F3 Season Preview 2020

Image: F3 at Silverstone 2019. Copyright: JakerSports/Motor Witness.

The following article was written by Kieran Mackintosh. You can follow Kieran on Twitter @MrMackintoast.

Prema Racing

Drivers: Oscar Piastri, Frederik Vesti, Logan Sargeant.

Prema were by far the team to beat in 2019, scoring approximately 2.35 times as many points as second placed team Hitech Grand Prix. However, they began to lose dominance as the season progressed and will be looking to get back up to the dominance they showed with saw them took feature and sprint race victories in Spain and France last year. With their 2019 trio of Armstrong, Schwartzman and Daruvala all moving up to Formula 2, Prema field an all-new lineup for 2020 which includes two Formula 3 debutants. The team will be hoping that the young trio can adjust quickly to life in Formula 3 and get up to winning ways to help secure a second Drivers/Constructors championship double.

Oscar Piastri- comes into Formula 3 as a debutant in 2020, despite testing Trident’s GP3 car post season in 2018. In 2019, off the back of winning the Formula Renault Eurocup series with 7 race victories, he competed in another post season test this time with Prema’s Formula 3 car and consequently found himself earning a call up to their lineup in 2020. This was also enough to get the Australian signed up to the Renault Sport Academy.

Frederik Vesti- remains with Prema for 2020, having won the team the Formula Regional European Championship in 2019. The Dane was 131 points clear of nearest rival Enzo Fittipaldi and won 5 consecutive races in Hungary and Austria. Vesti currently has no backing and will be looking to compete near the front with the dominant Prema team if he is to secure an F1 backing to help him progress up the ladder in the future.

Logan Sargeant- the only one of Prema’s 2020 trio with previous experience in Formula 3, Logan Sargeant competed for the uncompetitive Carlin Buzz Racing in 2019 scoring points in France, Hungary and Monza. The young American also impressed in last year’s Macau Grand Prix finishing third on debut behind Richard Verschoor and Juri Vips. Logan will have the machinery in 2020 to be able to compete for regular podiums and victories and prove his potential.

Hitech Grand Prix

Image: F3 at Barcelona 2019 - Liam Lawson. Copyright: Daniel Gonzalez Photography.

Drivers: Max Fewtrell, Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger.

Hitech Grand Prix will be hoping to take the fight to Prema in 2020 and, like Prema, arrive with an all-new lineup this season to try and help them mount a successful challenge. Max Fewtrell and Liam Lawson both arrive with a year’s worth of experience in the series with ART Grand Prix and MP Motorsport respectively meanwhile Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger arrives in the series as a rookie. Hitech also have a strong history in the now defunct European Formula 3, finishing 2nd in the constructors championship in 2016 and 3rd in 2018. Their 2020 lineup sees them field three very promising talents each of which have F1 backing which they will need to try and prove their worth to with a potential championship challenge this season.

Max Fewtrell- comes into this season as the second highest finisher in 2019 of all drivers who remain in the series, only behind Jake Hughes. ART struggled to compete with Hitech and Prema but despite that Fewtrell showed his talent bagging second place finishes in both the Austrian and Hungarian feature races. Fewtrell, along with his move to the Hitech team, will be looking to use this experience to get him more podiums and possibly wins in 2020.

Liam Lawson- also made his Formula 3 debut in 2019 and saw himself have a very similar campaign to the Brit. Lawson finished just 16 points behind Fewtrell and also found himself with two podiums, getting third at Silverstone and second at Monza. He finished above teammates Richard Verschoor and Simo Laaksonen in 2019 and will be looking to keep improving with new team Hitech, especially against teammate and fellow Red Bull junior Dennis Hauger.

Dennis Hauger- dominated the field in the 2019 Italian Formula 4 championship winning 12 of that season’s 20 races, and scoring 16 podiums including 5 back-to-back wins at Monza and Mugello to round off this season. Dennis Hauger took part in a post season test with Hitech in 2019 which saw him obtain his confirmation of driving for the team in 2020. The Norwegian will want to live up to the hype and expectation and continue to impress his Red Bull backers.

ART Grand Prix

Drivers: Theo Pouchaire, Aleksander Smolyar, Sebastian Fernandez.

