Italian GP, F3 – And the First Five Places are Filled with Five Different Cars!

NEWS & STORIES, SERGIO'S COLUMN

Yeah, I think I was an old fat billionaire in my last post, for sure. Y’know, I’ve more alter egos. Today I’m a young and slim coffee lover, although you know I’m fat in reality. I consume copious amounts of coffee all night long baby, although I drink tea at night. Nevertheless…

I mean what a great little championship it’s been so far with Formula 3, huh? It feels more like a proper F3 now with all the races taking place in Europe, it’s as though they’ve been forced to get back to their roots. Sometimes things turn out differently from what we plan – but in a good, positive sense. That’s the overwhelming sensation I’ve had so far with the FIA Formula 3 in 2020.

And my God, did Monza deliver in style? It’s fast, it’s old-school, it’s the temple of the need for speed, its got ugly barracks all around the track and close to the tyre barriers, like an old Italian coffee shop where the coffee machine is falling apart and they talk with hands. Absolutely fantastic.

We also got ourselves two unusual championship contenders, both competing for the same team, PREMA Racing. It doesn’t get better than that. “The battle is well and truly on if it wasn’t on before, and it certainly was.”

Alexander Smolyar double, ‘he’s an Aussie and so he probably played cricket as a kid’, Oscar Piastri undoubtedly posesses that Alonso-like morbidness, a great quality for the future F1 World Champion. HAM can’t be in F1 forever, mate. Oscar is always low on “mate” usage during the FIA pressers, so unlike Mark W. Weird.

While having attributes of both James Dean and Vanilla Ice, Logan Sargeant is Liberty’s dream hypothetical American F3 champion. I’ll say something tremendously nasty however I see (somewhat overrated) IndyCar and NASCAR as purely regional series with decent levels of talent, you just know none of them is brave enough to give up their star lives (and star earnings associated with their status) in the US for the European Dream. The only thing F1/F2/F3 ladder has in common with its US of A equivalent is speed, there’s no other common points. Hence having Sarge crowned as champion in 2020 may reignite some of the interest towards F1 in the States. For PREMA, I guess as long as it’s one of their boys or girls (get Sophia a drive in the top team car), they’re cool.

Or could Théo (Pourchaire) possibly sneak up on them and leave Smolyar and Dean in the dust?

I suppose both main championship contenders had a weekend to forget – at least partially for Piastri – in Monza, it sort of reminded me of Irvine vs Hakkinen during the 1999 Italian GP (the first corner was facing the right way back then, the way it is now is not natural). With modern Eddie and Mika, neither really took advantage of all the wild stuff happening out on the track, it’s a big no-no. You don’t post a tweet, you lose.

Mugello, here we come!

Monza also marked yet another Team’s title for PREMA in the F3 battle of the bands. ART, c’mon? Mais non! Wot happèn?

https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2020/9/Formula_3_Highlights__2020_Italian_GP_Race_1.html

  1. Frederik Vesti (PREMA Racing)
  2. Théo Pourchaire (ART Grand Prix)
  3. Oscar Piastri (PREMA Racing)

Our very own Sergio caught up (virtually) with Théo Pourchaire after the Race 1 and asked the young Frenchman his thoughts on the Teams’ Championship for PREMA Racing vs ART who are only third (or ‘turd’ as Max Verstappen puts it) in the Teams’ Standings after Monza, a rather atypical result for the original powerhouse of GP2/GP3 and a repetition, pretty much, of their last season’s trend. Are these new cars too much for the disco-loving French squad?

Just a quick note before we continue: isn’t it amazing how much info can all still fairly young lads download during a race into their brain? Like, you ask them something and they shoot instantly that on lap X in turn Y they had a hint of oversteer and left rear tyre was overheating while half of the front wing was missing but not completely, on top of that a bird flew across the track near the pit entry and a marshal at post XYZ was picking his nose while on duty. They all feels like serial Sennas to me! That is to say, how increasingly competitive the sport has become.

Back to our main subject…

Said Théo: “I think we’re a bit far to be honest.”

“Not in terms of performance but we’re doing mistakes, I think three drivers and ART are doing mistakes. Me I’m in my rookie year, as Alex, so we’re doing mistakes, rookie mistakes I mean. And Sebastián (Fernández) has not so much luck this year (you can RT that, son!).

“And for sure PREAM is doing a good job as last year. They are in the top 5 every race almost so it’s incredible.

“We try to do our best. I think in terms of performance, I’m not so bad, with the pole yesterday. We’re quite fast, we need to stop making mistakes and I think maybe next year ART can fight for the championship.”

As with F1, there’s much fuss and bother, rigmarole, folderol and ado about Pirelli tyres. In Race 1 it was slightly exacerbated by the Safety Car brought out for Sebastián Fernández’s accident. Apparently, everyone was suffering with tyre temps going through the roof of the window of opportunity.

Théo Pourchaire offered us his take on the situation: “Yeah, exactly. I was struggling with the rear tyres. During the SC I tried to cool down the tyres because they were quite hot and it was only one lap of SC. Then just before the restart I was starting to do some weaves. Two laps after the SC (came back to the pits) I was quite fast, there wasn’t the DRS and then maybe I pushed too much on the exit of the chicane and everything.

“I dunno, I need to have a look with the team, for sure. We’ll work on that for tomorrow and I think we can improve from that.”

Frederik Vesti’s glass was not just half full, it was overflowing and overfilling: “To be honest, when the restart happened I came quickly past Jake Hughes. But then for like 3-4 laps it seemed quite equal, we were both struggling, it was clear that we both pushed hard to be in the position we were in. But then towards the end I started undestanding where I can push and where I needed to relax a bit for the tyres to stay alive.

“And then I seemed to gain a bit of pace compared to Théo and in the slipstream I could drive past on the straight with a late move into turn one. I think it was about understanding where tyres were struggling and then go from there.”

Oscar Piastri gave the impression of being philosophical about the Milan’s firm racing products: “Um, yeah, I think I clearly lost a bit of momentum after the SC, being in the pack and all following each other just makes life difficult.

“In terms of tyres, we were struggling a little but I think compared to the guys around me, especially Jake, it seemed like he was really struggling a lot at the end, I felt like my tyre life was much better so I think the first few laps after the SC I couldn’t really make much progress and then after that I was pretty strong to the end.”

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