With the FIA Formula 3 Championship starting this weekend in Barcelona, what more could you need than a quick stop guide with everything you might need to tune into the opening rounds in Spain.
What is Formula 3?
In 2019, the FIA Formula 3 Championship launch dived into our lives, an ambitious new project from the FIA and the former GP3 Series Organisation to form another step in the Road To F1 ladder. The series combines the GP3 and European F3 to create an entry point for young talent on their path to join their inspirations in the paddock and get to the top. Success in this series can lead to making the step up to FIA Formula 2, which happens under the watchful eye of the F1 paddock on race weekends.
As the championship is a spec series, all teams compete with an identical Dallara F3 2019 chassis and three tyre compounds developed by Pirelli, designed to provide the most suitable compound for every circuit. Each car will be powered by a 3.4L naturally aspirated V6 engine, which Mecachrome has developed.
Format – Schedule
The FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 Championships have had a huge format change for the 2021 Season due to Covid-19 and cost-cutting reasons. This year, the two series will alternate race weekend appearances rather than both series supporting the Formula 1 races. Both the series will host three races per weekend, with a single feature and two sprint events. Practice and qualifying take place on Friday, and Race 1 and 2 on Saturday. Race 1’s grid is set by reversing the top 12 finishers of Friday’s Qualifying session. Race 2 will be determined by reversing the top 12 finishers of Saturday’s Race 1. The final classification of Fridays Qualifying sets race 3’s grid – I promise it will get less confusing the more you watch. This means that managing the weekend as a whole to maximise points becomes crucial.
More races in a weekend mean fewer tracks, with only 7 different destinations being confirmed for this year’s calendar.
8-9 May – Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya
26-27 June – Circuit Paul Ricard
3-5 July – Red Bull Ring
31-1 August – Hungaroring
28-29 August – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
4-5 September – Circuit Zandvoort
23-24 October – Circuit of the Americas
Both Zandvoort and COTA are making its FIA Formula 3 Debut for the 2021 season.
Who To Watch Out For
A few graduates made the step up to Formula 2 for the 2021 season, but some familiar names remain. Mercedes Junior Fredrik Vesti had 3 race wins and had consistent results giving him a solid fourth in the championship standings in his rookie season. He also has the Formula Regional European title to his name, and I definitely believe he could be one of the fastest drivers on the grid this year.
Arthur Leclerc will make the step up to F3 this year from FREC after narrowly missing out on the title, this F3 season will be his fourth single-seater racing series, and he’s yet to finish out of the top five of any of them. This season, the Ferrari Driver Academy Member will drive for Prema Racing with Dennis Hauger and Olli Caldwell.
One of the main stories of this year’s FIA Formula 3 Championship is Juan Manuel Correa’s return to single-seater racing after his tragic accident at Spa-Francorchamps in 2019. In the last year, he has documented his recovery from fractures to both of his legs and a minor spinal injury. In an Instagram Live on the F3 page this morning, Correa says he “feels great” when you see just how far he has come and that the “rehab has kept improving and improving.” He tells his fans how he “didn’t come here to win this championship” and how his return is more about transitioning back into motorsport. The American driver has dreamed of being an F1 driver since he was 7 years old, and says “that’s still my dream, and that’s why I’m here in F3.”
Regardless of JM’s results on return, one thing is for sure; it will be a heartwarming moment for motorsport fans and everyone involved in the sport.
How To Watch
Sky Sports F1 broadcasts the FIA Formula 3 Championship in the UK as part of its Formula 1 package. Highlights of the series are available on the official F1c channel over the race weekend.