ART Grand Prix will be disappointed with their 2019 campaign overall as the team suffered from major inconsistencies in 2019 which saw them struggle to keep up with Hitech Grand Prix in the constructors’ championship. Christian Lundgaard scored over half of the team’s points in 2019 and his departure to Formula 2, along with Fewtrell’s move to Hitech, will leave the 2020 drivers Theo Pouchaire, Aleksandr Smolyar and Sebastian Fernandez with a big task on their hands if they want to avoid falling below teams around them in the standings. Pouchaire and Smolyar both come into the series as rookies whilst Fernandez makes the switch across from Campos Racing.

Theo Pouchaire- recently signed up to the Sauber junior team, Theo Pouchaire comes into Formula 3 with an impressive CV. Despite his incredibly young age, he won the 2018 French Formula 4 Junior Championship with 20 podiums in 21 races and he won the 2019 ADAC Formula 4 championship with 12 podiums in 20 races and beating now Hitech F3 driver Dennis Hauger to the title by 7 points. Theo Pouchaire will have to show maturity beyond his years to cope with the pressure of expectation and perform this season.

Aleksander Smolyar- joins ART’s Formula Three lineup off the back of finishing third in last year’s Formula Renault Eurocup series, behind champion Oscar Piastri and Victor Martins. The Russian scored 10 podiums and 3 wins with constructors champions R-ace GP with all of his wins coming in the second race of the event. Unlike a lot of the rookies this year, Smolyar comes into F3 this year without a championship in any other series under his belt.

Sebastian Fernandez- alongside his Formula 3 campaign with the struggling Campos team, Fernandez also competed against Smolyar in the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup racing for Arden Motorsport for 12 of that seasons races getting a third place finish at Spa and finishing 9th in the standings. In early 2020 he also made 6 appearances in the Asian F3 championship, where he got an impressive 5 podiums and a win at the third race at the Yas Marina circuit.


Image: F3 at Monza 2019 - Trident. Copyright: JakerSports/Motor Witness.

Drivers: Lirim Zendelli, David Beckmann, Olli Caldwell.

Trident proved that they have the ability to compete in 2019 with Pedro Piquet securing 3 podiums including 1 win and Niko Kari securing a further two podiums. Both of those drivers left the team, however, for 2020 with Piquet moving up to Formula Two. Trident recently made the decision to drop Devlin DeFrancesco ahead of the season, replacing him with German David Beckmann which means that, just like all of the three teams ahead of them in the championship in 2019, Trident will also field an all-new lineup in 2020 with Olli Caldwell being the only rookie of the trio.

Lirim Zendelli- finds himself swapping seats with Niko Kari for 2020 with the German leaving Charouz Racing System in favour of a Trident drive. Zendeli only scored 6 points with Charouz in 2019 off the back of winning 10 of a possible 20 races and getting 13 podiums as he comfortably won the ADAC Formula 4 Championship in 2018. Zendelli finished 114 points clear of second placed Liam Lawson and will be hoping that, with a year of experience,  he can improve his F3 performances this year.

David Beckmann- Trident drafted in Beckmann, who had raced for the team in 2018 GP3 and the 2019 Macau Grand Prix, to replace Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco shortly before the opening of the season. Beckmann was outscored by both of his teammates Christian Lundgaard and Max Fewtrell at ART in 2019 and hopes that a switch across to the also competitive Trident team will help him show the competitive nature which saw him secured a 5th place finish in the 2018 GP3 Series.

Olli Caldwell- Olli Caldwell joins the Formula 3 grid as a Rookie following a 5th place finish with Prema Powerteam in last year’s Formula Regional European Championship. The Brit got 7 podiums and 213 points over the course of the 24 race season, including a win at the 4th race in Imola. He also got 4 wins and 11 podiums as he finished third in the 2018 Italian Formula 4 Championship, only behind Leonardo Lorandi and champion Enzo Fittipaldi.

HWA Racelab

Image: F3 at Monza 2019 - HWA Racelab, Jake Hughes. Copyright: JakerSports/Motor Witness.

Drivers: Enzo Fittipaldi, Jake Hughes, Jack Doohan.

HWA Racelab ventured outside of their DTM comfort zone by entering Formula 3 in 2019and impressed on debut, with Jake Hughes even winning the sprint race in Silverstone. Whilst their focus partially shifts to their opening adventure in Formula 2, they will also be looking to improve on their impressive first season in Formula 3. The experienced Hughes remains with the team after comfortably outscoring both Bent Viscaal and Keyvan Andres in 2019. His partners for 2020 will be the less-experienced but highly talented Enzo Fittipaldi and Jack Doohan, who are backed by Ferrari and Red Bull respectively.

