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Feeder Series Preview: Spain

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Caitlyn Gordon, and Sophie Harvey

The Feeder Series paddock is expected to be buzzing at Barcelona, as Formula 2, Formula 3, as well as the all-female F1 Academy are travelling to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Spanish fiesta. With the weekend nearing, DIVEBOMB previews the weekend ahead for you. 

Formula 3 preview: Spain

“Welcome to a new era of Formula 3!” were the words of famous Formula 2 commentator Alex Jacques, as 30 drivers and 10 teams arrived at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on one chilly Saturday morning in 2019, for the maiden outing of a new series — Formula 3. 

Marked out as the newest step along the road to Formula One, this series was intended to streamline the pathway to the pinnacle of motorsport, with drivers from many regional series set to converge at Formula 3, the lowest rung in the ladder to Formula One. 

On that day, the grid consisted of young drivers in the form of Robert Shwartzmann, Marcus Armstrong, Christian Lundgaard, Liam Lawson, Jehan Daruvala, Jake Hughes, and even a young Japanese driver going by the name Yuki Tsunoda. 

All these names can be found in the higher echelons of motorsport today. Such was the testament to the series, and its prowess of producing talented drivers, ready to take up the reins of motor racing in the future. 

It would be Prema Racing taking home the spoils on Formula 3’s debut weekend, with Shwartzmann declared the winner of the first race on Saturday, while his Indian teammate Daruvala won out the following day. 

It would only be poetic for the series to return to Barcelona for its 100th outing, and even more so for the spotlight to once again lie on Prema Racing and a driver leading the championship — Gabriele Mini. 

The Italian, an Alpine junior, heads into the Spanish round with the championship lead, in his quest to claim yet another championship for Rene Rosin’s team, who are the most successful in the short history of the series. 

He will be looking over his shoulders towards the likes of Luke Browning, Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli, his teammates Dino Beganovic and Arvid Lindblad, as well as the German duo of Oliver Goethe and Tim Tramnitz, all of whom will be chasing success at Barcelona, kicking off a crucial run of races on the best possible note. 

Another team buoyed heading into Barcelona would be Jenzer Motorsport, as Matias Zagazeta returns to the team, having missed Monaco due to appendicitis, with James Hedley standing in for the weekend. 

A season that has flown by rapidly, with eight drivers having claimed a victory this season in eight races, and this only goes to highlight the extremely competitive nature of a Formula 3 field. Will Barcelona give us a ninth different winner? Or will any of our eight winners from earlier go on to become the first double winner? The answer lies, hidden in the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. 

The track for the weekend

The course to tackle for our contingent of drivers will be the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a venue capable of giving the drivers and teams a workout, throwing all types of corners for the drivers to get through. 

The main overtaking point will be the right-hander of turn one, a medium-speed right-hander coming at the end of a kilometre-long straight, the first DRS zone of the circuit. Drivers would look to position their cars for the quick left-hander of turn two, setting themselves up for the winding, never-ending right-hander of turn three. 

Easily flat out in a Formula One car, Formula 3 drivers will need to lift in the middle of this corner, as the cars will not have the downforce to tackle the corner at such staggering speeds. After turn three comes a short straight, before another meandering right-hander greets the drivers. 

Drivers will then approach the slow, winding left-hander of turn five, with gravel awaiting them on the exit if they run wide, before a slight kink of turn six leads into the tricky chicane of turns seven and eight. 

Once again, gravel awaits on the exit, drivers preparing for the quick right-hander of turn nine, a small lift needed at the corner before the second DRS zone awaits the drivers. 

The winding left-hander of turn ten presents an opportunity for drivers to make an overtake, and they will be jockeying for position along turn 11, to the similarly-meandering right-hander turn 12. 

From here, it becomes single-file through the quick right-handers of turns 13 and 14, with no chicane to interrupt momentum, as drivers file onto the main straight, setting themselves up for an overtake into turn one. 

