22 April, the two days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona will be split into a morning and afternoon session with a total of 12 hours of track time available.

The morning session on both days will run from 9am until 12pm (local time). The afternoon testing window on Wednesday will open at 2pm and run until 5pm (local time) while on Thursday the session will start at 1pm and finish at 4pm.

Teams will be testing their cars on Pirelli’s P Zero hard tyres, the same compound that the drivers will race on at the opening round in Barcelona next month.

Smolyar broke the F3 track record in Spielberg in the first pre-season test

THE STORY SO FAR

The second of two official pre-season tests for the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship gets underway at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona tomorrow, after an action-packed outing in Spielberg earlier this month which saw rookie Ciao Collet set a new lap record despite some inclement weather in the Austrian hills.

Expectations for the 2021 season were set high at the opening pre-season test at the Red Bull Ring, with no fewer than four drivers setting new Formula 3 lap records at the circuit. In fact, over the course of the two days, a staggering 22 drivers topped the previous lap record of 1:19.396 set by Marcus Armstrong in Round 3 of the 2019 season.

While it was MP Motorsport rookie and Alpine Academy member Collet who took home the fastest lap time overall, smashing Armstrong’s previous record by eight tenths, he was not the only driver who shone at the Red Bull Ring.

ART Grand Prix’s Alex Smolyar got testing off to a flying start and was the first to break the existing record on Day 1, topping the timesheets for the opening day with a 1:18.894. Calan Williams, who retains his seat at Jenzer Motorsport for a second season, then went marginally quicker on the morning of Day 2, snatching the record from Smolyar by just five hundredths.

Collet set the fastest lap overall at the pre-season test in Spielberg

As the weather improved in the afternoon of Day 2, a Qualifying run saw the record time beaten once more by Hitech Grand Prix’s Jak Crawford. Not only did the Red Bull junior’s flying lap briefly set a new track record, but it also earned the rookie P3 overall. However, it was Collet who rounded out the weekend with a blistering time of 1:18.592, going quickest across the two days and breaking the record for the fourth time.

The twelve hours of running at the sunny Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona will give the teams and drivers a chance to put the hard compound Pirelli tyres through their paces after a cold, and briefly snowy, two-day stint on the mediums in Spielberg. It will also offer them valuable preparation time ahead of the season opener which will see the grid return to the Circuit de Catalunya for the first three races of the 2021 campaign on 7 – 9 March.

DRIVERTEAM
1Dennis HaugerPREMA Racing
2Arthur Leclerc
3Olli Caldwell
4Jack DoohanTrident
5Clément Novalak
6David Schumacher
7Frederik VestiART Grand Prix
8Alex Smolyar
9Juan Manuel Correa
10Jak CrawfordHitech Grand Prix
11Ayumu Iwasa
12Roman Stanek
14Matteo NanniniHWA RACELAB
15Oliver Rasmussen
16Rafael Villagomez
17Victor MartinsMP Motorsport
18Caio Collet
19Tijmen van der Helm
20László TóthCampos Racing
21Lorenzo Colombo
22Amaury Cordeel
23Ido CohenCarlin Buzz Racing
24Kaylen Frederick
25Jonny Edgar
26Calan WilliamsJenzer Motorsport
27Pierre-Louis Chovet
28Filip Ugran
29Logan SargeantCharouz Racing System
30Michael Belov
31Reshad de Gerus