Enzo Fittipaldi- comes into Formula 3 with motorsport coursing through his veins with Grandfather (two time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi), first cousin once-removed, uncle and great-uncle having all raced in Formula One and his brother being Haas’ test driver. However, Enzo comes into the series with pedigree of his own to backup his Ferrari backing coming second in the Formula Regional European Championship in 2019 getting 2 wins and 13 podiums and winning the 2018 Italian Formula 4 championship with 7 wins and 12 podiums.

Jake Hughes- enters the 2020 F3 season with a whole host of experience. As well as being the highest placed finisher to remain in F3 this season, the Brit spent 3 years in GP3 and European Formula 3 prior to the creation of FIA Formula 3 in 2019 and is a decade older than ART’s Theo Pouchaire. Hughes, however, proved his own abilities as he surpassed HWA’s expectations finishing 7th in the championship with 1 win and 4 podiums. With new highly regarded young talents on their books HWA are looking to rely less on him for results this year although still aiming for wins and podiums in 2020.

Jack Doohan- son of the 5 time MotoGP world champion Mick Doohan, Jack instead decided to venture into open wheel racing and, with the backing of the Red Bull junior team, will make his Formula 3 debut in 2020 with HWA Racelab. The Australian comes into the series having finished runner-up in both of the last two Asian F3 championships, behind Joey Alders and Ukyo Sasahara. Over the course of those two years he secured 11 wins and 23 podiums in 30 races.

MP Motorsport

Drivers: Richard Verschoor, Bent Viscaal, Lukas Dunner.

MP Motorsport are one of the few teams on the 2020 F3 grid to retain at least one of their drivers, as Dutchman Richard Verschoor signs on for another year. The team came 6th in the standings last year with Liam Lawson getting podiums for the team in both Silverstone and Monza. Alongside Verschoor, MP Motorsport signed fellow Dutchman Bent Viscaal, off of the back of a disappointing F3 campaign with HWA, and rookie Lukas Dunner, who competed for the team at the 2019 Macau Grand Prix and makes the switch from the Euroformula Open Championship. Verschoor, Viscaal and Dunner all have experience in MP Motorsport in other series’ with Dunner having previously been a teammate of both men in MP Motorsport in the Macau Grand Prix and Spanish Formula 4 respectively.

Richard Verschoor- comes into the 2020 season with a lot of momentum after a strong end to the 2019 season which saw him take 4th place in both the feature and sprint races in Monza as well as another double points finish in Sochi. On top of that, Verschoor one the prestigious Macau Grand Prix event in 2019 with the MP Motorsport team. Despite being let go from the Red Bull junior team in 2017, Verschoor has continued to improve and 2020 could be the year that sees him challenge for wins and podiums, if MP Motorsport can provide the car to do so.

Bent Viscaal- had an average start to life in Formula 3 as he scored just 10 points all season for the HWA Racelab team however rejoins MP Motorsport, for whom he had come 2nd in both the Spanish and SMP Formula 4 Championships in 2017, as he looks to regularly score points to help MP Motorsport in the championship this season. He showed a glimpse of his talent in 2019 when he finished 5th in the feature race at Le Castellet and will be looking to make that more regular in 2020.

Lukas Dunner- joins MP Motorsport’s Formula 3 team following finishing 14th for the team at the 2019 Macau Grand Prix, alongside Richard Verschoor. Lukas Dunner was also teammates with Bent Viscaal at MP Motorsport in the 2017 Spanish Formula 4 Championship in 2017, in which the Austrian finished 8th. Most recently he finished 3rd in the 2019 Euroformula Open Championship with Teo Martin Motorsport, behind Marino Sato and Liam Lawson.

Jenzer Motorsport

Drivers: Calan Williams, Federico Malvestiti, Matteo Nannini.

Yuki Tsunoda was Jenzer Motorsport’s star performer in 2019 and his promotion to Formula 2 will no doubt deal a huge blow to the team. They signed up Federico Malvestiti, who had made 2 appearances for the team in Silverstone last season, on a full time basis alongside two rookies of the Formula 3 grid in Australian Calan Williams and Italian Matteo Nannini. Tsunoda scored all 67 of Jenzer Motorsport’s points in their 2019 campaign and they will be hoping that their new lineup will be able to step up to the plate to avoid Jenzer falling behind the likes of Charouz and Carlin in the championship this season.