Although a dull affair at times for Formula One, Formula 3 and Formula 2 usually put on a thrilling set of races for the fans, with plenty of overtaking and strategy inbound. 

Last time out in Monaco

It was a weekend for the Alpine juniors in Monaco, as Nicola Tsolov and Gabriele Mini took victories around the streets of Monaco, in yet another action-packed Formula 3 weekend. 

Despite the narrow confines of the Principality, crashes and overtakes took the limelight. A major incident at Casino Square saw Arvid Lindblad veer into the path of ART racer Christian Mansell, who then tagged the Red Bull junior around, with the likes of Alex Dunne, Cian Shields, and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak caught up in the melee. 

This incident triggered the red flag, and the aftermath of the incident proved rather comical, with the recovery vehicles unable to separate the stricken orange MP Motorsport from the ART, almost as if the former was wedged into the red and black ART car. 

Yet, racing resumed after a short interval, before Kacper Sztuka, now no longer a Red Bull junior, would stop on the exit of the pit lane after a run-in with Sophia Floersch, triggering a safety car. 

It would be smooth sailing for Tsolov, who would convert reverse-grid pole to victory at Monaco, ahead of Tramnitz and van Hoepen. 

Pole-sitter Gabriele Mini would convert his start at the head of the field to an extremely special Monaco victory on Sunday, with Mansell making up for his troubles on Saturday to finish second, ahead of Browning in third.   

His victory wouldn’t be straightforward, though, as the Frenchman had to brave three safety car restarts, caused due to three different collisions which saw Charlie Wurz, Sami Meguetounif, and Laurens van Hoepen out of the race. 

Nevertheless, Mini braved it out, and emerged on top. Armed with the championship lead, he will be motivated to become the first driver on the grid to win two races this season, and extend his championship lead. 

Formula 2 preview

After nearly a month break, the 22 drivers prepare for the sixth round of the season, heading to the notorious Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. 

Last time out around the 2.894-mile long circuit, PREMA were untouchable. Frederik Vesti topped the timing sheets in practice before his rookie teammate Oliver Bearman went on to secure pole position. The Italian’s team dominance continued into the race with Vesti claiming the sprint victory and Beaman locking in his second feature race win a day later. 

This season has been a complete contrast in success, with both PREMA drivers struggling to adapt to the car. Though the pair have fought their way up to the midfield, the team have only mustered up 66 points in the constructor standings with neither star driver able to make it to podium. Despite this, could the Italian team be holding something up their sleeve for Spain and bounce back?

Monaco wrap up

Just before the break, the drivers took to the windy roads around the crown jewel circuit in Monaco. Heading into the weekend Zane Maloney stood at the top of the standings, however, an unfortunate collision with Taylor Barnard on the closing stages of the feature race would prove costly as the Rodin racer dropped to third in the standings. 

Paul Aron edged out the Barbadian and leaped up into first after finishing third, meaning the Estonian has secured a podium in each of the five rounds of the Formula 2 season. Just behind him, Isack Hadjar slotted into second just two points behind him. 

The Frenchman had an eventful start to the weekend, just narrowly missing out on a catastrophic crash in the tunnel as Ritomo Miyata’s car began slowing down during qualifying. Despite the close call, the Red Bull junior qualified in second, just mere tenths off Richard Verschoor’s time of 1:21.283.

Whilst in the principality, two new race winners emerged after two chaotic races. Saturday’s sprint saw Taylor Barnard secure both his maiden Formula 2 victory and first points of the season. This win didn’t come easy, with two incidents causing a safety car and the third causing a red flag.

The red flag was brought out after a tight battle between O’Sullivan and Maloney took place around the Grand Hotel hairpin which saw the pair collide into one another. Though this incident wasn’t detrimental to either’s race, the next time they touched at just a couple of corners away at Rascasse wasn’t to be so lucky, this time ending Maloney’s hope for points. 

