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Feeder series preview: Monaco

Written by Jacob Awcock and Ellie Nicholls, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Formula 3

Formula 3 returns to the principality, the jewel in the crown of motorsport races, as an invaluable opportunity for these young drivers to test themselves around the hardest circuit in motorsport. As the championship begins to tighten up and drivers get into the swing of competitive racing again, Monaco is set to be a weekend not to be missed.

The circuit

Arguably the most historic circuit on the motorsport calendar, the Principality plays host to the rich and famous and where the boats sound their horns for the drivers each lap. It’s seen drivers thrive and fail, providing the ultimate test for drivers of any calibre.

First used as a racetrack in 1950, the layout hasn’t changed much since those days, the 19 corners weaving their way around the streets, plotting out a 3.337 km long circuit, used as public roads on race days. 

The barriers are always near, and never fail to catch drivers out, leading to multiple safety cars usually disrupting a driver’s rhythm and flow throughout a race.

Just one DRS zone is available to the drivers, down the main ‘straight’, in an attempt to assist overtaking. However, even with the aid of DRS, overtaking is often at a minimum around Monaco, and when one does happen, it is usually spectacular. 

Last time out

Last time round in Imola, the championship changed hands again, this time in favour of Italian Leonardo Fornaroli who took the championship lead at his home race in Italy, having secured a podium finish in the feature race. It was a disappointing weekend for Luke Browning, who slipped to second in the championship, albeit with a small deficit to close. 

However, the weekend belonged to Oliver Goethe, who stood out during the race weekend, claiming a sprint race win, and coming perilously close to a feature race win, before settling for second place. The German caught Van Amersfoort Racing driver Noel Leon napping, following the virtual safety car conclusion on the last lap of the sprint, and shot past the Mexican. 

However, the win wasn't announced until after the chequered flag: Goethe had been given a five-second penalty due to a safety car infringement, applied immediately at the conclusion of the race, dropping him to second. However, just a couple of hours later, the penalty was removed, moving the German back into top spot. 

More drama was to come though, with Tim Tramnitz  handed a five-second penalty on the last lap, also removed after the race, but, more importantly, second place Leon was given a five-second penalty after the race, demoting him to third, and promoting Tramnitz to second. 

Goethe was the one to watch across the Imola weekend and he’ll look to continue this form into Monaco; Image Credits: Formula One

In the feature race, Goethe came close, but had to settle for second, behind Sami Meguetounif who claimed his maiden Formula 3 victory having started from third on the grid, at the tail end of a Trident 1-2-3. 

The Frenchman claimed Trident’s second home feature race win at Imola, with teammate Leonardo Fornaroli making it a Trident 1-3, taking the championship lead from Luke Browning,  the Brit coming not far off a second podium of the season. 

Goethe’s impressive Imola form pushed him up to fifth in the championship, just four points behind joint third-placed Prema teammates Dino Beganovic and Gabriele Mini.

Last time in Monaco 

A dominant performance from Gabriele Mini in the feature race saw the Italian secure his first win round the principality, leading from start to finish and never looking in doubt as he fended off Dino Beganovic to move up to second in the world championship standings. 

Having claimed a crucial pole position in qualifying, it was all about the start, as Mini explained post-race: “As I said on Friday, Quali is key,” a common saying around the Principality, with overtaking usually at a minimum, but safety cars inevitable. 

A safety car period was required to recover the stricken Rodin Carlin of Ido Cohen who crashed with teammate Oliver Gray early on, adding to Rodin Carlin’s troubles.

Marti was unstoppable on Saturday in the sprint. Image Credits: Formula One

In the sprint race, it was Josep Maria ‘Pepe’ Marti, who produced a dominant display to win by over eight seconds to Leanardo Fornaroli, who held second, while Grégoire Saucy finished third, allowing Trident to extend their lead at the top of the constructors championship.

Fornaroli will look to replicate his impressive Monaco form this weekend, and extend his lead in the championship, while Luke Browning will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing Imola by his standards. 

Formula 2

Formula 2 returns once again this weekend in Monaco, for what promises to be an action-packed weekend at one of motorsport's most iconic and prestigious circuits. The combination of a rookie-dominated field, and the difficulty of the track promises exciting racing and its fair share of chaos — certainly not a weekend to miss. 

With many low-speed corners and a decreased demand for braking due to its low average speed, the circuit itself is unique, and a technically demanding track for both the teams and the young drivers. 

Its twisty track and narrow walls limit overtaking opportunities and tend to punish even the smallest mistakes harshly — creating even more pressure for the drivers, and excitement for motorsport fans.

The narrow walls of the street circuit add to the difficulty of the track, and make overtaking more difficult; Image credit: Formula 2

It was an eventful sprint race last time out in Monaco, with multiple retirements and safety cars contributing to the drama. The first incident occurred on the opening lap, as contact between Kush Maini and Clement Novalak caused multiple drivers to come to a halt on track behind them, bringing out the first safety car. 

Race leader Isack Hadjar, who had started on reverse pole position, suffered from engine problems once racing resumed, and was forced to retire. Meanwhile, Ayumu Iwasa took the lead to claim his third victory of the year, despite a second safety car period and a close battle with Jehan Daruvala.

Frederik Vesti started on pole position for the feature race, and maintained his position in the opening laps of the race, in what was a relatively quiet start to the Sunday. 24 laps in, Jack Doohan crashed, prompting a safety car and after a few minutes the red flags came out, bringing the race to a halt.

Once the race resumed, those who used the red flag period for their mandatory tyre changes vaulted from the back of the race to the points positions as their strategies paid off. 

Meanwhile Vesti maintained the lead of the race ahead of championship rival Theo Pourchaire to claim his second victory of the season, which boosted him just five points clear of Pourchaire at the top of the standings.

Frederik Vesti led the race last year around the iconic Monte Carlo streets; Image Credit: Formula 2

Although Zane Maloney still leads the 2024 drivers' Championship, his lead over the rest of the field is slowly diminishing, with Isack Hadjar rapidly ascending the standings thanks to his strong performances over the recent weekends. Could we see a new championship leader this weekend in the form of Hadjar, or will Maloney return to his winning ways?

Newly-named AIX racing will also be looking to continue their strong form from Imola, after claiming not only their first points of the season, but their very first podium, as Joshua Duerksen finished third in last weekend's Feature Race.

Paul Aron, another driver who could overtake Zane Maloney for the championship lead this weekend, will be aiming to iron out his mistakes from last weekend, narrowly missing out on his maiden Formula Two victory to Franco Colapinto in Imola. 

As always, qualifying will be particularly important in Monte Carlo, and as the team with the most pole positions so far this year, Invicta Racing are in a good position to do well. 

In the last four years, the winner of the Feature Race started on pole position, due to the limited overtaking opportunities. Although, overtaking is certainly not impossible, and nothing is decided until the chequered flag flies. 

In a weekend jam-packed with motorsport action across many different series, Formula 2 promises, as always, to deliver excitement, chaos and good racing in Monaco — make sure to tune in to the action.


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