The 2022 season of the FIA Formula 3 Championship ended nearly two months ago, leaving viewers wondering about where its stars would be headed for 2023 and who would be joining the paddock from the categories below it on the Formula 1 ladder. F1 Feeder Series breaks down the developments in the F3 driver market so far.
By Michael McClure
As is customary in the third-tier series, the majority of the grid is composed of rookies stepping up from one of the many regional and national single-seater championships below FIA F3. A number of veteran drivers also return for a chance at the championship, hoping to emulate Dennis Hauger and most recently Victor Martins by taking the title in their second seasons.
As in prior seasons, there are 30 seats available across 10 teams, nine of which also compete in FIA Formula 2, the next step up from F3. We explained in our prior reporting that all of the protagonists in the 2022 F3 title fight are expected to move up to F2 next year, creating lots of opportunities for F3’s talented returners and rookie hotshots to make an impression in 2023.
The line-ups at the three-day post-season test at the Circuito de Jerez in September offer a strong indication about a number of drivers’ plans for 2023, though there are always surprises revealed during the winter break ahead of the championship’s first round at Bahrain in early March. The table at the bottom of this article will be regularly updated as additional announcements are made.
Two of the three drivers in reigning teams’ champions Prema Racing’s 2023 line-up have already been confirmed. The first of those was Estonia’s Paul Aron, who finished third in the last two seasons of Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA). Mercedes junior Aron, 18, made his single-seater debut with Prema in 2019 in the Italian F4 Championship and competed with the team in FRECA in 2021 and 2022 after a one-year stint at ART Grand Prix in Formula Renault Eurocup.
Confirmed to be joining Aron at Prema is Dino Beganovic, one of his FRECA teammates for the past two seasons. Beganovic, also 18, made his car racing debut with Prema a year after Aron but eventually caught up to him on the ladder. After a disappointing rookie season in FRECA last year, the Swedish-Bosnian driver won the title this season in convincing fashion, with four wins and 13 podiums.
Both Aron and Beganovic visited the F3 paddock as team guests in 2022 – the former at Spa-Francorchamps and the latter a week later at Zandvoort.
The third driver has not been officially announced, though F1 Feeder Series understands that the place will be taken by Zak O’Sullivan, who tested alongside Aron and Beganovic at the Jerez post-season test. O’Sullivan, a member of the Williams Driver Academy, made a strong impression at Carlin’s F3 team this season, taking two podiums and the team’s first pole position en route to 11th in the championship standings.
The team’s 2022 drivers are all expected to be headed to Formula 2 next year. Ollie Bearman is expected to step up to one of the team’s F2 seats, while Arthur Leclerc and Jak Crawford are set to head elsewhere – the former most probably to DAMS and the latter to Hitech, his 2021 F3 team.
Trident, the 2021 teams’ champions, are expected to field an all-rookie line-up for the 2023 season. FRECA race winner Gabriel Bortoleto was the first driver announced for the year just a few days after testing. Bortoleto, recently added to F1 champion Fernando Alonso’s A14 Management scheme, impressed in the three-day post-season test by setting the quickest time overall on Thursday morning. F1 Feeder Series understands that Bortoleto had signed to compete for Trident by the Zandvoort weekend, when he, like Beganovic, was present as a team guest.
Alongside Bortoleto, breakout Euroformula Open (EFO) champion Oliver Goethe is set to join Trident for 2023. Alongside his EFO campaign – which yielded 11 wins and top-six finishes in every race – Goethe drove for Campos Racing at the Hungaroring and Spa in place of Hunter Yeany, who broke his wrist mid-season. Monaco resident Goethe impressed by qualifying as the lead Campos driver at both events and finishing fourth in the Spa Feature Race just a day after a horror crash with Zane Maloney – whom he is set to replace at Trident – necessitated a new chassis.
The final seat is expected to be taken by Leonardo Fornaroli, the top rookie this past FRECA season. Fornaroli, the 2021 Italian F4 fifth-place finisher, is familiar with Trident, having raced for them in 2022. Though the Italian driver never took an overall podium or a rookie win, his consistency across the year put him eighth in the standings on 83 points.
Once confirmed, the trio will replace Jonny Edgar, Roman Staněk and Maloney. Staněk and Maloney, who finished 2022 fifth and second respectively, are slated to move up to F2 – Maloney as soon as Abu Dhabi this season – while Edgar looks set to remain in F3.
ART Grand Prix
With Martins’ title win at the final round of 2022, ART took a driver to the championship for the first time in the current iteration of FIA Formula 3. Martins is accordingly prohibited from returning to the category, and all signs indicate that he will step up to F2 with ART. Teammate Juan Manuel Correa will also leave F3, though his exact destination is as yet unclear.
