British F3

PREVIEW: 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – Silverstone GP

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

The 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship arrives at Silverstone for the second round of the season on 26/27 June.

The series supports the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, which will contest the three-hour Silverstone 500 at the weekend, as it did at the end of last season.

The British F3 drivers will visit the Northamptonshire circuit again on 14/15 August, this time topping the bill without British GT.

What happened last time at Silverstone?

British F3 visited Silverstone for the final round of 2020, and hosted what began as a four-way title fight going into the last three races of the season.

Ulysse de Pauw‘s hopes were dashed after a crash exiting The Loop in Race 1, while Louis Foster enjoyed a more consistent weekend, taking two fifth places in the first two outings.

But Hitech GP‘s Kush Maini was the closest man to eventual champion Kaylen Frederick for most of the season; the pair were separated by half a tenth in qualifying.

Inclement conditions had seen Maini struggle at times in 2020, and after a fifth-place finish in Race 1, he finished five places and nine points behind Frederick in Race 2, effectively securing the title for the American going into the final race of the season.

Carlin‘s eventual FIA Formula 3 graduate won Race 3 by four seconds, with Maini sixth, having only needed to finish the race to take top honours in a season which brought nine wins.

The first ever American champion in the series’ history (in all guises) ended his time in British F3 with the third-most fastest laps of any driver, behind only Takuma Sato and Nelson Piquet Jr.

The Circuit

Credit: Antoine266 (Wikimedia Commons)

Eighteen corners will face the British F3 drivers at the weekend on the 5.891km (3.661mi) GP circuit, which has been used in its current iteration since 2011.

All three races will run for 12 laps or 20 minutes, whichever comes sooner. Given that the fastest race lap last season was a 1:54.406 (Kaylen Frederick, Race 1), and all three races reached the 20-minute mark at the end of 10 laps, that seems the likely distance again this time around.

At time of writing, the weather forecast suggests rain for Race 1 on Saturday, while Sunday should be dry, so we may be looking at closer to nine laps in the first race of the weekend.

Sector 1 runs from the start-finish line on the Hamilton Straight to Brooklands, towards the end of the lap when MotoGP and World Superbikes visit the circuit. It comprises Abbey, Farm, Village, The Loop, Aintree and the Wellington Straight.

Sector 2 takes in Brooklands, Luffield, Woodcote, Copse, Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel, before the drivers are fired out of one of the most recognisable sectors in world motorsport onto the Hangar Straight.

Sector 3 is relatively straightforward, with an overtaking opportunity into the long right-hander of Stowe, before a hard braking zone into the Vale/Club complex to end the lap.

What to look out for this weekend

Carlin have made a similarly-impressive start this year, topping the new Teams’ Championship by 19 points from last season’s runner-up, Hitech GP.

Fortec Motorsports impressed at Brands Hatch GP, with Ollie Bearman taking the lion’s share of the team’s points and sitting second in the Drivers’ standings. Roberto Faria and Mikkel Grundtvig occupy 13th and 15th respectively.

Fortec will be without Bearman this weekend, though, as he splits seat time this season between British F3, Italian F4 and ADAC F4.

He will look to extend his championship lead in Italian F4 as the series heads to Vallelunga, having taken two wins at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli earlier in June.

Douglas Motorsport may have a duel with Chris Dittmann Racing on their hands this season in the Teams’ standings. With only the best two results from each race being counted, the Douglas pairing of Dexter Patterson and Reema Juffali won’t be at a disadvantage to the three-car CDR line-up.

Patterson took his first British F3 podium in Race 3. The Corby-based team will hope their first rostrum of the year can be a springboard to the sort of results they’ve enjoyed during their time in British F3; Douglas have won at least one race in every season they’ve contested at this level, including the previous BRDC British Formula 4 series.

They have experience of running at the front for the length of a season, too – Kiern Jewiss and de Pauw were still in the title race entering the final round in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

CDR were elated with Race 1 at Brands Hatch, with the returning Ayrton Simmons winning before retiring from Race 2. He will carry a five-place grid penalty into Race 1 this weekend after the collision with Bart Horsten.

Meanwhile, there may be a battle of the debutants in the Teams’ Championship, with Arden Motorsport and Elite Motorsport occupying fourth and fifth after the first three races of the season.

Arden’s Alex Connor and Frederick Lubin outscored Tom Lebbon, José Garfias and Javier Sagrera in Race 1 and 2, but Sagrera’s second-place finish in Race 3 kept the reigning Ginetta Junior champions within ten points of their fellow British F3 newcomers after the first triple-header of the season.

What’s the schedule?

Thursday 24 June – Testing

Friday 25 June – Testing

Saturday 26 June

11:10am – Qualifying

3:25pm – Race 1

Sunday 27 June

10:10am – Race 2

4:15pm – Race 3

How can I keep up with the action?

The Checkered Flag will be bringing you all the action from every session on Saturday and Sunday.

Live timing is also provided by TSL Timing, with official live-streams of Sunday’s Race 2 and 3 on the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship YouTube channel.

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Stickler for track limits, covering BRDC British F3 and the British GT Championship. Twitter: @FutbolCallander
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