The System 3 title challengers gunning for title glory this weekend
With eight rounds and 16 races accomplished, FIA System 3 will lastly attain its conclusion this weekend at Monza. However the championship is much from over, and with simply 25 factors separate the highest six, all the pieces remains to be to play for.
Prema driver Jak Crawford, in seventh, stays in mathematical competition, however a 36-point deficit to factors chief Victor Martins would require a turnaround of outstanding proportions to face an opportunity of scooping the crown.
It was a special story this time final yr, with far larger margins separating the title contenders. Dennis Hauger was 55 factors away from Jack Doohan, clinching the title after the Saturday dash race on the Sochi season finale, whereas Clement Novalak sat an additional 18 factors behind in third.
However with new names and a far nearer competitors, who seems to be set to emerge on high in F3 this season? Listed below are the highest six and their probabilities at clinching the highest prize.
Martins has led the factors for many of the season and comes into the finale with the sting
Picture by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Photographs
Wins: 2 (Bahrain, Barcelona options)
Common qualifying place: 7.5
If there’s anybody who ought to win the title, it is Victor Martins. In his second yr within the collection, the 21-year-old Frenchman led from the beginning of the season, placing in some spectacular performances in Bahrain and Spain to clinch characteristic race victories, and has six podiums to his identify thus far.
However the Alpine Academy junior has did not win a race for the reason that Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, albeit ending second 3 times. Isack Hadjar took the highest of the standings after the Hungaroring dash race, one among solely two rounds all yr the place Martins did not register a podium.
However regardless of a disastrous weekend at Spa, the place he failed to attain any factors after a lowly qualifying and dropped to 3rd within the standings, Martins was again on high after final weekend’s Zandvoort spherical with one other second place within the characteristic race.
Heading into the Monza weekend, the 2020 System Renault Eurocup champion mentioned qualifying was the “crucial second” for the title struggle, so will probably be trying to beat the sometimes chaotic site visitors points across the Italian circuit to say a primary pole of the yr for Sunday’s decider.
2. Isack Hadjar (Hitech GP)
Crimson Bull junior Hadjar has made a wonderful impression in his rookie F3 marketing campaign
Picture by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool
Wins: 3 (Bahrain, Silverstone sprints, Crimson Bull Ring characteristic)
Common qualifying place: 8.62
Factors deficit: 5
The star rookie, System Regional European graduate Isack Hadjar has had a formidable season to say the least. Hailed by Christian Horner and Helmut Marko as the subsequent massive factor, the 17-year-old Crimson Bull junior induced waves from the off after successful the opening dash race of the season in Bahrain when Oliver Bearman was issued a post-race penalty for observe limits.
Regardless of having a yr much less expertise within the collection and being 4 years his compatriot’s junior, Hadjar has confidently taken the struggle to Martins all season and scored extra wins courtesy of Silverstone dash and Crimson Bull Ring characteristic successes – each instances prevailing over Martins. At Silverstone, Hadjar stole the win with a cross on the penultimate lap.
Regardless of the final result of this spicy title battle, and even when he would not declare a primary automotive racing title of his profession, Hadjar has confirmed to be greater than deserving of an FIA System 2 seat subsequent season.
3. Roman Stanek (Trident)
Stanek has come to the fore in his third yr of F3 and is the better-placed of Trident’s two title contenders
Picture by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Photographs
Wins: 1 (Imola characteristic)
Common qualifying place: 5.25
Factors deficit: 17
In his third season of F3, Stanek has had a slower rise to the highest than his opponents. Ending twenty first in 2020 with Charouz earlier than enhancing to sixteenth with Hitech final yr, this has been his first actual run on the title for the Czech who had simply two podiums to indicate for his first two seasons within the class.
Stanek might need solely gained one race this yr, making a late transfer on Bearman to win at Imola, however he has proven spectacular consistency. The 18-year-old has completed exterior the highest 12 simply 3 times, two of which had been in Bahrain when he suffered punctures.
Though he has a 17-point deficit to make up, Monza is an unpredictable circuit and a return to his early season qualifying kind – by no means exterior the highest two throughout the primary three rounds – may see Stanek make good headway into that hole.
