Written by Juan Arroyo, Edited by Sean McKean
Leonardo Fornaroli says he will aim to fight for the drivers’ and teams’ championships with Trident next year after a “disappointing” end to the season in FIA F3.
Three podiums across nine rounds helped the Italian driver finish 11th in the standings. Trident ended the season runner-up to long-time rivals Prema Racing in the teams’ championship, missing out on the title in the final round. After being beaten in the final standings by both teammates, Fornaroli does not feel he has achieved his goals for this year.
“We didn't finish the year as we wanted,” the Trident driver conceded. “After some unfortunate events and mistakes from my side, we finished the championship in a position that doesn't show our true potential.”
Fornaroli opened the season as a rookie with moderate expectations, explaining that his focus was placed on staying inside the top 10 and learning as much as possible. The Trident driver began feeling comfortable with the F3 machinery after analysing the Bahrain round.
“I started to feel very comfortable from Melbourne, where we had a very good pace in both qualifying and the race, and I was able to push the car to the limit without any mistakes that I was doing in Bahrain. This was thanks to a very good preparation on the simulator to understand what I was doing wrong in Bahrain.”
The Trident driver then encountered strong form in Monaco and Catalunya, claiming sprint podiums in back-to-back rounds. Both finishes were counterbalanced by a 24th-placed finish in the Monaco feature and a non-finish in Catalunya.
On average, Fornaroli finished eighth in sprint races and 15th in feature races - if non-finishes are accounted for. Consistency will thus be a bigger focus for Fornaroli heading into next season.
“It was very nice to have back-to-back podiums in the sprint races and it gave me a lot of confidence because we were understanding that our hard work was paying off. But, unfortunately, we had two very unlucky feature races which took away some of the confidence I had gained in the sprint races.
“In this season, we had huge potential, but we had also a lot of up and down moments, so for the next season I’m going to work a lot to be as consistent as possible, to take as many points as possible.”
Arguably the biggest leap in progression from the Trident driver came at Silverstone. He started the weekend by earning pole position in qualifying - his first in any series since 2021. Teammates Oliver Goethe and Gabriel Bortoleto followed in second and fifth place, setting the tone for a Trident-dominated weekend.
Fornaroli finished seventh in the sprint, scoring an additional point for the fastest lap of the race. On Sunday, starting from pole, he led 17 of the 22 laps before being overtaken by Goethe. The Italian driver finished second, tied for a season-best result.
“Silverstone was a stunning weekend. The car was amazing in every condition and we were very fast in every session,” Fornaroli told Divebomb. “This was also thanks to a proper pre-event simulator session, where I worked a lot with my engineer to be as perfect as possible.”
After the race, the Trident driver told fiaformula3.com: “It was a good race, very tricky. I started from pole and the first part of the race was very good, I was just trying to manage the tyres because Ollie was in DRS the whole race. I started to degrade the rears a bit and then Ollie, with the DRS, he managed to pass me and then pull away.
“Then the Safety Car came out and it started to rain with two laps to go so it was very difficult. I was just trying to bring the car home without taking any risks. We managed it and did a 1-2 which is very important for the Teams’ Championship and I’m quite happy with today. Of course, I wanted the win but congratulations to Ollie, he did a great race.”
Fornaroli’s qualifying form took a rise after Silverstone; he qualified third, second, and seventh in the following three rounds. Despite the leap in form, he took just seven points from the remainder of the season.
In Budapest, heavy tyre degradation left the Trident vulnerable to drivers behind. He would drop from third to ninth in the feature race and outside of the points-paying positions in the sprint.
Mixed conditions in Spa meant drivers were faced with the decision to gamble on wet tyres. Few drivers and teams - such as Jenzer’s Barnard - timed it right. Fornaroli dropped from second to 14th at the chequered flag.
In Monza, he dropped to eighth in the sprint race after receiving a penalty for track limits. The Trident driver received another five-second penalty in the feature race - which dropped him to fifteenth - for forcing another driver off the track.
“Unfortunately, we had a disappointing end to the season this year,” Fornaroli conceded. “For the next year my aim will be to fight for the drivers’ championship and, of course, also to bring Trident to the top of the team standings!”