Brits in the Spotlight: FIA Formula 3 Championship
In the run up to this weekend’s Formula 1 Lenovo British Grand Prix at Silverstone, we’re shining a light on some of Britain’s brightest stars set to battle it out on a packed support race schedule at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’.
Next up is the FIA Formula 3 Championship, an established third rung of the ‘Road to F1’ ladder and an opportunity for the stars of tomorrow to impress the sport’s top brass in their own back yard, formed as a result of a merger between GP3 and European F3 in 2019.
Featuring 30 identical Dallara F3 2019 machines, powered by a 3.4-litre Mecachrome engine delivering 380 HP and running on controlled Pirelli slick and wet tyres, the series spans 18 races on the support bill at nine Grand Prix events, including Silverstone this weekend, and boasts some of Britain’s brightest stars on the single seater pathway.
The first of those, Oliver Bearman, is one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the UK in recent years. A prolific championship winner in karting at both domestic and international level, the Ferrari junior burst onto the single seater scene in 2020, winning races in both the German and Italian Formula 4 Championships.
He returned to both series with Van Amersfoort Racing in 2021, storming to both championship titles with 26 podiums – including 17 wins – from 39 starts. That, plus a race-winning cameo in GB3, paved the way for his graduation to FIA Formula 3 with powerhouse Prema. A podium on debut in Sakhir further highlighted his potential, and the 17-year-old will be one to watch, not just this weekend, but in years to come.
The second, Williams F1 junior Zak O’Sullivan, is another Brit to have enjoyed a silverware-laden rise through the ranks in recent times.
The 17-year-old made his single seater bow with Carlin in British F4 back in 2020’s pandemic-hit campaign and finished the season as vice-champion with 18 podiums, including 9 wins, from 26 starts. He was denied the title by a mere 4 points.
Sticking with Carlin for 2021, O’Sullivan moved up into GB3 and dominated. O’Sullivan finished over 150 points clear of his nearest rival and, although his start to life in FIA Formula 3 has been something of a rollercoaster, he remains one of the UK’s foremost single-seater young talents.
Two points finishes to-date have highlighted the Gloucestershire teenager’s potential as he and Carlin continue to develop their way towards the front of the grid.
Last, but certainly no means least, is the welcome return of Jonny Edgar. Forced onto the sidelines earlier this year after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, the 18-year-old has recovered sufficiently to return to action on home turf, his first outing since the season opener in Bahrain.
If Edgar, a serial title winner in karting and the 2020 ADAC F4 champion, can get back up to speed quickly, he will certainly be a force to reckon with at the front of the field.
FIA Formula 3 is due to hit the track four times across the Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone, starting with a 45-minute practice session at 09:35 (BST) on Friday, then a 30-minute qualifying session at 14:35 later that day.
The top 12 qualifiers from that session are reversed to form the grid for Saturday’s opening race at 09:55 on Saturday but will start with the fastest at the front for Sunday’s curtain call at 08:35.
In the opening race, points are awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to tenth. For the second race, the standard FIA points scale of 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 is used. Every session is live on Sky Sports F1.