Browning leads F3 into Silverstone showdowns

Tuesday 02 July 2024

Providing the perfect pathway into Formula 1, the support race roster at this weekend’s Qatar Airways British Grand Prix features both FIA Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 stepping stones. Both grids star a number of highly promising young UK prospects with every chance of reaching the sport’s premier league in the next few years. Indeed, F2’s Ollie Bearman has already been given a chance to shine among the Grand Prix glitterati.

One step below F2, the fiercely-competitive FIA Formula 3 Championship gives the next generation of young British drivers a wonderful chance to shine on home ground.

It also gives talent-spotters among the crowd a brilliant opportunity to identify those en route to F1 stardom. It was only a few summers ago that the main F3 Feature Race at Silverstone was won by Liam Lawson with Oscar Piastri and Logan Sergeant also on the podium – all three now, of course, are points-scoring F1 drivers.

This year’s entry list is equally international and impressive. As an one-make championship consisting of 30 identical 380bhp single-seater chassis, it is super-competitive, too. Indeed eight different drivers shared the spoils in the opening eight races. Three drivers, however, have now doubled up and, encouragingly, two of those are from the UK.

Luke Browning, 22, leads the standings after his second victory – an impressive lights-to-flag win last Sunday at Speilberg. He first made his mark when capturing the 2020 British F4 Championship and then the 2022 GB3 Championship, and now is a member of the Williams Driver Academy.

“I’m super-excited to be leading the championship heading to Silverstone,” admitted Browning. “It’s my home event and Williams’ home event and I’ve got a bit of redemption from last year having made a mistake on my qualifying lap that cost me a good result on my first year there. Now I’ve got my eyes on pole position.”

Arvid Lindblad is the second of this country’s rising stars to have two F3 victories under his belt in 2024. Aged just 16 he is a real prospect and already earmarked for stardom as a member of the coveted Red Bull Junior Team. He won the season opening Sprint Race in Bahrain and, more recently, the Feature Race in Barcelona.

There are two other British drivers for the crowds to cheer at Silverstone: last year’s GB3 Champion Callum Voisin and Joseph Loake, the 2023 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year. Despite their obvious talents, both are yet to make an impression – not least as they appear to be lining up with an uncompetitive team.

Browning, Lindblad and Voisin are all members of Motorsport UK’s forward-thinking Academy – an initiative which identifies, develops and supports young drivers of exceptional potential on their competitive pathway.