Alex Smolyar FIA F3

Leclerc, MP Motorsport dominate: 3 takeaways from FIA F3 testing at Barcelona & Jerez

We may have not seen any racing but the F3 teams were not resting as there were two in-season tests in Spain, the first at Jerez and the second at Barcelona. As this is testing, you have to take everything with a grain of salt but let’s look at the takeaways from the four days in Spain.

By Charlie Parker

At least teams will be prepared for wet races

The two days in Jerez were spent, mostly, in the wet. In the morning session of day one, not many teams went out immediately to set times, with some only completing installation laps early on. All the drivers did eventually trek out into the wet before the track dried up later in the morning. Every team started to set dry laps but not everyone got a lap on slicks in, with Arthur Leclerc topping the timing screens setting a lap five tenths quicker than anyone else.

Day two started again in wet conditions. With this time a much slower morning session, with some drivers not setting even a Sprint Race length of laps. Leclerc once again topped the timing screens, beating out Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan by six thousandths of a second. 

Luckily the afternoon session was dry, as well as the two days in Barcelona, so the teams could get their dry runs in.

Gregoire Saucy FIA F3 2022
Gregoire Saucy (ART GP) during FIA F3 testing | Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

MP dominate Barcelona 

It was a good two days in sunny Catalunya for the MP Motorsport outfit as they found at least two of their cars in the top 10 in all but the very last session of the Barcelona test. 

In the morning of the first day, Kush Maini was the highest runner for the team in sixth with Alex Smolyar in ninth. The afternoon session was much quicker for the team with Roman Stanek of Trident stopping an MP top three.

Collet, in his qualifying simulation, set the fastest time overall of the second day. With his teammate, Smolyar ending up just behind him in that morning session. With Maini back in 11th.

The afternoon session didn’t see the same success as the teams who did performance runs saw themselves in the top 10.

It’s still hard to separate most teams

F3 continues to be one of the closest series in the world as going into race two at Imola it’s still hard to separate anyone. Only one session, day one afternoon session in Jerez, did not have at least five different teams represented in the top 10 by at least one driver.

Van Amersfoort Racing have remained in the conversation thanks to Franco Colapinto. Zak O’Sullivan has continued to show his talent by setting quick times in the Carlin. And then there are the usual Trident, ART GP, MP and Prema fighting it out for positions in the top 10 with Isack Hadjar keeping his head afloat in the Hitech GP.

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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