Five drivers head to the legendary Silverstone Grand Prix circuit this weekend (7/8 November) with a chance of taking home the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship trophy.
The condensed 2020 season has produced a gripping storyline at the top of the standings, with the two main protagonists, Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick and Hitech GP’s Kush Maini, taking turns at the head of the championship, only to see their advantages quickly wiped out.
American Frederick started the season in style with three wins across the opening two weekends at Oulton Park and Donington Park, to secure a 29-point advantage ahead of the Brands Hatch event at the end of August. However, a disastrous event in Kent meant his lead instead became a 49-point deficit to Maini over the course of just four races, as the Indian driver took his first win of the year.
Maini then looked to have stamped his authority on the championship battle during the second visit to Donington in September, where he went wheel-to-wheel with his rival in a thrilling opening lap on his way to a second win to pull out a margin of 54 points.
But as autumn arrived, Frederick’s championship challenge took on a golden hue too, as the American marched to three wins from the next seven races (at Snetterton and a third visit to Donington), to launch 13 points clear at the top with just the three races this weekend to go.
Frederick’s relentless pace has seen him claim seven wins so far, with his most recent triumph being the second largest ever in terms of overall victory margin. Maini has three victories to his name in addition to eight podium finishes.
While much of the focus has been on the top two drivers, Douglas Motorsport’s rapid and extremely consistent Belgian charge Ulysse De Pauw has been the top scoring driver in two of the last three weekends, and is now just 29 points behind Maini. He’d be even closer had it not been for a bit of misfortune in the opening two weekends of the season, but it’s impossible to ignore the form that has seen him take seven podiums from the last 11 races, more than any other driver on the grid.
A title win for either Frederick, Maini or De Pauw would also create a bit of British F3 history, as they would be the first driver from their country to secure the British F3 title, one of the most coveted in single-seater racing anywhere in the world.
The UK has a long list of success in British F3, and that may just be added to this weekend courtesy of Double R’s Louis Foster. Unlike the lead trio, the 17 year old is contesting his first season of British F3, but for the most part has looked a veteran, taking three victories to date. He’s a bit further adrift in the championship battle, but remains a contender despite a couple of opening lap tangles last time out at Donington, which dented his aspirations.
Malaysia’s Nazim Azman is the final driver still in with a chance, with two wins so far in 2020. Like the top-three, Azman would be the first driver from his country to claim the British F3 crown, and although 89 points behind Frederick, remains in mathematical contention after a much improved sophomore campaign.
The championship cannot be decided during race one on Saturday, meaning it will all be settled on Sunday, with the final two races of the year streamed live on the British F3 website, YouTube and Facebook channels.
The field of 19 drivers entered this weekend is the joint biggest entry of the year. JHR Developments returns with Carter Williams while also adding multiple race winner Ayrton Simmons. Fortec Motorsports will also bolster its line-up with a teammate for Roberto Faria, with that announcement due later this week.
All the action this weekend can be followed on the official championship website britishf3.com, where all the latest championship permutations will be published throughout the event.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has confirmed that elite sport will be able to continue behind closed doors during the forthcoming lockdown period in England. The British GT event at Silverstone, at which BRDC British F3 is a co-headline series, has been confirmed as ‘elite’, meaning the event will continue as planned.
BRDC British F3 Championship, top-six standings after race 21 of 24:
1. Kaylen Frederick, Carlin, 420pts
2. Kush Maini, Hitech GP, 407pts
3. Ulysse De Pauw, Douglas Motorsport, 378pts
4. Louis Foster, Double R Racing, 353pts
5. Nazim Azman, Carlin, 331pts