Your season guide to the 2022 FIA Formula 3 Championship

It’s a return to normalcy for one of the most chaotic racing series in the world, FIA Formula 3 is back on your screens. With there being 26 driver changes with 15 rookies added to the grid, this is your comprehensive guide to 2022’s F3 season.

By Charlie Parker

2021 saw the biggest season ever, with three races per weekend, but that has been scraped for the two race format of previous years. 

Speaking of last year, the top four finishers from last year, Dennis Hauger, Jack Doohan, Clement Novalak and Frederik Vesti, have all graduated to Formula 2 leaving a massive opening for the championship.

Trident shocked us all last year by defeating Prema to the constructors championship, however only one driver remains from the battle, Arthur Leclerc for Prema. It will be interesting to see how the five other drivers fare in the battle of the constructors, or will another team enter the battle.

At the bottom of the grid, HWA have left the series after Van Amersfoort Racing purchased their assets. VAR have won multiple of the lower Formula titles and have helped drivers like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc come through their system.

Pre-season testing has brought some intrigue to the start of the season, with Prema seemingly to lack some pace compared to their closest challengers, with Hitech, ART and Trident all looking very good. 

Calendar

The Formula 3 season starts at Sakhir in Bahrain on the 18th  of March and takes a tour around Europe until the final weekend at Monza on the 9th of September. There are nine rounds overall with two in season tests in Spain on the 5th and 6th of April in Jerez and on the 15th and 16th in Barcelona. The season in order:

  • Bahrain (18-20 March)
  • Imola (22-24 April)
  • Barcelona (20-22 May)
  • Silverstone (1-3 July)
  • Spielberg (8-10 July)
  • Budapest (29-31 July)
  • Spa-Francorchamps (26-28 August)
  • Zandvoort (2-4 September)
  • Monza (9-11 September)

Weekend format

After bad reactions from drivers, teams and fans, F3 is reverting back to the two-race weekend format.

On Friday there is a 45-minute Free Practice session followed by a 30-minute qualifying session. On Saturday there is now just one Sprint Race, where the grid is determined by reversing the top 12 finishers of the qualifying session.

On Sunday, there is the usual Feature Race, where the grid is determined by the qualifying session on Friday.

Points system

With the return to the two race per weekend format, there is a new point system this year. In a weekend a driver can obtain a maximum of 39 points with a maximum of 117 points available for a whole team.

In the Sprint Race, first place will be awarded 10 points with it counting down until 10th place, who gets one point. 

In the Feature Race, first place will be awarded 25 points, with the rest of the top 10 earning, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points respectively.

The driver who takes pole position following the final classification of Friday’s Qualifying session will be awarded with two points. In each race, one point will be awarded to the driver who achieves the fastest lap time, as long as they finish in the top 10.

Teams and drivers

Prema

Oliver Bearman

Coming off a brilliant 2021 where he won both ADAC and Italian F4, Bearman joined the Ferrari Driver Academy, which led him to be the only rookie for Prema in their bid to regain the constructors championship. 

Arthur Leclerc

The brother of Ferrari driver Charles, Arthur will look to follow in his footsteps by claiming a F3 championship. Leclerc comes into the season in fine form after dominating the Formula Regional Asian Championship and with a F3 season under his belt, a title challenge will surely be in sight.

Jak Crawford

Crawford steps up to Prema in his second season after a campaign with Hitech which saw him put in inconsistent results. Crawford will be looking for a better season in a Prema and maybe claiming his first junior championship.

Zane Maloney (Trident) during pre-season testing at Bahrain | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Trident

Jonny Edgar

The Red Bull Junior driver scored 23 of Carlin’s 25 points in his first season and was rewarded with a step up to the defending Constructors Champions, Trident. Edgar will be looking to go one step further than Doohan did last year and bring the drivers’ championship to Trident.

Roman Stanek

It’s the third team in three seasons for Stanek who would like to find himself consistently in the points in a better car this time around. Two podiums in the Hitech is a good starting block but it could be now or never for Stanek.

Zane Maloney

He’s known as “the boy from Barbados” and after a good test, Maloney will hope to hit the ground running in his rookie season. 2019’s British F4 champion, Maloney spent the last two years in Euroformula Open and FRECA, but he has a tough time on his hands with two experienced teammates. 

Victor Martins (ART GP) during pre-season testing at Bahrain | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

ART GP

Victor Martins

Alpine Academy member Martins steps up to ART GP after a solid rookie season with MP, finishing fifth in the standings. Martins has moved from MP to ART before, a move that saw him win the Formula Renault Eurocup series, will lightning strike twice?

Gregoire Saucy

After winning FRECA in 2021, Saucy continues with ART into F3 in 2022. The Swiss driver impressed in post season testing after finishing third on day one just 24 hours after winning the FRECA title and will look to get his feet wet this season.

Juan Manuel Correa

It may not be exactly what he wanted, but Correa is extremely happy to return to F3 for another year. After returning from a life changing crash last year, Correa continues with ART as he tries to put his stamp on this season.

