PREVIEW: 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship – Sochi

by Chloe Hewitt

The final round of the inaugural FIA Formula 3 Championship takes place this weekend at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia.

Fans could be in for a treat as home favourite Robert Shwartzman heads the championship standings by thirty-three points over team-mate Jehan Daruvala.

As well David Schumacher, son of Ralf Schumacher and cousin of FIA Formula 2 Championship rookie Mick Schumacher joins the field with Campos Racing.

The Teams’ Championship has already been claimed by PREMA Racing Team, as the team who had been the dominant force in one of the series’ predecessor the FIA European Formula 3 Championship once again stomped their authority.

What Happened Last Time out at Monza?

Teams’ Champions, PREMA were the frontrunners once again at Monza on Saturday as they aimed to put on a show in front of their home crowd.

On Saturday they did just that by sweeping the podium places in a safety car hit race. However Marcus Armstrong later lost his second place finish after he had been found to have exceeded the minimum delta time during the safety car meaning Yuki Tsunoda was promoted to the podium.

Although, the race was overshadowed by a dramatic crash for Alex Peroni after a sausage kerb flung him into the air and crashing into a barrier. Just days after the tragic passing of Anthoine Hubert it was a difficult sight for many. Thankfully the Australian is okay and is recovering at home but will miss the finale.

Sunday saw series rookie Tsunoda claim his maiden victory in the series, as well as Jenzer Motorsport’s first win.

The Japanese driver endured a tense lap-long battle for the lead against more experienced rival Jake Hughes that proved the talent the young driver has. Having had more of a slow start to the championship than others, he is now one of the series’ in form drivers after seven points finishes – including three podiums – in a row.

Although it may seem from a championship perspective that PREMA have walked the title, the series has been competitive with six of the ten teams claiming at least one win thus far.

What Happened Last Year at Sochi?

Last year, Leonardo Pulcini claimed his long awaited maiden victory after coming close on a number of occasions.

The Italian inherited pole position after Nikita Mazepin was penalised for breaching track limits and had his pole lap deleted.

Pulcini got much of the work done on the opening lap after pulling out the gap on Callum Ilott. Eighth in the Sprint Race meant Pulcini was fourth in the standings which is where he finished the season behind the ART Grand Prix trio.

David Beckmann claimed his third win of the season in Sunday’s race, having started from fourth on the grid.

After passing Hughes early on he hunted down Simo Laaksonen and Joey Mawson. The German was aided by the Finnish driver having to take to the escape road that allowed Beckmann into second.

Beckmann’s opportunity to take victory came late on after a virtual safety car, which restarted on the final lap and allowed him the opportunity to use DRS to pass Mawson in Turn 13 to snatch victory.

Elsewhere, the championship fight narrowed as Ilott dropped out of contention after not scoring a point. This meant the fight went down to Mazepin and Hubert heading to the final round of the year.

What is the Schedule for the Weekend?

Friday 27 September

Practice: 8.20 local time (GMT+3)

Qualifying: 13.00

Saturday 28 September

Race 1: 10.15

Sunday 29 September

Race 2: 9.55

Where Can I Watch the F3 Action From Sochi?

Coverage of the weekend will be shown on Sky F1 in the UK and Ireland, race reruns will also be shown during the week.

How Can I Keep Up to Date With All the Action Over the Weekend?

Keep an eye on The Checkered Flag where all the latest news and session reports will be posted throughout the weekend!

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