Just over three months since the racing was set to begin in Bahrain, we’ll be headed out to Austria instead to kick off the Formula 3 season. We’ll be racing back to back at Spielberg with qualifying on the 3rd and 10th July, the Feature Race on the 4th and 11th July and the Sprint Race on the 5th and 12th July. If you’re looking to keep up to date with all of the racing this weekend, your schedule is as followed: Friday will see Practice at 9:35 am until 10:20 am and Qualifying at 2:05 pm until 2:35 pm, Saturday will see the Feature Race at 10:25 am until 11:05 am and Sunday will see the Sprint Race at 9:45 am until 10:25 am. All times are local track times.
As the potential of the season hung by a thread, Jess and I chose to not let the bad news dwell and set ahead our predictions for the year back in April. Today, we sit down to look at how the race weekend will go ahead along with an audience of people.
The current Formula 3 grid has a lot of strong competition, making the predictions for the first race feel almost impossible. With Max Fewtrell being the 2019 F3 Austrian GP Runner Up in the Feature Race, I feel as if he has a strong chance at taking first this year. Austria has always been a good race for Fewtrell and I feel as if he has a good potential at repeating history. Followed closely behind, I believe that Liam Zendeli has a good chance at taking runner up with Logan Sargeant taking third. With the reverse of the grid for the Sprint Race, I feel that Theo Pourchaire has a good chance at starting on pole position. However, I feel like Frederik Vesti has a shot at clutching first place. Behind him, I believe that Jake Hughes and Richard Verschoor both have a chance at pushing for podiums.
Aside from this, I believe there are also a few drivers to look out for. In my eyes, Clement Novalak and Alex Peroni are both valuable drivers who will surprise everybody this weekend with both Fewtrell and Pourchaire taking fastest lap. Overall, I can see the top three consisting of the Prema and Hitech boys with Prema sitting comfortably as the highest scoring team of the weekend.
Considering we’ve had a long break since the first time the machineries have been tested properly back in March, there will potentially be a lot of mishaps and issues along the way, however, I’m not letting them impact my predictions. I said at the start of the year that I’d see Logan Sargeant as the champion, and I still believe so, but I see Max Fewtrell, who I put as my runner up, as the winner of at least one of the grand prix’s this weekend. His previous results last year with 2nd and 4th show his capability of being able to tackle this track well and also make positions. I could also see Sargeant being near the front, despite the previous year’s result. Taking a step away from the usual drivers, I also expect potentially Liam Lawson, Jake Hughes or Richard Verschoor on the steps of the podium. In terms of the sprint race, I’m more or less expecting the same few individuals, but including the Formula Regional champion Vesti.
In terms of who’d to keep an eye out for, I’d say the new rookies of Piastri, Novalak, Vesti and Pourchaire. Considering they came out of their championships as the winners, I wouldn’t expect any less of them achieving good results. With Prema coming out of Austria last year with 59 points, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they managed to achieve the best results this weekend. Seeing how strong the lineup for Hitech is with Fewtrell, Hauger and Lawson, with each having their own individual successes during last year’s season in various championships, it wouldn’t suprise me if they challenge Prema for the top team in the first round of the revised championship.
THE SIMILARITIES AND THE DIFFERENCES
Between myself and Jess, we both see Fewtrell and Sargeant sitting comfortably in the top three for the feature race however, I can see Zendeli settled on the podium alongside the boys while Jess can see either Lawson, Hughes or Verschoor. We both have a lot of faith in two rookies; Novalak and Pourchaire. We share most similarities when it comes to this years grid with both of us believing the Vesti could place highest in the Sprint race and both also agreeing on Prema sitting as the top team.
Alongside our own predictions, we spoke to some Formula 3 fans to gather more information on how differently people view the grid.
For this race, the opinions on who would place on pole position found Max Fewtrell with 50% of the results, followed by Enzo Fittipaldi with 20% and Dennis Hauger, Richard Verschoor and Frederik Vesti each taking 10%. This reflects on how the audience view the top three for the feature race. Fewtrell found himself with 50% of the results again when it came to winning the race, followed by Verschoor with 20% and Sebastian Fernandez, Igor Fraga and Frederik Vesti with 10% each. As runner up, Fewtrell sits with the highest percentage once again with 30%, followed by Fittipaldi with 20% and Jake Hughes, Clement Novalak, Enaam Ahmed, Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant with 10% each. For third, Sargeant finds himself with 20% of the votes while Fewtrell, Liam Lawson, Theo Pourchaire, Verschoor, David Schumacher, Novalak, Ahmed and Vesti all held 10% each.
Moving on to the Sprint race, 30% of the votes for the driver finishing on top go to Fewtrell once again. Oscar Piastri and Theo Pourchaire both hold 20% each while Fittipaldi, Verschoor and Novalak hold 10% of the votes. For runner up, the audience was very split. Sargeant held 20% of the votes while Lawson, Pourchaire, Fernandez, Verschoor, Bent Viscaal, Federico Malvestiti, Ahmed and Vesti all share 10%. Then, for third place, Fewtrell and Piastri both held 30% of the votes while Sargeant, Novalak, Jack Doohan and Olli Caldwell all took 10%.
For fastest lap, Fewtrell held 20% of the votes in both the Feature Race and Sprint Race. Vesti also took 10% in both the Feature and Sprint. Jake Hughes took a further 20% for the Feature Race while Doohan, Schumacher, Ahmed, Piastri and Fittipaldi all took 10%. Into the Sprint Race, Hauger, Pourchaire, Verschoor, Nannini, Fraga, Novalak and Ahmed all took 10% of the votes.
Enaam Ahmed, Max Fewtrell and Theo Pourchaire both took 20% each when the audience were asked who they believe would be the most surprising driver of the weekend. The rest of the results consisted of Verschoor, Stanek, Novalak and Deledda taking 10% each.
To finish off, we asked the audience which team they thought would be leaving the weekend with the most points. With 50% sat Prema who have consistently won the team championship for nearly ten years. Hitech followed suit with 40% while ART took 10%.
Overall, Fewtrell and Vesti are looking to be the favourites for the weekend while Theo Pourchaire and Clement Novalak are two rookies we should definitely be keeping an eye out for. This season looks like it will be a tough battle and the upcoming weekend won’t be giving us a glance at who will be winning this championship. The results will definitely be close with a lot of new and old names to look out for. We are looking forward to a wet and windy weekend ahead of us. Will Hitech dethrone 9 time Formula 3 Team Champions Prema?
We will see you Monday at 5pm BST Time with your race rundown and Wednesday at 5pm BST for our race review. Keep a look out if you want a chance at having your say on the Formula 3 Austrian Grand Prix 2020.