Unlike the other teams that finished in the top five in 2022, ART fielded more than three drivers in post-season testing, with the line-ups presumed not to have been finalised by that point. The team’s third driver from 2022, Grégoire Saucy, is now confirmed to be remaining with ART for 2023, extending a relationship that dates back to his 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup season and includes his 2021 title-winning campaign in FRECA. Saucy took a sole F3 podium in the Feature Race at Bahrain and ended the year 15th on 30 points.
F3 veteran Kaylen Frederick, who previously raced for Carlin and Hitech, is one of the drivers from testing expected to take up an ART race seat for 2023. The American driver finished in the top 10 in each of the first four sessions before vacating his seat for the last day. Frederick was also seen entering the ART trailer with team boss Sébastien Philippe on Thursday of the Monza weekend, likely for negotiations about 2023.
Spanish F4 champion Nikola Tsolov, an Alpine affiliate and Alonso protégé, completed all three days of testing for the team and set the most laps of the test with 261. Despite having just the Spanish F4 season under his belt, Tsolov is thought to be the most likely contender for the third ART seat next year, with Alonso reportedly pushing for him to jump ahead of F4 arch-rival and Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who will race in FRECA next season. The Bulgarian driver will turn 16 over the winter, making him eligible for the FIA Grade B international licence that will grant him entry into the championship.
Both Brad Benavides and Roberto Faria – who raced with Carlin this season in F3 and the GB3 Championship respectively – had also tested for ART but are not thought to be racing for the team in 2023. It is also understood that Laurens van Hoepen, who was the team’s guest at Zandvoort, was under consideration for a race seat but will remain in FRECA for a second season.
While their F3 team could not replicate the heights that their F2 team reached this year, MP Motorsport retained fourth place in the teams’ championship with Caio Collet, Alexander Smolyar, and Kush Maini. Smolyar and Maini are certain to move on from the team for 2023, while it is likely that Collet will pivot to endurance racing after a sophomore F3 campaign that did not yield the title challenge many expected.
Though no 2023 seats have officially been announced, those expected to join MP in their place are two experienced drivers with prior history at MP and one rookie. After finishing ninth overall with newcomers Van Amersfoort Racing this season, Franco Colapinto looks set to rejoin MP, with whom he finished third in the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup and sixth in the 2021 FRECA season. Argentina’s Colapinto, a two-time F3 race winner, was the fastest driver on the Friday of Jerez testing and generally impressed with his long-run pace.
The second driver with F3 experience is the aforementioned Jonny Edgar, who is expected to move across to MP from Trident. Edgar, the 2020 ADAC F4 champion, raced with Carlin in 2021 and with Trident in 2022, though he missed two races when complications from Crohn’s disease sidelined him. Edgar ended the year 12th, scoring points in each of the last six races but never reaching the rostrum. It is thought that Edgar may no longer be a full member of the Red Bull Junior Team.
After moving from ART to MP in the middle of his FRECA campaign, Mari Boya of Spain is expected to continue with the Dutch team in F3. Boya also raced for MP Motorsport in his 2020 Spanish F4 campaign, in which he finished second to Kas Haverkort, but his FRECA stint with MP was far less successful, with only two points finishes across eight races.
Hitech Grand Prix
Hitech’s 2022 line-up included Red Bull junior Isack Hadjar, who stayed in the fight for the drivers’ championship until the final race of the season. Hadjar is widely expected to be moving with the team to F2, with the team’s other drivers, Frederick and Nazim Azman, set to head elsewhere.
Instead, the team is expected to field three drivers with varying levels of F3 experience. The most seasoned of those three is Reece Ushijima, who raced in F3 this season for Van Amersfoort Racing and took a podium in the Sprint Race at Silverstone. Ushijima is a familiar face at Hitech, having competed with the team in both 2020 and 2021 in the British F3 Championship – now called the GB3 Championship – and in the 2021 F3 Asian Championship.
Also presumed to be at Hitech is Colombia’s Sebastián Montoya, who raced as a Red Bull athlete for the second half of the racing season in advance of a possible promotion to full junior status. Montoya contested a single F3 round at Zandvoort in 2022 as a replacement for Yeany at Campos and finished in the top 10 in both races, impressing many. His predicted step up to F3 comes off the back of a FRECA campaign with Prema that began with three rookie wins but soon tailed off, with zero scores in the final eight races.
Finally, after winning the 2020 Italian F4 Championship and taking seventh and second in two FRECA seasons, Italy’s Gabriele Minì has been confirmed for a step to F3 with Hitech, with whom he finished fourth in the Formula Regional Asian Championship (FRAC) last winter. Minì topped the timesheets in the opening session of F3 post-season testing and impressed the rest of the week despite an accident later in that opening day that curtailed his running.
