The FIA Formula 3 Championship will make its debut at the revamped Zandvoort Circuit this weekend. On a track where teams have no benchmarks, the series will hold a pivotal round for the driver and team classifications, and Trident Motorsport is fighting for the lead in both competitions.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship will line up for the first time at the Dutch track of Zandvoort, known as the track of the dunes as it is located on the sandy area overlooking the North Sea. The round at the famed Circuit Park will mark a key moment for the fate of the championship, featuring Trident Motorsport in the fight for the top of both rankings ahead of the penultimate round of the season. Jack Doohan, fresh from a double win in the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps, reduced his gap from the top of the drivers' standings to 25 points. Trident Motorsport, with the 80 points secured in Belgium, must now fill a 16-point gap to the lead of the team classification.
The fact that Formula 3 will run for the first time at Zandvoort makes the trip on Dutch soil even more treacherous. The teams did not have any test sessions and will start with a clean sheet in terms of data provided by the track. It will be key to complete valuable work in the free practice session to get the references needed to define the set-up and prepare for qualifying on a track that is expected to be tough for overtaking.
As happened in Spa-Francorchamps, the changing weather conditions on the shores of the North Sea could really turn the tables and help change the situation. The wind often carries the sand onto the track, creating grip conditions that vary from lap to lap. While Doohan will aim for a repeat of last weekend’s sensational performance, Clément Novalak will restart from P5 in the championship standings he achieved with a seventh and two fifth places on the Walloon track. The driver from Aix-en-Provence has not been on the podium since the first round of the season in Montmelò, and is looking forward to making his way back as soon as possible.
As for David Schumacher, the German second-generation racer took a remarkable second place at Spa, breaking into the top-10 in championship standings. Schumacher, who already has one win and two podiums under his belt this year, will try to increase its total. Zandvoort will be a track to explore for the Trident Motorsport driver. The facility, which has not hosted Formula 1 since 1985, measures 4.259 kilometres and has plenty of elevation changes, plus two hairpin corners with 19-degree banking. Banked corners put a lot of stress on the tires and carry heavy loads, so drivers will need to pay attention to degradation. They prepared the trip to the shores of the North Sea with great attention and dedication. It's now time for the action to start.
Giacomo Ricci, Team Manager:
“The great results we achieved in the previous round at Spa-Francorchamps must not distract our commitment. We will be facing a demanding and potentially decisive challenge for the championship. The fact that F3 will be at its debut at Zandvoort with its current configuration, will make things even more unpredictable. I expect a really demanding weekend, we will need to put in a perfect performance to keep on the same level as last week."
The FIA Formula 3 Championship will go underway for the first time on Friday morning at 10:05 for the 45-minute practice session. Qualifying will be later the same day at 13:50. Race 1 will be on Saturday at 10:35 followed by Race 2 later in the afternoon, at 17:55. Race 3 will wrap up the weekend on Sunday at 10:45. Track activity will be covered live by the Sky Sports networks.