FIA Formula 3 returned to the track for the first collective pre-season test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria and it was ART Grand Prix driver Aleksandr Smolyar who ended the day fastest.
The Russian, who scored his first F3 podium at Monza last season, was the only driver to dip under the 1m 19s barrier all day to set the tone for what he will hope to be an exceptional season.
The most impressive of 2021 rookies was Carlin’s young Brit Jonny Edgar as the ADAC Formula 4 champion was next best behind Smolyar having also put himself within the top ten in the morning session too.
Smolyar’s ART teammate Frederik Vesti starts the season as arguably the championship favourite having won three times last term for PREMA. The Dane was third quickest ahead of another star rookie in Jak Crawford.
The American was Edgar’s rival during their ADAC Formula 4 title battle last season but Crawford missed out by a slender margin and it was a similar story today, ending less than half a tenth off Edgar’s time.
The Red Bull junior, driving for Hitech GP, was followed by PREMA’s leading driver Dennis Hauger who himself scored a podium last year at Hungary. The Norwegian is another title contender this year.
All five of those set times faster than the morning’s pace setter Clément Novalak who looks set for a stellar year himself having joined Trident from Carlin. He’s joined in 2021 by Jack Doohan and David Schumacher in a strong three-man lineup and all three drivers were on the pace throughout the day.
MP Motorsport were impressive in the morning session with birthday boy Caio Collet ending second fastest ahead of his 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup rival, and eventual champion, Victor Martins third. The pair are both Alpine academy drivers and will sport the F1 team’s livery this season.
Roman Stanek was much improved in sixth in the afternoon ahead of 2020 title challenger Logan Sargeant who tested for Charouz, but he is not expected to make a return with the Czech outfit, who are yet to confirm their final two drivers for 2021.
Matteo Nannini had to readjust to F3 machinery having made his FIA Formula 2 debut in Bahrain last weekend, where he scored his first F2 point in the feature race on Sunday. the Italian finished both sessions in the top ten as HWA Racelab’s lead driver.
Elsewhere it was a disappointing day for Arthur Leclerc who could only manage 13th and 17th respectively for the all-conquering PREMA squad while both Oliver Rasmussen and Rafael Villagomez had excursions at turn eight for HWA, both bringing out a red flag to halt the morning’s running.
|2||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||1:19:328|
|3||Victor Martins||MP Motorsport||1:19:364|
|7||Matteo Nannini||HWA Racelab||1:19:561|
|12||Oliver Rasmussen||HWA Racelab||1:19:905|
|16||Ayumu Iwasa||Hitech GP||1:20:014|
|17||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||1:20:051|
|19||Roman Stanek||Hitech GP||1:20:102|
|22||Juan Manuel Correa||ART||1:20:283|
|23||Tijmen van der Helm||MP Motorsport||1:20:421|
|26||Reshad De Gerus||Charouz||1:20:557|
|27||Rafael Villagomez||HWA Racelab||1:20:687|
|4||Jak Crawford||Hitech GP||1:19:085|
|6||Roman Stanek||Hitech GP||1:19:197|
|9||Matteo Nannini||HWA Racelab||1:19:288|
|10||Caio Collet||MP Motorsport||1:19:292|
|14||Juan Manuel Correa||ART||1:19:456|
|18||Oliver Rasmussen||HWA Racelab||1:19:515|
|20||Rafael Villagomez||HWA Racelab||1:19:642|
|24||Reshad De Gerus||Charouz||1:19:933|
|25||Ayumu Iwasa||Hitech GP||1:19:942|
|28||Tijmen van der Helm||MP Motorsport||1:20:408|
|29||Victor Martins||MP Motorsport||1:20:437|