Van Amersfoort Racing
Van Amersfoort had a strong début in the championship this year to usurp several F3 regulars, but their leading chargers, Colapinto and Ushijima, are headed elsewhere. Rafael Villagómez, previously managed by VAR’s F3 team manager Tom Claessen, is expected to remain with the Dutch outfit for a third season in F3. He scored his first career F3 points at the Sprint Race of this season’s Imola round.
Several candidates have emerged as possibilities for the two seats alongside Villagómez. His compatriot Noel León, the 2021 F4 US champion and a Red Bull–supported driver in FRECA this year, is one candidate for a step up, though the extent of his Red Bull backing for next year is not clear. León tested for the team on the first day, as did Faria, who lined up at ART Grand Prix for days two and three but looks more likely to land at VAR.
The team fielded two new drivers on the last two days. Though one of them, Lorenzo Fluxá, is expected to line up at Prema for a third FRECA season, GB3 race winner Max Esterson is believed to be under consideration for a VAR seat, though with other options also on the table. Kas Haverkort, the team’s lead driver in FRECA, was VAR’s guest at his and their home race at Zandvoort but did not test for the team at Jerez.
Carlin had their best season in FIA F3 in 2022, finishing seventh in the championship and taking 57 points, 54 thanks to O’Sullivan and three thanks to Benavides. However, neither of those two drivers – nor the team’s third driver, Enzo Trulli – are expected to return to the team, with Carlin’s testing line-up at Jerez entirely different.
It is believed that Carlin will take on Hunter Yeany, who tested with the team on the first day of the Jerez test. Yeany, the 2020 F4 US champion, did a partial campaign with Charouz in 2021 and aimed for a full season with Campos in 2022 before a wrist injury forced him to miss three rounds. F1 Feeder Series understands that the American driver had been in talks with several teams during the season, including Trident and Charouz, before Carlin emerged as his most likely destination.
Likely lining up alongside Yeany is Carlin’s 2022 British F4 runner-up Ollie Gray, who, like O’Sullivan, is a member of the Williams academy. Gray was at Monza as a guest of Williams but also visited the Carlin F3 tent during his stay, though it is not known if that visit had any connection to a possible F3 move. Unlike most drivers on this list, Gray did not appear in post-season testing, but he did partake in private testing of old GP3 cars at Spa alongside a number of other drivers.
There are also several contenders for the third Carlin seat, though the most probable one is GB3 runner-up Joel Granfors, who tested for the team all three days at Jerez. Granfors was a dominant Formula Nordic champion in 2020 before moving to the UK for consecutive seasons in British F4 and GB3, both with Fortec Motorsport.
FRECA race winner and 2021 runner-up Hadrien David tested with Carlin for two days in Jerez, but budget issues have continually plagued the Alpine-affiliated French driver, who now seems poised to switch to endurance racing. Arias Deukmedjian, who has contested partial seasons in a variety of F4 championships since 2021, did all three days with the team in Jerez but is thought to be pursuing other opportunities, among them focusing on his academic career at Princeton University.
Campos Racing fielded two Spaniards in 2022 alongside the third seat variously occupied by Yeany, Goethe and Montoya. F3 race winner David Vidales’ single-seater career is reportedly imperilled by budget issues, but 2022 FRAC runner-up Pepe Martí is slated to continue with Campos, who also took him to third in the 2021 Spanish F4 Championship. Martí scored only two points in a difficult 2022 F3 campaign but was in the top five in five of the six sessions in testing at Jerez.
Three drivers spent two days each in the second Campos seat, and two of those have emerged as the most likely candidates to fill the remaining two seats. Christian Mansell, the third-place finisher in both GB3 in 2021 and Euroformula Open in 2022, drove two races for Charouz Racing System in F3 this year with the intention of making the jump to the category on a full-time basis in 2023.
Also slated for a move up is Australia’s Hugh Barter, who has contested a dual campaign in Spanish F4 and French F4 this season. While there is still one round of Spanish F4 left, Barter, racing for Campos, looks almost certain to wrap up second place after sweeping the most recent race weekend at Navarra. In his second season of French F4, Barter took 10 wins and would have won the championship were it not for a rule that prevented drivers from scoring points in races held on circuits where they had previously raced that year.
Francesco Pizzi, who raced for Charouz in 2022, also tested with the team for two days, though he is believed to be eyeing a move to the United States to continue his racing career with competitive opportunities in Europe drying up.
