In the five seasons of FIA Formula 3, Trident are the only team to have stopped PREMA Racing from being crowned the Teams’ Champions. They did this back in 2021, but since then they have finished as the runners-up to their Italian rivals.

However, they are coming off a 2023 campaign where they produced a car that helped rookie Gabriel Bortoleto lift the first Drivers’ title in their F3 history.

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With the Brazilian’s graduation to Formula 2 and Oliver Goethe’s move to Campos Racing, they enter 2024 with a line-up consisting of the returning Leonardo Fornaroli and two rookies in Sami Meguetounif and Santiago Ramos.

All three drivers left the pre-season test in Bahrain with plenty of mileage under their belt and much better for the experience. But where does it leave them heading into the new campaign?

Trident spent the majority of their time on track in Sakhir focusing on long runs. They completed 329 laps in pre-season, which is an impressive tally considering how much rain limited running on the opening day.

Trident completed a lot of 329 laps in pre-season testing in Sakhir
Trident completed a lot of 329 laps in pre-season testing in Sakhir

This was a good way to get their rookies up to speed and accustomed to driving F3 machinery. It also ensured that all three drivers are as comfortable as possible when it comes to tyre management in Bahrain.

This is a track that is known for being incredibly hard on the tyres and it is a challenge they will face at the opening round of the season.

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Ramos in particular was incredibly busy completing a team-leading 117 laps across the three days, and Trident were more than happy with how he and Meguetounif performed at testing.

Their adaptation to a track that they had not driven at before impressed plenty including Team Manager Giaocomo Ricci, who talked about how Trident had prepared them for the challenges ahead.

“They performed quite well,” said Ricci. “They also have the experience of last year's post-season test. For both of them Bahrain was new, so they adapted very quickly. They worked very hard on the simulator to prepare them, so they were almost immediately up to speed.

Trident were impressed with the performance of their rookies Meguetounif and Ramos
Trident were impressed with the performance of their rookies Meguetounif and Ramos

“I am quite happy I have to say. We will see the real game in 15 days. It is too early to say anything. Track conditions will change, they will lay down the F1 rubber and as always during the race weekend it will change.”

Ramos and Meguetounif will also be able to lean on the experience of Fornaroli this year. The Italian driver is entering his second season in the Championship and his third consecutive campaign racing in Trident colours – having competed at the Formula Regional European Championship with them in 2022.

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He comes off the back of a rookie campaign that saw him score three podiums and place 11th in the Drivers’ Championship. The hope is that he can take a step forward this year and possibly push for the title, and the 116 completed laps in Sakhir would have done his chances no harm.

Asked whether there is a difference between the Fornaroli entering the 2024 season and the bright-eyed newcomer in 2023, Ricci replied: “He has grown up a lot. Physically and also mentally. I feel like he is more mature this season.

“He had a great rookie year for me, in his first attempt in Formula 3. He has matured a lot for me especially in the long runs compared to last year. Last year he struggled a little bit more, but I have to say the speed was always there.

Trident believe Fornaroli has grown physically and mentally from his rookie season
Trident believe Fornaroli has grown physically and mentally from his rookie season

“He has always been a good qualifier and I see him now performing well during the races, so I am quite happy about this. Of course, it is his second season, so his expectations are very high and that is the same for us.”

Expectations will always be high at Trident giving what they have achieved in F3, and while the team left Bahrain happy with their performance, when it comes to making predictions, they were all keen to keep their cards close to their chest.

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“I would love to have the magic ball to answer the question,” said Ricci when quizzed on where Trident rank in the hierarchy ahead of the season. “I think we have three good drivers. The level as always is very high. The competition is so strong so let's see.

“I don't want to say anything regarding the first weekend. The only thing I would like to add is that personally my target will be to qualify with three cars in the top 10 positions.”