PREVIEW: 2019 BRDC British F3 Round Seven Silverstone – Novalak hopeful of sealing championship fate at sensational Silverstone

by Nathan Hine
Clement Novalak leads at Silverstone

The 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship sets sail for the home of British motorsport at Silverstone Grand Prix circuit for round seven of the British single-seater racing series.

This weekend there is the potential for the a new champion to be crowned as Carlin’s Clement Novalak enjoys a sizeable forty-point lead over Johnathan Hoggard. So with just two rounds and six races left, the Swiss-British racer has every chance of leaving the Northamptonshire venue as the 2019 BRDC British F3 champion.

Novalak has led the points standings since race one at Oulton Park back in April, boasting two wins and five other podium finishes during the season to date. Despite not having won a race since race one at Silverstone in June, his uncanny consistency has ensured that his points margin over his closest rivals has remained healthy at all times.

The Swiss-British racer has a great record at this racetrack, so he has every chance of adding a win or two over the course of the weekend. But in order to conclude the championship here, he would need to extend that points margin to 107 points or more over the course of the weekend over his nearest rival Hoggard, which given recent form would be an unlikely outcome.

Clement Novalak on pole at Silverstone
Credit: BRDC British F3

Hoggaard meanwhile has had a more successful season that chief rival Novalak in some respects, collecting five wins and nine podiums, but his lack of consistency means that the Fortec Motorsports driver is the one doing the chasing. However, with two podium finishes at the last event at Brands Hatch GP circuit, he was able to take 15 points out of Novalak. So if he can do a similar job or better in front of the BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club), then it will be game on for the season finale at Donington Park.

Chris Dittmann Racing’s Ayrton Simmons is also in the title chase, albeit some 81 points off Novalak at the top of the championship. After a less than impressive display at Brands Hatch, the Epping racer needs a star-studded performance here at Silverstone. This was the site of his debut BRDC British F3 victory back in June and has collected six other podiums and a race win since then at Spa Francorchamps. It has been an impressive debut campaign from Simmons, but taking the title from here would require a mammoth performance.

Spearheading the next group of drivers is Kiern Jewiss after the Douglas Motorsport star secured his debut win in the championship at his home event last time out at Brands Hatch. That breakthrough performance now means he is 18 points clear of the rest of the chasing pack, which he will be determined to build upon in the final two rounds of the year.

But immediately behind is Neil Verhagen, Manuel Maldonado and Ulysse De Pauw: all of whom are searching for a win before the year is out. The trio are covered by seven points and with multiple podium finishes each are hotshots to add their names to the eleven winners in the BRDC British F3 Championship so far this season. Judging from how Verhagen performed in June, this will be a strong event from the American as he led race three from lights to flag and would have won the race if it was not due to an unneccessary five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits which dropped him to fourth position.

Kaylen Frederick is currently eighth in the championship standings after a catalogue of errors from the American this season. Despite his two wins and two other podiums, he finds himself 16 points behind De Pauw despite having the headline results which the Belgian is yet to fulfill.

Swedish racer Hampus Ericsson has enjoyed a solid season thus far, featuring a race win at Snetterton in May. He will hope to end the season well and secure a top ten finish this year. Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol has also climbed into the top ten after a marked improved form for the Thai racer which has included a podium finish at Donington Park. He will be gunning for a win in the final two rounds of the year.

Sasakorn Chaimongkol fighting at Silverstone GP circuit
Credit: BRDC British F3

Josh Mason is also enjoying improved performances with the British driver coming off the back of three podium finishes in the reverse-grid races in the last three rounds. He finds himself just ahead of Benjamin Pedersen, closely followed by Brands race winner Nazim Azman, Carlin’s Lucas Petersson as well as Pavan Ravishankar and Kris Wright.

This weekend the usual 16-car grid will be joined once again by Nicolas Varrone at Hillspeed, where the Argentine will aim to emulate his race-winning fortunes that he enjoyed at Spa Francorchamps.

The racing action will begin in earnest on Saturday morning at 1025 with qualifying, closely followed by the opening contest at 1425. Sunday’s action will start at 1010 for the reverse-grid race with the final race of the weekend at 1425.

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