Header image: photo courtesy of Diego Merino
Well, well, well. It’s Barcelona time. It’s also, coincidentally, FIA Formula 3 time to start going the long way round or roaring off the line. Swinging it on the flippity-flop.
The half-GP3 half-European F3 championship is back in action this weekend in Barcelona or Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Siesta Guaranteed, as we all came to know and love it. Perhaps, I shouldn’t be too cruel towards our favourite testing venue. It may, every so often, produce a slightly warmed up thriller. Junior single-seaters do tend to entertain us: today’s stars tomorrow or whatever, tomorrow’s stars today.
Why would I call my preview ‘sustainable’, an occasional ‘spasmodic’ vegan day tripper visitor kind of person might inquire? I say it’s because… um, because I’m using bio cow poo candle light and my candles come from a well-proven eco-friendly CO2-neutral factory. Plus, I hold my breath the whole time, yep, two hours of typing, keyboard warrioring, no exhale, no CO2. And my WIFI is green, plastic box, that is. You see: I’m a certified full-wit. When I go for a toilet break, I employ green leaves instead of toilet paper. Cabbage, socially-sourced and locally produced. I then disinfect them with bleach and feed used up leaves to my free-range rabbits. We need to be responsible peeps, after all. Carbon fibre melts the ice.
This modern Formula 3 is a bit of a Frankenstein, really. I would personally call it Super Formula 3 in order to distinguish it from the more nimble – and more fun, funnest – classic F3, with what the Dallara website calls a ‘cigar side airbox’. The grandfathered GP3 chassis, I’m not so sure about it, but let’s be mindful that bulding a new car from scratch in the current climate is a no-no, no bueno, bad-bad-bad idea. No one can afford it.
Now that you’re banging your head against the screen in a wild fit of internet rage, let me leave you with this beautifully handcrafted official FIA Firmula 3 season preview.
Psst, I was once a passenger in a hybrid car, and I: complete the phrase ________________________ .
Similar to Guanyu Zhou’s wish, I confess I am mostly looking forward to weird Austin, I think these cars will produce a belter of race down there.
Spare a thought for the new F3 weekend format as well, that’s basically three races per weekend. Please google ‘F3’ to visit the official website to find out more, citius, altius, fortius. I know what it looks like, I simply want to save you some of your precious time. QUIT INSTAGRAM NOW!
I doubt having three races might create any difficulties for the drivers, whilst some are even combining their F3 and F2 campaigns thanks to different slots on the F1 calendar. Nannini Jr, that’s the one. Tyre management will be key, as per usual. It’s a controversial topic, however it makes sense if you think long and hard enough about it. We love to see the drivers pushing flat out from start to finish, the only issue with ‘qualifying pace’ races is that they’re inevitably processional. Their entertainment value is minus 10 below zero. So yeah, for sure, lil’ F3 kids will indeed have a curveball thrown at them by Pirelli’s art of tyre re-engineering.
Oh and how about Abiteboul Mecachrome power? They gonna be powered by Cyril in 2021! And beyond. Before that it was right old Cyril-less Mecachrome. A nice wrinkle there.
My prediction for the title? Teams’ P1 is between PREMA and ART.
Drivers’ crown? Vesti or Sargeant, who can make America great again on the European racing scene, should THE CZECH TIME aka Charouz Racing System rise up to the challenge. Outside surprise champion: possibly one of Alpine juniors or this other Fred chap, Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick (2020 British F3 Champ), don’t count them out. I still see Vesti as Nº1, they’ll put him in a torture chamber with Toto, as they did with George, since Fred V (for Victory) has joined Mercedes Junior Team Driver. Some motivational brainwashing goes a long way, logistical support above all. F1 competition know-how at F3’s service. Arthur Leclerc is not on my list because there are too many Leclercs racing out there already, it has the potential to create a brotherly problem that MotoGP has, you know what I mean, keeping up with the MARQUEZs and ESPARGAROs. For my part, I fancy Luca Marini-Rossi situation, at least their names are different, no pit board or broadcast chaos.
Logan’s a bit of a mystery to me. Why would a totally normal American guy risk it in Europe, c’mon, look at Rossi: he’s xessy and he knows it. A solid career, money in the bank, every year he’s challenging for wins/titles in IndyCar. On home soil, no need to adjust to anything. It’s like having a Slovenian driver come to the US, get fat on burgers, adopt the Southern accent and go for a career in drag racing. Makes no sense whatsoever. Odd.
Other guys/teams? Undecided. They’re not in the same league. That’s relatively speaking, they’re all extremely professional and well trained. But it’s those little teeny-tiny details that count in the end, some outfits will go the extra mile to achieve the dream result. In F3 you win by the finest of fine margins. The cream will naturally aspirated rise to the top (turbos come into play only in F2 version of the same ICE used in F3).
We’re equally happy to see our former interviewee, Juan Manuel Correa, back in a single-seater with ART. A very emotional return to full-time professional racing for him.
That’s the way it goes: F3 school of excellent driving separates good from the best, or the other way around, whichever your prefer. Our top 2021 guys will graduate to F2 in 2022, as for the less speedy pedallers, I guess their mom and dad are gonna hafta start thinking about sending their offspring to a business schoool. Better to be a good lawyer than a mediocre race car driver. Not everyone is destined to become the next Senna or Schumi, you can end up as the next Taki Inoue? And he didn’t go through the eye of a proverbial carburettor needle, although they did use fuel injection during his time in F1. Gotta love a good downdraft carb tho.