PREVIEW: 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Round eight – title to be decided at Donington decider

by Nathan Hine
Donington Park race start

The 2019 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship will be decided at Donington Park this weekend as an ultra-competitive season of racing draws to a close. Heading to the final event of the year, no fewer than 13 out of 16 full-time drivers have won races, with four drivers still in championship contention as the three races in Donington hove into view. But after a season to remember, who will emerge victorious as the 2019 British F3 champion..?

Carlin’s Clement Novalak heads to the East Midlands racetrack as the clear championship as the British-Swiss racer has led the championship since race one at Oulton Park and holds a 52-point margin over Johnathan Hoggard. His consistency has been key to his title campaign as despite only two race wins, he has been the only driver to finish every race inside the top ten. So heading to Donington the pressure is on, but only needs three solid points finishes to complete the job.

But he still has his eyes on the prize despite the comfortable position he is in coming into the weekend. The Carlin racer said:

“We come with a nice margin in the points but it doesn’t change much the way I’m approaching the weekend.

“Our results here [Donington] last time were good but I believe we still have more to show. 

“It would obviously be an amazing feeling managing to win a championship in which you’ve put a lot of hard work to perform in, in the first place. But with another three races to go, we’ve just got to focus on doing the job.”

Clement Novalak championship stats
Credit: BRDC British F3

Johnathan Hoggard will still pose a threat this weekend with two race wins on the series last visit to Donington Park back in June. While that level of performance hasn’t always been there, the Fortec Motorsports driver has racked up five wins and five other podiums along the way. The Spalding racer will need an almost perfect weekend to dipose Novalak at this late stage, but in British F3 never say never.

Hoggard has nothing to lose and everything to gain this weekend so heads to Donington in a relaxed mood, adding ahead of the weekend:

“My mindset going into Donington is just the same as any other race weekend. There is a reasonably big gap to Clement, however I won’t be giving up until the chequered flag falls on race three. The points scenario is what it is, so I will just have to do my best.

“Donington has always been a track I thoroughly enjoy, I had my first win in British F4 and every time I’ve been there so far I seem to do well.”

Johnathan Hoggard pre-Donington Park stats
Credit: BRDC British F3

Ayrton Simmons is just nine points further behind in the points standings after a solid weekend at Silverstone. Simmons has scored three wins thus far and has shown searing pace on the vast majority of circuits this season. Now in his rookie season, can the Chris Dittmann Racing star defy the odds and win the title in his debut season?

Simmons knows the title is a long shot, but after a superb debut season, he is gunning for the ultimate prize ahead of the all-important weekend.

“Yes of course I’m going for the title! I know it’s a bit of a long shot but I’ve seen lots of things happen in motorsport so I will be pushing to at least put as much pressure as possible and of course to score as many points as I can,” he said.

Ayrton Simmons pre-Donington Park stats
Credit: BRDC British F3

The final driver still mathmatically in the title fight is Douglas Motorsport racer Kiern Jewiss. He heads to Donington as the in-form driver having picked up four wins in the last six races including his debut win at Brands Hatch. But with an 103-point deficit to Novalak with just 105 on the table, he knows that emerging as British F3 champion is nigh on impossible.

Behind the title contenders, the grid is still packed full of talent in the final weekend of racing with everyone having something to prove. Ulysse De Pauw heads to Donington fifth in the points classification, some six points clear of Neil Verhagen. Both are yet to win this season, but as the American has sat on pole twice, he will hope he can break his winless streak at the final round of 2019.

Meanwhile having been signed up by Lanan Racing once again for 2020, Josh Mason will want to end this year on a high in what has proved to be a much more successful campaign for the Englishman before setting his sites on a full-blown title assault next year.

But as the teams and drivers head to the infamous East Midlands racetrack to decide the 2019 British F3 champion, Clement Novalak that should he hold on and clinch the title he will also receive the prize to race at the 2020 Daytona 24 hours next January that comes with it.

The Donington decider will kick off with two days of testing tomorrow and Friday before qualifying on Saturday morning at 11.15 before the first race of the weekend at 15.35. The action on Sunday will start with the reverse-grid race at 10.40 followed by the final race of the weekend at 15.45.

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