F3: French Grand Prix 2021 Preview

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FIA Formula 3 Returns this weekend in France after a lengthy hiatus. Here are some of the key talking points to watch out for ahead of the races.

PREMA are the team to beat

Two of the three PREMA drivers took wins last time out in Barcelona. Olli Caldwell won the second Sprint Race while Dennis Hauger converted his pole position to a Feature Race victory.

Photo Credit: PREMA Media Centre

Whilst this will be Hauger’s first time racing at Le Castellet, Caldwell has a positive story at Paul Ricard so far. The Brit has great results achieved in both Formula 4 and Formula Regional.

Arthur Leclerc meanwhile will continue on his learning curve after a frustrating opening round for the Monegasque following a Race 1 puncture. But like Caldwell, Leclerc knows his way around the Paul Ricard circuit. He scored two wins and a second-place there last year in Formula Regional. He’s a Leclerc at the end of the day, which means you can’t count him out.

“Both Dennis and Olli were able to pick up wins but we are sure that Arthur has a similar potential…”

– René Rosin, PREMA Team Principal

Martins on the Move

After an impressive Formula 3 debut and a recent birthday, Victor Martins will be in a buoyant mood for his home race this weekend. With top-ten finishes in all three races in Barcelona, including a podium for second place, it will be fascinating to see if the Frenchman can keep building on this forward momentum.

Check out our recent “In The Grandstand” interview with Victor for more awesome Formula 3 content.

Watch out for Crawford

Photo Credit: Hitech Media Centre

Crawford ran his first full program in the Euroformula Open at Paul Ricard back in May. He claimed pole, won the opening two races, recorded the fastest lap in all three races, and finished second in the finale. Not bad for a weekend’s work.

The Red Bull-backed driver will be looking to capitalise on this experience this weekend and bring home some excellent results.

“I learned a lot from that weekend and hopefully I can carry some of that over to when I come back for F3.”

– Jak Crawford

Doohan Good

Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

If you’ve forgiven the pun above, then you’ll be interested to know that Trident’s Jack Doohan is another driver that I think is worth keeping an eye on this weekend. After a lacklustre Race 1, the Aussie then proceeded to get two awesome top ten finishes in Spain. That included a big haul of points for finishing in second place for the weekend finale Race 3.

Academy Changes

No sooner had GP Grandstand released our thoughts on the best driver academy does the motorsport world make all that work out of date! The feeder series world has two bits of junior programme news ahead of France.

Firstly came the somewhat oddly timed announcement from Red Bull that Isack Hadjar would join their ranks for 2022. The Formula Regional driver will look to join FIA F3 soon enough we’re sure, but it’ll be a good 6 months or so to go before we’ll see the Frenchman in Red Bull colours. It’s good news to put out ahead of a home F1 race, though, we guess…?

For something a little more instant, though, look no further than Juan Manuel Correa. The comeback story continues going from strength to strength after his triumphant return to motorsport. Correa is to rejoin the Sauber junior driver programme and you can look out for Sauber branding on the American’s helmet this weekend.

Formula 3 Madness in France

The final part of this preview is cheating a little bit but I’m going to mention it anyway in case there of any new Formula 3 fans reading. With thirty cars lining up on the grid and many of the drivers, both rookies and experienced having never raced at Paul Ricard before, you can be sure that there’s going to be some of F3’s signature craziness this weekend.

Buckle up for some fun racing action and most likely, some unlikely final podium positions too.

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