The BRDC British F3 Championship heads to Snetterton this weekend (18-19 May), with an international field of young F1 aspirants determined to impress after an exciting start to the season at Oulton Park.
Three different winners in Cheshire, and three other podium finishers during the course of the event indicate that this year’s title battle and this weekend’s races will be wide open.
Carlin’s Clement Novalak is the championship leader after the Oulton opener, with the British-Swiss driver taking his first British F3 win and another podium to propel him to the top of the pile.
Fortec’s Johnathan Hoggard is just 11 points behind though, and with race experience at Snetterton from his F4 days, and a British F3 win under his belt already, is a likely challenger this weekend, as is former F4 rival Ayrton Simmons. The Chris Dittmann Racing driver was a contender throughout the season opener, and his brace of podiums at Oulton Park could have been even more having led for half of the final race.
Belgian Ulysse De Pauw was another who impressed on his F3 debut for Douglas Motorsport. The 17-year-old claimed three top-seven finishes while team mate Kiern Jewiss, the reigning British F4 champion, was close to a podium with two fourth place finishes.
American Neil Verhagen claimed a podium finish for Double R Racing on his first weekend in the series, while Fortec’s returnee Manuel Maldonado secured another Oulton Park podium and now heads to a circuit where he was a winner in 2018.
Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick had an up and down weekend at Oulton Park, having qualified on pole for race one only to lose out on a top result after picking up a puncture following contact with Verhagen. He made amends in race two with victory from pole, and will be hoping for a bit less misfortune this time around.
Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol had a consistent showing at Oulton Park, and scored his first British F3 podium here last year. The Thai driver has potential for rapid pace, and should be at the sharp end this weekend.
Nazim Azman completes the top 10 in the early standings for Chris Dittmann Racing, with the Malaysian driver enjoying a weekend full of progress at Oulton Park, and will be keen to build further on that at Snetterton.
Lanan Racing’s Josh Mason sits just outside the top 10 at present after securing a best result of fifth at Oulton Park, while Double R’s Hampus Ericsson, an F3 podium finisher on his debut last year, is looking to show his true pace this weekend after a tricky opening round.
Douglas Motorsport’s Benjamin Pedersen was one of three drivers caught up in a dramatic incident in the first race of the year, but recovered his weekend well with a double top 10, while near namesake Lucas Petersson was also caught up in the incident, but still logged a best result of ninth for Carlin.
Fortec’s Kris Wright was on the cusp of the top-10 with 11th on the first race, and sits 15th in the early standings ahead of Double R’s Pavan Ravishankar, who was another caught up in the race one drama. He has podiums and a win under his belt from last year though, so expect more from him this weekend.
The BRDC British F3 field will again race three times this weekend, with the grid for races one and three determined in qualifying, while the exciting race two line-up will be a complete reverse of race one finishers, providing they set a lap time within 103% of the overall fastest.
Qualifying takes place at 11.10 on Saturday morning, ahead of the opening race at 15.15. The final two races of the weekend at 09.55 and 14.10 on Sunday will be streamed live on the British F3 website and official Facebook page.
Pre-event driver quotes:
“We did a proper job at Oulton Park, we got out of it what we wanted. I think we maximised our potential, and hopefully we can carry this momentum forward to Snetterton.
"It's my first time racing at Snetterton, I've done a couple of tests this year obviously to familiarise myself with the track, but hopefully it's as successful as Oulton Park!"
Ulysse De Pauw
“For my first races in British F3 I’ve already got some solid points and P4 in the championship is a good beginning.
“I’ve had two days of testing at Snetterton, the pace was good, and I expect it to be at least better than at Oulton Park. I’m aiming for a good qualifying as it’s really important, it’s hard to overtake, so we will have to work hard to have a good lap in qualifying.”
“We tried to push forward as much as we could at Oulton Park, and it would have been nice to have taken two P5s and a P7 from the weekend, but the false start in race two didn’t help us in terms of the championship. I made a mistake, it happens, and I just had to get my head down.
“Hopefully we’ll have some better results to come at Snetterton and we can get some podiums there. We test at lot at Snetterton, it’s probably one of my most visited tracks, and personally I like the circuit. I can see we will go well as a team there.”
“Oulton Park was a pretty tough weekend. A few mistakes from me but then I was struggling with the car, but we’re getting there. Each time we’re getting on track we’re developing the car so I’m pretty happy with things so far.
“We will see what happens at Snetterton, we’ll go over the information we gained at Oulton Park and put that into Snett and see where we end up. I’ve had a day at the circuit in the F3 car, so we’ll see how it goes, but I’m sure we can chip away this weekend.”
BRDC British F3 Championship standings after race three of 24:
1. Clement Novalak, Carlin, 81pts
2. Johnathan Hoggard, Fortec Motorsports, 70pts
3. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 53pts
4. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 50pts
5. Kiern Jewiss, Douglas Motorsport, 47pts
6. Neil Verhagen, Double R Racing, 45pts
7. Manuel Maldonado, Fortec Motorsports, 44pts
8. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 37pts
9. Sasakorn Chaimongkol, 37pts
10. Nazim Azman, Chris Dittmann Racing, 32pts