Formula 3

SEASON PREVIEW: 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship

4 Mins read
Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

The 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship gets underway at the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend (18-20 March), with first-year drivers comprising over half the grid.

The Checkered Flag takes a look at the circuits the Championship will visit, recaps the revised weekend format and runs through the drivers currently confirmed to compete in the first round.

Calendar

As always, all rounds support the Formula One World Championship and the FIA Formula 2 Championship.

The season begins with F3’s first-ever visit to the Middle East and Bahrain (18-20 March), before two two-day testing sessions at Circuito Jerez (05/06 April) and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (15/16 April).

Round Two also takes place at a new circuit for F3, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola (22-24 April), before moving back to Catalunya, the venue for 2021’s season opener (20-22 May).

There’s then a month-long break before a double-header at Silverstone (1-3 July) and the Red Bull Ring (8-10 July).

The season then moves onto the Hungaroring (29-31 July) and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (26-28 August) after another month’s break, though these should be much more bearable than the near-two month gap F2 endured between Silverstone and Monza in 2021.

Monza hosts the final round of the F3 season this year (9-11 September), just one week after the Championship’s first visit to Zandvoort.

Weekend and points format

Last year brought a much-maligned calendar and weekend format to both Formula 2 and Formula 3, and CEO of both series, Bruno Michel saw fit to revert to a more traditional schedule this year.

Fridays will comprise a 45-minute Practice session and a single 30-minute Qualifying session, with a maximum 40-minute Sprint Race taking place on the Saturday.

The grid for the Sprint race will be determined by the Qualifying result, with the top 12 reversed.

The Feature race on Sunday will be a maximum 45 minutes; the grid for this second F3 race of the weekend is set entirely by the official Qualifying result.

Unlike F2, there is no mandatory pitstop in the Feature race.

Feature Race pole will still see points awarded on the Friday, but two down from four in 2021. This will help to keep the Drivers’ standings close, and limit the damage done to drivers such as Arthur Leclerc whose Qualifying performances last year often saw him fighting back up the order after a poor starting position.

There are no points awarded for Sprint Race ‘pole’, as this spot is taken by the driver who qualified 12th on Friday.

The Sprint Race will allocate points to the top ten finishers, with ten points for the winner running down to one point for tenth place.

The Feature Race has 25 points available for the winner, with tenth place yielding a single point as in Formula 1.

Another similarity to F1 is the allocation of a point to the driver with the fastest lap time in each race, as long as they are classified in the top ten.

Entries

Trident – P1 in 2021

Italian team Trident pipped compatriots Prema Racing to the Teams’ Championship in 2021, but bring an entirely new line-up for 2022.

Red Bull junior Jonny Edgar moves across from Carlin and inherits the number one plate. The 2020 ADAC Formula 4 champion is joined by third-year driver Roman Stanek and 2019 British F4 champion Zane Maloney.

Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

Prema – P2 in 2021

Prema have delivered the first three FIA F3 Drivers’ champions, Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri and Dennis Hauger.

For 2022, they retain race-winner Arthur Leclerc, while ADAC F4 and Italian F4 champion Oliver Bearman and 2020 ADAC F4 runner-up Jak Crawford.

ART Grand Prix – P3 in 2021

Victor Martins ended 2021 as the highest-placed rookie in fifth; the Alpine Academy driver is the highest-placed returning driver, moving from MP Motorsport to French outfit ART Grand Prix.

The 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup champion is joined at ART by 2022 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine champion Gregoire Saucy and returning Juan Manuel Correa.

Credit: FIA Formula 3

MP Motorsport – P4 in 2021

Martins’ fellow Alpine Academy driver Caio Collet returns with MP Motorsport, having won the 2018 French F4 Championship.

Alexander Smolyar withdrew from the season the week before the first round, but MP announced he would compete with the team under a neutral flag and without SMP Racing support on Thursday (17 March).

Kush Maini didn’t race as much as he would have liked in 2021 due to budgetary issues, competing in the FIA Endurance Trophy (LMP2) and finishing third in the F3 Asian Championship. He finished second to Kaylen Frederick in the 2020 BRDC British F3 Championship.

Charouz Racing System – P5 in 2021

Charouz Racing System retain one of their three drivers from 2021, in Hungarian Laszlo Toth, who finished 32nd last year.

Joining him at the Czech outfit are GB3 Championship record point-scorer and race-winner Ayrton Simmons and 2020 F4 UAE champion Francesco Pizzi.

Hitech Grand Prix – P6 in 2021

Hitech Grand Prix will enter an entirely new line-up for 2022.

The last BRDC British F3 champion, Kaylen Frederick joins after a debut season with Carlin in which he missed out on a podium at the Red Bull Ring, due to a collision with Juan Manuel Correa which saw him miss the next round at the Hungaroring with a broken thumb.

He then missed the round at Spa with COVID-19, being replaced by Jake Hughes, who competes in Formula 2 with Van Amersfoort Racing.

Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar impressed in pre-season testing in Bahrain, and joins Frederick and Nazim Azman, the Malaysian having finished fourth in Euroformula Open in 2021.

Campos Racing – P8 in 2021

Spanish team Campos Racing have entered the youngest line-up on the grid, with David Vidales, who finished tenth in FRECA in 2021, 2020 US Formula 4 champion Hunter Yeany and Josep Maria Marti, the Spaniard finishing fourth in Spanish F4.

Jenzer Motorsport – P9 in 2021

Jenzer Motorsport also bring an all-new line-up for 2022, with Ido Cohen moving from Carlin and William Alatalo graduating from an 11th-place finish in FRECA last year.

Former Red Bull junior Niko Kari joins for the first round in Bahrain, having finished third in the LMP2 class of the European Le Mans series in 2021. At time of writing, the team have not announced who will fill the #24 seat permanently.

Carlin – P10 in 2021

Carlin have finished in the bottom three of the Teams’ standings over the first three years of FIA Formula 3 despite strong results in most of its other series.

Team Principal Trevor Carlin has promised “a bit of a re-structure”, and the Surrey outfit has entered an all-rookie line-up for 2022.

GB3 champion Zak O’Sullivan will face several of his 2021 title rivals, while competing alongside Brad Benavides and 2021 F4 UAE champion Enzo Trulli.

Van Amersfoort Racing – New entry, replacing HWA Racelab

Van Amersfoort Racing replace German outfit HWA Racelab in both FIA F3 and F2 for 2022, and enter an all-rookie line-up with a mixture of experience.

Argentine driver Franco Colapinto is 2019 Spanish F4 champion, and finished third in the LMP2 class of the Asian Le Mans Series, alongside fourth in the same class of the European Le Mans Series.

Rafael Villagomez steps up after an eighth-place finish in FRECA in 2021, with GB3 race-winner Reece Ushijima graduating from fourth place with Hitech.

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