The Young Talents in the Spotlight for the 2023 Formula 3 Season
Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Simran Kanthi
Formula 3 is an important step on the motorsport ladder. After all, it is the stepping stone for every youngster and marks the beginning of a defined path towards the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula 1. 30 of the best young talents battle it out every year in a highly competitive field, to be crowned champion, and to get noticed by Formula 2 and Formula 1 teams, looking to put themselves in prime position to be the next big star in motorsport.
Drivers come from a variety of series within the motorsport world to this prestigious series, passionate, fiery, and looking to be the best and potentially catch the eyes of F1 teams. Perform well in F3 and it could do wonders for the stars of tomorrow…just ask Max Verstappen, who jumped from GP3 (F3’s predecessor) to a seat at Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) for 2015. F1 teams also look into the series to sign drivers excelling in the ever-competitive series, for their respective driver academies, rewarding these drivers with greater exposure to the sport and a better chance at making it to F1. And this is why Formula 3 is one of the most sought-after motorsport series to date.
And while it is definitely a tough task to choose only a few talents from a grid of 30 drivers, these are some drivers to keep an eye on as the season progresses…
The first driver we will touch upon in this article is the young Ferrari Driver Academy protégé, Dino Beganovic. Driving for one of the best-performing units in the series, Prema, the nineteen-year-old will definitely be in the spotlight, as he goes about his first season in the series. The Swede-Bosnian won the most recent running of the Formula Regional European Championship, his consistency and a strong run of seven top-two finishes in a row in the initial part of the season giving him a head start over his rivals, as he went on to win the championship at the final event of the season in Mugello.
Beganovic also has two Italian and one Swedish karting championships, the former coming in successive years in 2018 and 2019. Having been signed up by the FDA in early 2020, he made his single-seater debut in 2020 at the Italian F4 for Prema, going on to finish third in his rookie season in the series, behind eventual champion Gabriele Mini and runner-up Francesco Pizzi, both of whom will line-up alongside the Prema driver in their debut F3 seasons. Should Beganovic match his consistency from earlier series, it could be a big step forward in fulfilling his dreams of making it to F1.
Now a Williams Academy Driver, the Argentine heads into his second season of FIA Formula 3, hungrier than ever for success. A strong showing in his rookie season for fellow debutants Van Amersfoort Racing, saw the nineteen-year-old finish ninth in the standings, two sprint race victories at Imola and Monza, along with a trio of rostrum appearances across the season underlined the Argentine’s potential and one that ultimately rewarded the young talent with a spot at the aforementioned Williams Driver Academy.
Having announced his move to the established MP Motorsport, the Argentine will definitely be one to watch out for in 2023, as he looks to kick on from his rookie season success and add to his trophy cabinet in the upcoming season.
Heading into his sophomore season of Formula 3 aged only 18, Zak O’Sullivan will definitely be one to keep an eye on across the season. The Englishman definitely impressed in his rookie season, continuing his fruitful relationship with Carlin, for whom the youngster finished runner-up in GB4 and then triumphed in GB3.
His first season in F3 was marred by inconsistency and crashes, his points tally of 54 and 11th in the standings undermining the talent he possessed. His greatest drive came in a feature race of changing conditions at the Hungaroring, overtaking 13 cars in a span of four laps on a damp track. He also scored a brace of podiums during the season. Now at Prema, O’Sullivan will definitely be looking to impress in his second season of FIA Formula 3 and target higher placings during the season.
Son of the famous Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastian Montoya made a sole Formula 3 appearance at Zandvoort last season, stepping in at Campos Racing for the injured Hunter Yeany, who was, in turn, filling in for Oliver Goethe, the latter fulfilling his Euroformula Open commitments. After a 17th place in Free Practice, the Colombian qualified high up in seventh, albeit after a red flag thwarted drivers from improving their lap times. The seventeen-year-old battled it out alongside more established F3 drivers, finishing eighth in both races on his Formula 3 debut, scoring the sole point for Campos that weekend.
His impressive showing that weekend underlined his potential, and it was not long before Red Bull were convinced, snapping up the youngster into their famed driver academy. Now driving for Hitech Pulse-Eight, Montoya will be looking to show that he has what it takes to compete in a highly competitive field of drivers and that his one-off at Zandvoort was no fluke.
Entering his third season of Formula 3, Caio Collet can be considered a veteran of the series. A highly successful junior career, capped off by a runners-up finish in the Formula Renault Eurocup saw the Brazilian secure a seat at MP Motorsport for the 2021 Formula 3 season.
Collet showed flashes of brilliance during his debut season, with a fearless drive at a sodden Spa-Francorchamps earning the praise of many, on his way to ninth in the standings. Having been retained by the team for 2022, the twenty-year-old took two sprint race wins and a brace of podiums, bettering his rookie season showing and finishing eighth in the standings.
Moving to Van Amersfoort Racing for 2023, Collet will be looking for a strong showing for the Dutch outfit, as he looks to convert his occasional flashes of brilliance into regular strong outings.
Another driver entering his sophomore season with a point to prove, Gregoire Saucy will be looking to make amends for a tough 2022 Formula 3 season, when he finished down in 15th scoring only 30 points. The Swiss driver admitted his season masked the underlying pace he possessed, a series of crashes and retirements denting his confidence across the season.
The twenty-three-year-old definitely is a force on his day, dominating the Formula Regional European Championship on his way to the title. While those were golden days with the ART team, he will be looking to turn back the clock to those days and put together a strong showing in his second season for the ART team in 2023.
Gabriele Mini, Paul Aron
The duo were Beganovic’s closest rivals during his triumphant season in the Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA), often running him close before both their seasons faded out.
Aron will be partnering Beganovic and O’Sullivan at Prema for 2023, and the Estonian was a strong qualifier, taking seven pole positions in the aforementioned FRECA season. Despite his race pace paling out in comparison to Beganovic and Mini, Aron did have his moments of brilliance across the season, a clean sweep of the weekend at Zandvoort, taking pole positions and race wins for both races. He also put in strong showings at Barcelona and Mugello, although it wasn’t enough to win the title. Should his race pace be as good as his qualifying pace, we could see the Mercedes junior driver being a potential championship contender across the season.
While Aron and Beganovic will drive for Prema in 2023, Minì will be performing driving duties for Hitech Pulse-Eight. The young Italian had a strong season, with a string of podiums and three race wins seeing him only finish runner-up to his Swedish-Bosnian rival by the end of the season. Although, he did have his fair share of bad luck, losing out on two podiums due to a disqualification and a late-race penalty. He will be looking to show strong pace in his rookie season of Formula 3 and battle Beganovic and Mini once again.
And that concludes our round-up of the drivers to keep an eye on during the upcoming F3 season. These are our takes on those who will be in the spotlight. Would you agree with our choices? Who do you think will be in the spotlight for next season? Do let us know below.