4. Ollie Bearman (Prema)
Bearman broke his duck at Spa after a number of near-misses, however a tricky weekend at Zandvoort has harm his title prospects
Picture by: Ferrari
Wins: 1 (Spa dash)
Common qualifying place: 7.37
Factors deficit: 21
One other stellar rookie, Bearman has outshone his teammates – and far of the grid – within the second half of the season, producing an excellent run of outcomes culminating in a double podium at Spa regardless of having by no means pushed on the Belgian circuit earlier than.
The Ferrari Drivers’ Academy junior joined Prema because the reigning Italian and ADAC F4 champion and began as he meant to go on. He crossed the road first within the opening dash race of the season in Bahrain earlier than a observe limits penalty demoted him to second behind Hadjar, and has clocked up 5 extra podiums together with that Spa triumph.
The Briton says he began his first F3 season with none expectations, however he certainly has exceeded no matter his objectives might need been – having outperformed each Martins and Hadjar in qualifying. Though a disappointing Zandvoort weekend that yielded no factors resulted in a 22-point swing to Martins, Bearman nonetheless leads the Prema trio (towards second-year drivers Arthur Leclerc and Jak Crawford) and is more likely to be the crew’s highest finisher.
No matter Bearman does subsequent yr, he is actually made a mark in F3.
The in-form Maloney has gained each of the final two characteristic races at Spa and Zandvoort, and is the yr’s high qualifer
Picture by: System Motorsport Ltd
Wins: 2 (Spa, Zandvoort options)
Common qualifying place: 4.5
Factors deficit: 24
The boy from Barbados has additionally had a unbelievable rookie season, regardless of solely scoring factors in half of the 16 races held up to now and retiring 4 instances.
A kind of got here at Spa within the greatest accident of the season, when he flipped after contact with Oliver Goethe at Blanchimont. After miraculously strolling away, the 2019 British System 4 champion got here again preventing the next day to win after a battle with Caio Collet, proving the 19-year-old has actual guts.
Hadjar’s teammate in System Regional European final season repeated the feat at Zandvoort every week later, passing Martins earlier than enduring two security automotive restarts to take victory. He may have additionally taken a win within the Imola characteristic race had he not spun out of the lead on the protection automotive restart.
Given Trident’s standing because the groups’ title winner from 2021, with Doohan and Novalak often to be discovered close to the sharp finish of the grid, it is unsurprising that two of its drivers sit within the high six. However Maloney could also be shocked to be one among them given his relative inexperience in comparison with third-year man Stanek. He’s additionally the one driver thus far this yr to take two collection poles – a formidable feat given the energy of the sector – and has the very best qualifying common of any of the highest contenders.
If he would not handle to overturn his 24-point deficit and returns subsequent season, Maloney will certainly be one to observe for the title.
6. Arthur Leclerc (Prema)
Leclerc’s second season with Prema hasn’t hit the heights many anticipated, together with his qualifying kind leaving him a lot to do within the races
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Photographs
Wins: 1 (Silverstone characteristic)
Common qualifying place: 11.25
Factors deficit: 25
Given Prema’s dominance of FIA F3, having claimed all three titles since 2019 with Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri and Dennis Hauger, it was anticipated that its 2022 contingent would shine. However few would have anticipated in the beginning of the yr that Leclerc would not be heading its highly-rated trio.
Additionally a Ferrari Drivers’ Academy member, the Monegasque driver has struggled in qualifying and landed up exterior the highest 10 on 4 events – beginning twentieth or decrease 3 times. His solely win thus far got here from his finest qualifying of the yr, second, at Silverstone.
Leclerc sat second within the standings after a promising first two rounds, yielding second and fourth from 14th and twenty first respectively, and once more was Martins’ closest challenger after Silverstone. However his championship aspirations have been harm by harder qualifying runs at Spa and Zandvoort which meant he was unable to attain in both characteristic race.
Nonetheless, a podium at Monza whereas racing in System Regional European in 2020 proves the youthful Leclerc brother’s prowess on the observe. With a 25-point hole to Martins, the title is inside attain – however solely simply.
Leclerc has a mountain to climb to maintain his F3 title hopes alive at Monza and can hope for a repeat of his Silverstone success
Picture by: Ferrari