PREVIEW: 2019 BRDC British F3 Round three – Silverstone GP – biggest of the year heads to home of British motorsport

by Nathan Hine
British F3 cars around Silverstone GP circuit

The third round of the 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship sees the 18-car capacity field head to the home of British motorsport to take on the challenges of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit this weekend.

After two exhilarating rounds of racing, it is Carlin racer Clement Novalak who leads the championship by a hefty 37-points over Fortec Motorsports racer Johnathan Hoggard despite the fact that Novalak has only taken a single victory in the six races so far this season. So can Novalak maintain his consistent run at Silverstone?

Since the last round of the championship at Snetterton, there have been two additions to the BRDC British F3 grid as Jenzer Motorsport FIA Formula 3 driver Andreas Estner has joined Lanan Racing while Nicolas Varrone has signed for Hillspeed, thus meaning that there will be a line-up of 18 national single-seater racers to take on the infamous Silverstone GP circuit this weekend.

“I am very happy for this opportunity.” said Varrone. “We will be travelling to Silverstone on Thursday where we are going to have a full day of testing, using new tyres to adapt to the car, we hope to do a good job with a car which has more aerodynamics than I have been used to.”

After five winners in the first six races, the BRDC British F3 championship heads to Silverstone looking to see who will be next to feel the spray from the champagne after a well-earned race win. But after winning the first race of the season at Oulton Park, Novalak has taken four podiums and two sixth-place finishes in the reverse-grid races which sees the British teenager enjoy a comfortable championship margin.

Johnathan Hoggard was on course to challenge Novalak’s points lead until he made contact with Neil Verhagen and Kiern Jewiss in the opening corners at the last round at Snetterton, which saw all three of them crash out in one single blow.

Hoggard was awarded a 10-place grid penalty for the first race of the weekend here at Silverstone to add insult to injury after he was found to have moved between turns one and three, thus causing a collision with Verhagen.

Johnathan Hoggard and Clement Novalak battling for the lead at Snetterton
Credit: BRDC British F3

In light of Hoggard’s woes, both Ayrton Simmons and Hampus Ericsson will hope to close up on the Fortec Motorsports driver and series leader Novalak in the trio of races around the Silverstone GP circuit.

Ericsson grabbed his first British F3 win at the last round at Snetterton, which has elevated him to fourth in the drivers championship. As for Simmons, he struggled around the Norfolk track despite impressing during the pre-event test.

Simmons heads to Silverstone hoping to find his Oulton Park form in a bid to score his first BRDC British F3 victory around the home of British motorsport.

The two Americans of Kaylen Frederick and Neil Verhagen sit fifth and sixth in the drivers standings after they both scored podium finishes around Snetterton, which certainly puts them within striking range of the championship at this early part of the season.

After Frederick scored his maiden win at the reverse-grid race at Oulton Park, Frederick will hope to claim an qualifying-based win at Silverstone, with his compatriot looking for his first victory of the season at this infamous track following on from his single podium finishes in each of the first two race meetings.

Fortec Motorsports driver Manuel Maldonado may not have had the out and out results of some of his other competitors, but the Venezuelan has put his British F3 experience to good use and is the only other driver except Novalak to have finished each of the first six races inside the top ten. He will be looking to at least maintain that form at Silverstone as the Venezuelan is seventh in the championship standings.

After impressing in his Cheshire outing, Belgian racer Ulysse De Pauw had a more difficult outing at Snetterton which has seen him slip down to eighth in the championship. And while his Douglas Motorsport team-mate Kiern Jewiss showed great speed courtesy of his first British F3 podium in race one, he was only set to suffer misfortune in the next two races.

Malaysian racer Nazim Azman has enjoyed a positive start to his British F3 career as the Chris Dittmann Racing driver scored points in each of the six races, including a fifth place finish at the reverse-grid race at Snetterton.

Azman will aim to build on that superb form at Silverstone in a bid to challenge for even higher positions. Equal on points is Douglas Motorsport racer Benjamin Pedersen, who claimed a breakthrough result at Snetterton with a second-place finish after he hounded fellow Scandinavian Lucas Petersson who won the race, but the Dane’s consistency means that he is four places higher in the points classification.

Despite Sasakorn Chaimongkol sitting only twelfth in the championship standings after six races, the Thai racer has equipped himself well and will continue to grow in speed and confidence. Silverstone will be another building block for him as he navigates his maiden F3 season.

Similarly, Josh Mason continues to grow in stature throughout his second season with Lanan Racing, and with a new team-mate this weekend in the form of FIA Formula 3 driver Andreas Estner, it will provide Mason with another opportunity to prove his worth at a track that he went well at last year.

Lucas Petersson may have scored his maiden British F3 race win at the last round at Snetterton, but the 17-year old Swede has lacked panache to really extract the maximum out of his package in the first two rounds. But as the super Swede continues to develop throughout the season, he will aim to climb his way up the grid on a more consistent basis. As will Pavan Ravishankar, who has secured only one top ten finish in the six races this season, but claimed his first British F3 win twelve months ago at Silverstone, and will be hoping to repeat that success this year.

Pavan Ravishankar at Silverstone for his first British F3 win last year
Credit: BRDC Formula 3

24-year old American racer Kris Wright has struggled to adapt to racing this side of the pond as the Daytona 24-hour podium finisher is bottom of the drivers standings after six races. But there are signs that the American racer is making progress with a top ten finish for Wright at the last round at Snetterton.

After six action-packed races at Oulton Park and Snetterton, the 2019 BRDC British F3 Championship now heads to Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for a trio of races that are sure to entertain across the course of Saturday and Sunday in the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire countryside. But with Novalak enjoying a 37-point lead, who can challenge the Carlin racer at the home of British motorsport?

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