2023 REVIEW - fia formula 3

The season finale of the FIA Formula 3 Championship took place at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza from September 2 to 3. Even though the decision in the battle for the title was made a little earlier than usual, F3 once again gave us some nerve-racking races this year. The best thing to do is to review the entire season. Weekend by weekend.




Gabriele Minì secured feature race pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit, while Franco Colapinto's twelfth qualifying position allowed him to start the reverse-grid sprint race from the front. An incident involving Gabriel Bortoleto and Rafael Villagómez led to a safety car deployment in the sprint race. Pepe Martí climbed to second place during the race restart and eventually overtook Colapinto to achieve his first victory in FIA Formula 3.


In the feature race's opening lap, pole-sitter Minì lost positions to Bortoleto and Grégoire Saucy. Minì reclaimed second place before a safety car intervention due to Tommy Smith's stalled car. Minì, after serving a five-second penalty for a starting line violation, passed Bortoleto and led most of the race. However, a late safety car caused him to drop to eighth. Bortoleto won the race, with Oliver Goethe and Dino Beganovic also securing their first podium finishes in the category. At the end of Round 1, Bortoleto led the Drivers' Championship by three points over Goethe.




Championship leader Bortoleto secured the fastest qualifying time at Albert Park Circuit, while Sebastián Montoya took pole position for the sprint race. Early incidents in the sprint race led to safety car periods, with Luke Browning challenging Montoya before losing positions. Franco Colapinto passed Montoya and later won the race, though all MP Motorsport cars were disqualified, giving Zak O'Sullivan his first FIA Formula 3 victory.


In the feature race, Bortoleto maintained his lead, followed by Grégoire Saucy and Gabriele Minì. Despite separate accidents involving Colapinto and Mari Boya, the top three held their positions after safety car restarts, resulting in Bortoleto's second consecutive feature race win and Minì's first podium. Pepe Martí made significant progress to finish seventh. Bortoleto's victory extended his championship lead to 20 points over Saucy.




Monaco hosted Round 3 after flooding canceled the Imola Circuit round. Gabriele Minì secured pole at Circuit de Monaco, while Pepe Martí led the reverse-grid sprint race. Martí won the sorint race with a safety car start and Leonardo Fornaroli earned his first podium.


In the feature race, Minì, Beganovic, and Aron led, while a collision dropped Montoya and Collet back. Minì claimed his first FIA Formula 3 win, moving to second in the Drivers' Championship, while Bortoleto maintained a 17-point lead with a fifth-place finish.




Pepe Martí secured pole position at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Zak O'Sullivan started the sprint race from pole. O'Sullivan led the entire sprint race despite challenges, securing his second win of the season.


In the feature race, Martí defended against Barnard and went on to claim his third victory of the season on home soil, moving up to second place in the Drivers' Championship, 24 points behind leader Bortoleto, who finished fourth in both races.




Grégoire Saucy secured the pole position for the feature race at the Red Bull Ring, while Martí led the wet sprint race. Paul Aron advanced from eighth to second during the sprint race, challenging Martí for the lead. Aron ultimately claimed his first series victory as Martí dropped to sixth.


In the feature race, a safety car emerged due to contact between teammates Minì and Browning. Beganovic passed Saucy for the lead, but contact between Saucy and Aron caused damage. Beganovic struggled with tire wear, allowing Bortoleto and O'Sullivan to take the lead. A fierce battle for the final podium position ensued, with Collet emerging third. O'Sullivan won, extending his championship lead over Martí to 36 points.




Leonardo Fornaroli dominated qualifying at Silverstone, while Sebastián Montoya claimed sprint race pole. Despite Franco Colapinto briefly taking second place, he fell behind Taylor Barnard. Rain prompted a safety car, dividing tire strategies. Colapinto surged ahead after the restart due to contact between Montoya and Barnard. As the track dried, Colapinto clinched victory, joined by Christian Mansell on the podium who secured his first FIA F3 podium finish.


During the feature race, Fornaroli led but a collision paused the race. Oliver Goethe moved to the front, resisting challenges. Rain led to another safety car, with a wet-tire gamble by Tommy Smith who climbed from the back to 11th place, but penalties demoted him. Goethe secured victory, maintaining Bortoleto's 36-point lead over Martí in the championship.




Zak O'Sullivan secured his first pole position of the season for the Hungaroring's feature race. Despite starting 12th in the sprint race, Gabriele Minì regained the lead from Nikita Bedrin on lap eight. Their lead was erased by a safety car deployment caused by Sebastián Montoya's stranded car. Bortoleto overtook Bedrin on the last lap's final corner to secure second place. Minì won his second race of the season, and Bedrin earned Jenzer Motorsport's first podium.


The feature race was shortened due to tire concerns. O'Sullivan dominated, setting the fastest lap, and won his fourth race of the season. Teammate Dino Beganovic and Williams junior Franco Colapinto followed. O'Sullivan climbed to second place in the standings, just one point ahead of Pepe Martí, with a 43-point gap to championship leader Bortoleto.




At Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Martí secured pole position, contrasting with Bortoleto's 15th qualifying position. Barter led the start of the sprint race but dropped back, allowing Collet to triumph after three safety car periods.


The feature race began in damp conditions, with varied tire choices. Wet tire users, including Aron, initially took the lead, while Barnard eventually gained the lead. Despite Mansell's challenge, Barnard clinched his first series win ahead of Christian Mansell and his Jenzer teammate Nikita Bedrin. while his teammates Bortoleto's championship lead stood at 38 points over Aron, with 39 points available in the final round.