Calan Williams- joins Jenzer Motorsport’s Formula 3 campaign off the back of two fairly unsuccessful campaigns with Fortec Motorsports in the Euroformula Open Championship finishing 13th in 2019 and 11th in 2018 and getting 53 and 25 points respectively. He also competed in the 2018 Toyota Racing Series with MTEC Motorsport, where he finished 8th overall and scored a total of 183 points.

Federico Malvestiti- made 2 appearances for Jenzer in 2019’s F3 campaign, replacing Giorgio Carrara at the British Grand Prix and finishing 23rd in the feature race following after retiring in the feature race with a battery failure. He hopes that he will have more luck as he signed on with the team on a full time basis in 2020. He also raced in the Formula Renault Eurocup series in 2019 with the Bhiatech team. He finished 14th in the standings getting 1 podium and 36 points for the struggling team who only managed to finish 6th in the constructors.

Matteo Nannini- at just 16, Matteo Nannini, nephew of former F1 race winner Alessandro, comes onto the 2020 Formula 3 grid with relatively little experience, however ran away with the 2019 Formula 4 UAE Championship getting 7 wins and 16 podiums in 20 races and finishing 68 points clear of nearest rival Joshua Durksen. He also joined Fernando Alonso’s karting team in 2015 where he would win the Trofeo dei Campioni and ROK cup Italy in 2016.

Charouz Racing System

Drivers: Niko Kari, Igor Fraga, David Schumacher.

Like they did in Formula 2, Charouz drop the ‘Sauber Junior Team’ part of their name for 2020 and instead of being known as ‘Sauber Junior Team by Charouz’ will instead just be known as ‘Charouz Racing System’. Following Raoul Hyman and Fabio Scherer departing the series at the end of 2019, as well as Lirim Zendeli’s move to Trident, Charouz find themselves fielding an all new lineup in 2020 with rookie Igor Fraga partnering Niko Kari, who moves across from Trident, and David Schumacher, who competed in the final round in Sochi for Campos in 2019’s Formula 3 season.

Niko Kari- former Red Bull junior team driver Niko Kari makes the switch from Trident to Charouz Racing System in 2020, with German Lirim Zendelli moving in the opposite direction. He comes into the season as one of the most experienced drivers having raced in GP3 from 2016 to 2018 and made 4 appearances for MP Motorsport in 2018’s Formula Two season. Kari showed signs of promise in 2019, getting podiums in Spain and Sochi, however showed inconsistencies with poor performances at races such as Silverstone and Paul Ricard, where he failed to break into the top 15.

Igor Fraga- comes onto the Formula 3 grid in 2020 with an impressive CV, both in open wheel and eSports competitions. The Japanese-born driver won the Gran Turismo Nations Cup and the McLaren Shadow Racing series in 2018. In real life racing, his CV includes a Toyota Racing Series championship earlier this year, finishing 6 points ahead of championship rival Liam Lawson, and a 3rd place finish in the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship behind Frederik Vesti and Enzo Fittipaldi.

David Schumacher- the son of 6 time race winner Ralf and nephew of 7 time world champion Michael, joins the Formula 3 grid full-time after making two appearances in the 2019 finale as he replaced an injured Alex Peroni. The German failed to score however regardless put in strong performances given the fact that he was only an unexpected stand in for the team. Over the rest of 2019 he competed in the Formula Regional European Championship and finished 4th, securing 4 wins and 9 podiums for the US Racing team along the way.

Carlin Buzz Racing

Drivers: Clement Novalak, Enaam Ahmed, Cameron Das.

With Felipe Drugovich and Logan Sargeant moving on to Formula 2 and Prema respectively, as well as Teppei Natori’s departure from the series, Carlin Buzz Racing were in need of an all-new lineup for 2020. They will be the only team on the grid in 2020 to have an entire lineup of drivers who did not make a single appearance in last year’s Formula 3 campaign as they signed on British racers Clement Novalak and Enaam Ahmed as well as American Cameron Das. Despite their lack of Formula 3 experience, all three drivers have experience in racing with Carlin, with Das and Ahmed having been teammates in 2017, and they are hoping this will help them adjust quickly to making the step up to Formula 3.

