SEASON PREVIEW: 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – Fortec Motorsports

3 Mins read
Credit: BRDC British F3

Fortec Motorsports missed the first three rounds of the seven-round 2020 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, but have a three-car roster completing a full season in 2021.

It’s an international line-up for the Daventry-based outfit, with a mix of experience in F3, Formula 4 and endurance racing across Europe.

Roberto Faria – #7 – BRA

Credit: BRDC British F3

Roberto Faria stepped up to British F3 from the Formula 4 British Championship for the final 13 races of the season, having taken two podiums and a pole position for Fortec before graduating early.

He still finished an impressive tenth in the final standings despite only completing the first half of the British F4 season; based on those early results he might have ended a full campaign near the top five.

Indeed, extrapolating his points tally from the end of the Knockhill round until the end of the season would put the Brazilian on 212 points, good enough for sixth in the final standings, between James Hedley and Abbi Pulling.

He made the step up to British F4 from karting the previous season, taking 21 British F4 Rookie Cup podiums and third in the Rookie standings, 11th overall in his first full season racing in the UK.

The grid in 2019 contained several of his new British F3 contemporaries, including Hitech GP‘s Bart Horsten and Sebastian Alvarez, Arden‘s Alex Connor and Douglas Motorsport‘s Reema Juffali.

Speaking of British F3, the 17-year-old didn’t handle the step up too badly at all.

He made his debut with Fortec at Donington Park last September and wen on to take top-six finishes at each of the last six races of the season.

A pair of top-three qualifying performances and a second-place finish in the final race of the season at Silverstone will have given the decision-makers at Fortec an easy decision to make in keeping Faria on their books for a full season of British F3 this year.

Mikkel Grundtvig – #43 – DEN

Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Mikkel Grundtvig should be a more familiar name to British junior formulae fans than he perhaps is.

A maiden British F4 campaign was shelved last season as COVID-19 travel restrictions meant the Danish driver couldn’t compete on the circuits he’ll now be racing on for the first time.

He spent 2018 and 2019 racing, and winning five races, in Danish F4 with Apex Racing, with French F4 appearances and one win to boot.

But the 2020 landscape was understandably very different, and brought a change of machinery, if not scenery, to Grundtvig’s racing experience.

He spent 2020 racing a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo in the Danish Endurance Championship, winning three races on the way to the Class 4 title with Dream Concept Motorsport.

On being announced at Fortec, Grundtvig said:

“I’m really happy to be joining Fortec to race in the British F3 Championship this year, the team have a very long and successful history of developing drivers and winning championships.

“I’ve already tested at some circuits in the UK last year and have been working on the simulator back home in Denmark.

“We have worked hard over the winter preparing for this season and I will give 100% so we can continue this success together.”

Oliver Bearman – #87 – GBR

Credit: BRDC British F3

Oliver Bearman was the third and final Fortec driver to be announced ahead of the opening round at Brands Hatch.

He won’t be completing the full British F3 season, splitting his commitments with Van Amersfoort Racing in German and Italian Formula 4.

Both series’ have borne fruit for the 16-year-old since he graduated from karting with honours in 2020, with the European and World Junior X30 titles.

His first F4 wins came shortly afterwards at Hockenheim and Vallelunga, and he’s excited about the opportunity to spend time in the UK’s premier single-seater series.

“I’m really excited to be joining Fortec Motorsport’s team for the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.

“The relationship with the whole team is fantastic, and the car itself is so much fun to drive.

“I’m looking forward to kicking things off with this weekend at Brands Hatch GP.”

The verdict

Fortec have perhaps one of the more intriguing driver line-ups on a British F3 grid that is the largest for the first race of the season since 2016.

Roberto Faria more than showed his pace during the second half of last season, and in F4 for a year and a half before that. He’ll surely be one to watch out for.

Mikkel Grundtvig’s winning experience in F4, as well as experience in GT racing, in recent years, may stand him in good stead in the difficult conditions that can be posed by British circuits.

As the fickle British weather will always be a factor, having had to adapt to vastly different driving styles already in his career may serve him well in his maiden British F3 campaign.

Oliver Bearman may not be able to feature in the championship fight for Fortec, splitting his commitments between F3 and Italian and ADAC F4 (Germany), but will hope his first experience of F3 machinery, just a year out of karting, can continue to boost an already impressive upwards trajectory.

The 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship begins at Brands Hatch GP on 22/23 May, supporting the Intelligent Money British GT Championship.

The Checkered Flag will be bringing you all the action from the season.

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Stickler for track limits, covering the GB3 Championship and the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Twitter: @MCallanderMedia
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