The season finale took place at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza at the beginning of September. Already on Friday, the drivers' championship was decided in qualifying. Gabriel Bortoleto could not be caught in the standings after both Paul Aron and Pepe Martí failed to take pole position. In Saturday's sprint race Franco Colapinto started from pole position and was able to convert this into his second victory of the season. Gabriel Bortoleto took second place ahead of Mari Boya in third, who celebrated his first podium finish in FIA F3.


In the last feature race of the season, Oliver Goethe was supposed to start from pole position. However, a technical defect on the formation lap prevented him from starting the race. Thus the lead went to Caio Collet, who had to defend it against Paul Aron, Jonny Edgar, Zak O' Sullivan and Taylor Barnard. In the course of the race and after several re-starts Collet had to admit defeat. Jonny Edgar took his first FIA F3 victory ahead of Zak O' Sullivan and Taylor Barnard in second and third place.


Gabriel Bortoleto


In his FIA Formula 3 rookie season, Gabriel Bortoleto succeeded in winning a well-deserved championship title in the style of a champion. Although the Brazilian won just two races, he also scored points in almost every race he finished. This consistency ultimately made the difference to the competition. He finished in the top six in twelve of eighteen races. The Trident driver already showed talent in Formula 4 and Formula Regional, but how he perfected it this year was extremely impressive to watch. It's only a matter of time before he joins an F1 Junior team.


Pepe Martí


Josep Maria Martí, or Pepe Martí for short, stood out for me this year. Pepe has already flashed his talent here and there before the season. In addition to the runner-up title in the Spanish F4, he also won the rookie championship in Formula Regional Asia. 2023 was his second season in Formula 3 and, as in the previous year, he again competed with Campos Racing. Campos was not one of the top teams before the season, which made the Spaniard's performance all the more impressive. He managed to win three races at three different circuits. He also claimed two feature race pole positions, stood on the podium a total of four times and set the fastest race lap twice.


Taylor Barnard


Another driver who has impressed me extremely this year is Taylor Barnard. The Briton competed in his first season in Formula 3 this year and immediately celebrated a feature race victory and two further podium finishes. And this with a team that has had few successes in FIA F3 in the past. A tenth place in the championship with Jenzer Motorsport is very strong. He will probably be one of my big favorites for the title next year.


Zak O'Sullivan


Even though I expected more from Zak O'Sullivan this year, he still stood out in particular for me. With four race wins, he won the most races of any driver this year. He also took another podium in second place in the final race of the season. It was these successes that enabled him to win the runner-up title. However, the Williams Junior was also very inconsistent on the track. Half of the races he finished outside the points. Nevertheless, the Briton was one of the fastest drivers in his Prema this year.


Franco Colapinto


Franco Colapinto contested his second season in FIA F3 this year. The Argentinean was one of the fastest and most consistent drivers this year. With two race wins and three further podium finishes, the MP Motorsport driver ended the season in a strong fourth place overall. The Williams Junior scored points in 14 out of 18 races, which is absolutely top class in a championship as competitive and chaotic as Formula 3. For me, definitely a driver who has to race in Formula 2 next year.


Gabriele Minì


Another driver I would like to mention is Gabriele Minì. The Italian, who joined the Alpine Academy this year, was for me one of the most talented drivers in the field. Just for the fact that he was able to achieve two pole positions and two race wins with a Hitech car, he has my greatest respect. Considering how much bad luck he had this year, some of his competitors can be happy to have finished the season ahead of him in the championship. Should he be denied the jump to Formula 2, he is probably the top favorite for the F3 title next season.


P1: Gabriel Bortoleto / 164

P2: Zak O'Sullivan / 119 

P3: Paul Aron / 112

P4: Franco Colapinto / 110

P5: Pepe Martí / 105

P6: Dino Beganovic / 96

P7: Gabriele Minì / 92

P8: Oliver Goethe / 75

P9: Caio Collet / 73 

P10: Taylor Barnard / 72

P11: Leonardo Fornaroli / 69 

P12: Christian Mansell / 60

P13: Jonny Edgar / 55

P14: Grégoire Saucy / 54 

P15: Luke Browning / 41

P16: Sebastián Montoya / 37

P17: Mari Boya / 29 

P18: Nikita Bedrin / 24

P19: Hugh Barter / 14

P20: Alex García / 12

P21: Kaylen Frederick / 11

P22: Nikola Tsolov / 6 

P23: Sophia Flörsch / 6

P24: Ido Cohen / 2

P25: Rafael Villagómez / 2 

P26: Francesco Simonazzi / 0 

P27: Tommy Smith / 0

P28: Oliver Gray / 0

P29: Joshua Dufek / 0

P30: Hunter Yeany / 0

P31: Roberto Faria / 0 

P32: Michael Shin / 0 

P33: McKenzy Cresswell / 0

P34: Piotr Wiśnicki / 0

P35: Max Esterson / 0


P1: Prema Racing / 327

P2: Trident / 308

P3: MP Motorsport / 194 

P4: Campos Racing / 179

P5: Hitech Pulse-Eight / 170

P6: Jenzer Motorsport / 108

P7: Van Amersfoort Racing / 75 

P8: ART Grand Prix / 71

P9: PHM Racing by Charouz / 6

P10: Rodin Carlin / 2

written by Claudio Graf  / 3rd September, 2023