Jenzer Motorsport are set to bring in an all-rookie line-up for 2023, featuring a Euroformula Open podium finisher and two F4 graduates who have gotten to know each other as teammates. The team will also enter uncharted territory on the management side, with recently formed F4 outfit PHM Racing forming a partnership with the Swiss team as founder and owner Andreas Jenzer looks towards retirement.
This collaboration has enabled Taylor Barnard and Nikita Bedrin, two of PHM’s drivers in F4, to prepare for a likely step up to F3. Barnard, an especially decorated karter, did a partial season of ADAC F4 last year and a dual campaign in ADAC and Italian F4 this year along with F4 UAE in the winter. Between the three series, he picked up six wins and 12 podiums and finished second to Antonelli in ADAC F4. He was regularly Jenzer’s top driver in the Jerez test.
Though Bedrin did not reach the same heights as Barnard this season, with just a single ADAC F4 win under his belt and two podiums in Italian F4, the Belgorod-born driver had the stronger record in 2021. He took fifth overall in ADAC F4 and rookie champion honours alongside eighth in Italian F4, and during the off-season, he finished fourth in F4 UAE with two wins, just one point away from third.
Another expected signing is Álex García of Mexico, who finished seventh in Euroformula Open this season as the last of the full-season participants. The best result of his season was a podium at Monza, his first in single-seaters since the 2018–19 NACAM F4 Championship. Despite having experience of a higher level of racing than both Barnard and Bedrin, García struggled in post-season testing at Jerez, bringing up the rear in all but one of the sessions.
Jenzer’s F3 line-up this season of Ido Cohen, Federico Malvestiti and William Alatalo all have unclear futures. It is thought that Alatalo, the team’s best-performing driver in 2022, might not return to the cockpit next year if he cannot find the money. He is currently in Finland completing his military service requirements.
Charouz Racing System
Charouz Racing System fielded eight drivers in 2022, including six in the #15 car largely granted to whoever was willing to pay for a drive. With full-time drivers Pizzi and László Tóth presumed to be moving on from the F3 squad – the latter possibly to F2 – the team’s 2023 line-up is unclear, with a number of candidates emerging for the seats but few appearing firmly committed to a seat.
The most likely candidate for a race seat is Alessandro Famularo, who raced with the team at Monza and stated to F1 Feeder Series his intentions of remaining in the series in 2023. Famularo’s weekend at Monza was the Venezuelan driver’s return to the cockpit after nearly a year and a half away; he had last raced with G4 Racing in FRECA but did not score any points in three rounds.
Alongside Famularo for all three days of the test was Nicola Marinangeli, who has spent several seasons at the Formula Regional level but with little more than occasional points to show for it. The Italian driver’s best season was the 2020 F4 UAE Championship, in which he finished fifth.
Both Matías Zagazeta and Emmo Fittipaldi Jr. tested for Charouz at Jerez and are believed to be among several possible occupants of the seat. Peruvian driver Zagazeta, the 2021 British F4 runner-up, took part in the last two days of the test as rumours about the future of Charouz began to circulate, with one possibility at the time being that G4 Racing, Zagazeta’s current FRECA team, would have taken over the Czech outfit.
Fittipaldi scored four points this Italian F4 season, his second in cars, and tested for Charouz on the first day at Jerez. Though he has been rumoured for a step up, the 15-year-old driver faces a barrier in that the Bahrain round comes just a few days before he turns 16, leaving him unable to obtain the licence required to compete in the season opener. Fittipaldi’s connection to Charouz is strengthened by his nephew Enzo, 21, who has raced for Charouz in both F3 and F2 since 2021 and has scored several podiums this season but is slated to move to Carlin for 2023.
|26 September 2022||Gabriel Bortoleto||Trident|
|6 October 2022||Paul Aron||Prema Racing|
|26 October 2022||Dino Beganovic||Prema Racing|
|3 November 2022||Gabriele Minì||Hitech Grand Prix|
|4 November 2022||Grégoire Saucy||ART Grand Prix|
|15 November 2022||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport|
|16 November 2022||Zak O’Sullivan||Prema Racing|
|28 November 2022||Christian Mansell||Campos Racing|
|2 December 2022||Oliver Goethe||Trident|
|3 December 2022||Leonardo Fornaroli||Trident|
|19 December 2022||Nikola Tsolov||ART Grand Prix|
|19 December 2022||Hunter Yeany||Carlin|
|20 December 2022||Kaylen Frederick||ART Grand Prix|
|22 December 2022||Tommy Smith||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|23 December 2022||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport|
|6 January 2022||Rafael Villagómez||Van Amersfoort Racing|
|9 January 2022||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport|
|9 January 2022||Caio Collet||Van Amersfoort Racing|
Header photo credit: Prema Racing
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