Barnard was under pressure for the final five-laps, however, remained composed under the pressure, built a steady gap and crossed the line five seconds ahead of Gabriel Bortoleto. 

Sunday’s feature wasn’t short of chaos either, with Zak O’Sullivan leapfrogging from 14th to first after an incredible strategy call from Art Grand Prix. 

A delight for some was disappointment for others, after leading the race and steering clear of trouble for a majority of the race, Hadjar was taken by surprise after O’Sullivan sneaked his way up to the front of the pack. 

The Frenchman made his frustration known over the radio, expressing his disappointment about the unexpected late lunge from the Briton. 

With how tight the championship battle is, could a new leader take the lead after Formula 2’s weekend in space? 

F1 Academy Preview

After an almost two-month wait, F1 Academy is returning to our screens this weekend for another round of all-female racing action — if the last two rounds were anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

Unlike earlier this season, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a returning addition to this year’s calendar. Last time, we witnessed a show of composure and resilience by Emely De Heus in the first race of the weekend — having been dealt a fair share of bad luck, she converted pole to win to fend off a Lena Bühler and clinch her maiden win.

With the Dutchwoman having an equally as unfortunate season so far, De Heus will be one to watch. Could she pull off another incredible comeback? There’s certainly a chance.

As the winner of what was F1 Academy’s second race of the weekend, it will be worth keeping an eye on Amna Al Qubaisi too. Starting on the front row, a blisteringly fast drive led to the Emirati securing a second F1 Academy win with a 4.1s lead.

It’s easy to conclude MP Motorsport really shone around here this time last year, so it will certainly be intriguing to see whether they can do it again. Currently sitting at the bottom of the team’s championship, I’m sure it’s what they will be hoping for.

Back in Miami

Although F1 Academy’s visit to the Miami International Autodrome feels like a distant memory, it’s hard to forget the chaos that unfolded. 

Race 1 saw Pulling clinch her second win by a phenomenal 5.2s — although it was the first she secured on track, having inherited a win in Jeddah after Doriane Pin took the chequered flag — twice. The podium was rounded out by title-rival Pin and home-hero Chloe Chambers, who’s incredible drive from P7 to P3 earned Haas’ first visit to the top-three.

Though, there wasn’t quite as much jubilation across the rest of the grid. In the opening stages, Tina Hausmann had been struck by Aurelia Nobels, ending her race after contact with the barriers dealt a significant amount of damage.

William’s Lia Block also seemed to struggle, bringing out the yellow flags as she sent herself into another spin. 

Fast forward to Race 2, the Pulling domination continued with another Alpine-liveried win — joined on the podium by Bianca Bustemante and Pin respectively. The McLaren Junior had a brilliant launch off the line in P2, although it wasn’t quite enough to sail past our championship leader. 

Elsewhere, chaos ensued. Hausmann’s unlucky streak continued, as Lola Lovinfosse’s lock up dealt a puncture to the Swiss, resulting in an unavoidable retirement.

Lovinfosse’s relentlessness continued to display itself — although, not at the cost of others. A final attempt to overtake Nobels sent the pair into a whirlwind, spinning and losing their positions. Whilst both did rejoin, it was far from what either would have wanted — especially for the Frenchwoman, who’s over-enthusiastic moves earnt herself 20s of penalties in just one outing.

As for the championship, Pulling leads with a score of 99 points, followed by Pin and Weug with tallies of 65 and 51 respectively. In the team’s championship, the scoreboard is spearheaded by the Italian outfit, PREMA Racing with a cumulative 124 points. They are far from an unassailable lead though, with Rodin Motorsport sitting just two points behind them.

So with our focus now on Barcelona, will Pulling be able to maintain her lead in Barcelona, or will Pin reclaim her championship lead? With so many driver’s already primed with experience around this circuit, there’s even a chance we’ll have an all-new winner. 

Make sure you tune in, you won’t want to miss this one.


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