The UK’s premier single-seater championship rolls into Rockingham after a scintillating opening round of the season at Oulton Park.
The BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, the leading single-seater category in the UK, is home to the Grand Prix stars of the future, as they learn their trade whilst doing battle in high-powered, identical, Tatuus-Cosworth machinery.
The 2017 grid features a wealth of talented racers, with a mixture of those returning for a second season plus drivers stepping up from junior categories, all aiming to follow in the footsteps of previous champions such as Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Daniel Ricciardo and win the British F3 title.
Oulton Park was the host circuit for the opening round of the season on Easter weekend, and it was Carlin’s Enaam Ahmed who swept the board with all three victories on a ‘Super Monday’ of racing. His historic treble ensures he heads to the 1.94-mile circuit at Rockingham as the championship leader having claimed the maximum 95 points available in Cheshire.
Ahmed’s team-mates James Pull and Cameron Das are in strong positions in second and third. Pull, who has made the step up from British F4 this year, finished as runner-up in race one before adding a second podium in the third and final encounter of the weekend. Das, the reigning US Formula 4 champion meanwhile, scorched to pole position in qualifying but his best result was second in race three. Nevertheless, his speed across the meeting ensures that he should be a major title contender this year and will definitely be one to watch this weekend.
Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley impressed too, claiming a runner-up finish in race two and he heads to Rockingham fourth in the overall standings. South African Callan O’Keeffe came close to spoiling Ahmed’s perfect weekend but, a slow getaway when starting from pole position in a restarted second race, denied him the opportunity. A healthy haul of points however puts him fifth in the championship ahead of Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail in sixth.
Lanan Racing’s Toby Sowery, who took five victories in British F3 last year, suffered a weekend not in keeping with his pre-season title favourite tag and will be looking to bounce back in Northamptonshire. After leading for the majority of race one at Oulton Park, he skated off into the gravel under pressure from Ahmed but recovered to third. Opening lap contact in race two resulted in a DNF before race three netted him a seventh place finish. He has plenty of ground to make up in the title fight and he will be looking to do so starting at Rockingham.
Fortec Motorsports’ line-up is completed by Dane Nicolai Kjaergaard, who lies eighth in the standings, and Manuel Maldonado, cousin of F1 race-winner Pastor. Australian Harry Hayek rounds out the top-10 driving for champion outfit Double R Racing, with his team-mates Brazilian Guilherme Samaia and 2015 British GT GT4 champion Jamie Chadwick suffering difficult weekends at the opening round with a number of DNFs.
Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing returns to the British Formula 3 paddock with a capacity three-car line-up for 2017. American Chase Owen is currently ninth overall with German teenager Nick Worm showing well on his single-seater debut to record a top-10 finish in race two. Brit Jordan Cane meanwhile will have to wait until the next round at Snetterton to make his debut in British F3 after he turns 16.
Scottish youngster Aaron di Comberti showed well in his Lanan Racing car at Oulton and holds 14th whilst Kenyan Jeremy Wahome, who returns for a second season in the UK’s premier single-seater championship, will be looking to move forward in the championship from 15th.
Whilst the drivers are scrapping for the British F3 crown, they are also fighting for vital FIA Super Licence points. To race in Formula 1, a driver needs to earn a Super Licence through a points system based on success in junior categories. The top-five drivers in British Formula 3 earn points towards their Super Licence, which helps them move a step closer to their dream of racing in the top tier of motorsport.
The championship also enjoys superb television coverage through extended highlights being broadcast on ITV4, BT Sport and Motors TV one week after each round. So no need to fear if you want to relive any of the racing from the weekend!
It is set to be another thrilling weekend of British F3 action with three races across Saturday and Sunday, so sit back and enjoy as the stars of the future do battle.
Saturday 29th April
Race One: 14:00
Sunday 30th April
Race Two: 09:50
Race Three: 16:30