MP Motorsport

Caio Collet

Collet returns to MP for another year in F3. Collet joined Leclerc and Martins as the only rookies to finish in the top ten last season. Can the Brazilian do better than his two podiums he got last year?

Kush Maini

One of the more interesting stories on the grid, Maini’s F3 debut has been two years in the making after funding issues side-lined the Indian driver in 2021. The question will be how well Maini adapts after a year out.

Alexander Smolyar

Back for his third season in F3, Smolyar will look for more consistency in his move to MP. Smolyar spent two years at ART finishing 11th in his first season and sixth in his second. He scored two wins and a further two podiums in 2021 but also finished 20th or lower five times.

Charouz

Laszlo Toth

Making the seitch from Campos, Toth joins Charouz for his second season in F3 looking for his first points finish. After only finishing ahead of three part-time competitors last season, Toth will be looking for a much improved 2022.

Ayrton Simmons

British driver Simmons replaced Hunter Yeany for the final round of the 2021 season and will continue with Charouz in 2022. Simmons was beaten out by Carlin’s Zak O’ Sullivan in British F3 in 2021 but looks to hit the ground running in F3.

Francesco Pizzi

After a disappointing FRECA campaign, Pizzi will look to write the wrongs of that season in his rookie campaign in F3. Pizzi has impressed many by winning F4 UAE at the start of 2020 and then finishing second in Italian F4.

Isack Hadjar (Hitech GP) during pre-season testing at Bahrain | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Hitech GP

Kaylen Frederick

American-German driver Frederick scored the other 3 of Carlin’s 25 points last season and steps up to Hitech as the team looks to reverse course after a disappointing 2021 campaign that saw them drop to sixth in the constructors championship.

Isack Hadjar

That revival might be led by French rookie Hadjar. A member of the Red Bull Junior Academy, Hadjar comes off a solid FRAC campaign where he finished third and an amazing test in Bahrain, topping the timing sheets on two different days. 

Nazim Azman

Malaysian driver Azman will make his F3 debut this season after finishing fourth in the 2021 season of Euroformula Open. He becomes the first Malaysian driver to participate in F3.

Campos

David Vidales

Spanish driver Vidales is another rookie and joins the youngest team on the grid, with Vidales being the oldest. Vidales will benefit from low expectations as the team looks to grow as the season goes along. 

Hunter Yeany

After replacing Enzo Fittipaldi at Charouz for rounds five and six of the 2021 season, Yeany will compete in the whole season in 2022, this time with Campos. Yeany has come through the American developmental system, winning United States F4 championship as well as competing in Indy Pro 2000 and Formula Regional Americas Championship.

Pepe Marti

Pepe Marti has gradually improved and now finds himself in F3. Marti finished seventh in 2021’s F4 UAE series. He then finished third in Spanish F4 in the same year and he started 2022 by finishing second in the Formula Regional Asian Championship. 

Jenzer

Ido Cohen

Israeli racing driver Cohen moves from Carlin to Jenzer for his second season in F3. Cohen earned a deal after impressing Jenzer in their post season test last year and will look to improve on a pointless season.

William Alatalo

Finnish-Ethiopian racer Alatalo makes the step up from FRECA after finishing finishing 11th, claiming one podium. Alatalo brings experience after starting his single seater campaign all the way back in 2017.

Niko Kari

Finnish driver Kari returns to racing for the first time since competing in the 2020 European Le Mans Series. Kari brings a wealth of experience to Jenzer after competing in F3 European championship in 2016, GP3 in 2017 and 2018. Kari also competed in four races in F2 in 2018 and then a full season in F3 with Trident.

Carlin

Zak O’Sullivan

Williams Academy driver O’Sullivan makes the jump up to F3 after three very successful years in the British racing scene. O’Sullivan finished second in his car debut in the Ginetta Junior Championship, second in British F4 in 2020 and then in 2021, he won the GB3 championship. 

Brad Benavides

American-Spanish racer Benavides is the second of three rookies for Carlin. Benavides spent the first half of 2021 in FRECA before switching to Euroformula Open, where he finished in the top 10 in eight of his nine races.

Enzo Trulli

Son of former F1 driver Jarno, Enzo started 2021 by winning the F4 UAE championship. He then competed in the Euroformula Open where he claimed three podiums in the final four races of the season.

Van Amersfoort Racing

Franco Colapinto

Argentinian driver Colapinto hopes to kick off VAR’s foray into F3 in good fashion in his first season of F3. Despite being a rookie, Colapinto brings a ton of experience, including competing in the European and Asian Le Mans Series in an LMP2. 

Rafael Villagomez

Mexican driver Villagomez makes the switch to VAR after spending last year at HWA, the team VAR took over. Villagomez spent 2021 in both F3 and Euroformula Open, finding more success in the latter, claiming five podiums.

Reece Ushijima

Japanese-American who races under a British flag, Ushijima makes his F3 debut for VAR after a rapid rise through the ranks. Ushijima makes the step up from GB3 after finishing fourth with two wins.

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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