Clement Novalak- joins Carlin’s 2019 F3 lineup off of the back of claiming the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship in 2019, finishing 23 points clear of Jonathan Hoggard and claiming 2 wins and 8 podiums in the 24 race season. He had also completed a trial with Ferrari in 2017 as part of the team’s association with Tony Kart however, unlike Marcus Armstrong a year before him, Novalak was not signed up by the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Enaam Ahmed- has previous experience of competing in the 2018 European Formula 3 series with Hitech Bullfrog GP, where he finished 9th overall and got 4 podiums including 2 wins. In 2019, instead of moving to the new FIA Formula 3, Ahmed competed in Japanese Formula 3, finishing 3rd overall  with 2 wins for the B-Max Racing with Motopark team. He also competed twice for Motopark in the Euroformula Open Championship, getting a podium in both races, and finishing 22nd with Campos at the 2019 Macau Grand Prix.

Cameron Das- comes into Formula 3 in 2020 with a decent amount of European success under his belt. The American finished 5th and 12th in the 2018 and 2019 Euroformula Open Championships respectively and came 7th with 1 win and 2 podiums in the 2019 Toyota Racing Series with M2 Competition. Das was Ahmed’s teammate in the 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, finishing 229 points behind the Brit, who won the championship that year.

Campos Racing

Image: F3 at Monza 2019 - Alex Peroni 'Plane Crash'. Copyright: JakerSports/Motor Witness.

Drivers: Alex Peroni, Alessio Deledda, Sophia Florsch.

Campos struggled in the new Formula 3 in 2019, with the team scoring just 5 points all courtesy of Alex Peroni. The Australian signs on with the team for 2020 as does his Italian teammate Alessio Deledda. However, following Sebastian Fernandez switching to ART Grand Prix for 2020, Campos signed rookie Sophia Florsch, who had competed in the 2018 European Formula 3 with Van Amersfoot to partner the returning duo. With the majority of their driver lineup staying the same, Campos are going to have to look to make improvements from within the team if they are to compete more with the likes of Carlin in 2020.

Alex Peroni- despite the poor nature of Campos’ 2019 F3 challenger, Alex Peroni managed to score the teams only points of the season finishing 8th at the feature race in France and 10th at the feature race in Silverstone. This was enough to get him signed on by Campos however was not enough to get him signed up by another team and the Australian will be hoping that he is given a more competitive car this year as he once again looks to lead the team in the drivers’ standings.

Alessio Deledda- had a poor 2019 campaign, where he finished lowest of any driver who completed every single race of that season’s championship. He signed on with Campos for 2020 however, at the age of 25, his time in the series will most likely be numbered and the Italian making any sort of impact this season is unlikely, given that his best finish in 2019 was 16th place at the French feature race. As well as a lack of anything impressive on his CV, finishing 9th in the 2019 Euroformula Open Winter Series with the Campos team.

Sophia Florsch- the only FIA Formula 3 rookie in Campos’ 2020 lineup, Sophia Florsch comes into the series after finishing an impressive 7th in the 2019 Formula Regional European Championship with Van Amersfoot Racing, a team who finished 4th in the constructors’ championship. She also competed in the 2019 Macau Grand Prix with HWA Racelab however unfortunately retired 8 laps into the race with a mechanical issue. Her experience in Formula 3 came in the 2018 European Formula 3 Championship where she scored a single point for the Van Amersfoot team.

Kieran's Driver's Championship Prediction:

  1. Liam Lawson

  2. Max Fewtrell

  3. Frederik Vesti

  4. Logan Sargeant

  5. Dennis Hauger

  6. Oscar Piastri

  7. Jake Hughes

  8. Theo Pouchaire

  9. Enzo Fittipaldi

  10. Richard Verschoor

  11. Niko Kari

  12. Lirim Zendeli

  13. David Beckmann

  14. David Schumacher

  15. Igor Fraga

  16. Alex Peroni

  17. Jack Doohan

  18. Aleksandr Smolyar

  19. Olli Caldwell

  20. Sophia Florsch

  21. Bent Viscaal

  22. Calan Williams

  23. Sebastian Fernandez

  24. Enaam Ahmed

  25. Matteo Nannini

  26. Federico Malvestiti

  27. Lukas Dunner

  28. Cameron Das

  29. Clement Novalak

  30. Alessio Deledda

Enjoyed this article? Have a read of Kieran's F2 Season Preview for 2020!

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