Having reflected on five top drivers across Formula One & Two, it is time to reflect on top five drivers from a brilliant 2020 Formula Three season.
2020 certainly threw a lot at F3 teams and drivers with nine rounds in just 11 weeks yet it was Oscar Piastri who emerged victorious after a tense season finale.
The Melbourne-born driver however was just one of nine different race winners in a tough campaign, yet we have chosen five top drivers from a competitive field who deserve to be singled out so here are our best F3 drivers of 2020.
Piastri has simply shown amazing consistency for a 19 year-old in terms of delivering a successful title built on regularly scoring points, even if DRS was his biggest Achilles heel throughout the season at times with just one retirement caused by that specific issue.
Having failed to take a pole position throughout this season, Piastri’s title win is that more special because he has shown just how great a driver he can be given his racing skills, whilst battling PREMA teammate – Logan Sargeant for the title in an unpredictable title fight.
Now Piastri is set to make the step up to F2 where Mick Schumacher clinched the title in similar fashion this season, paving the way for an interesting 2021 for Piastri who ideally needs to improve his qualifying pace given that he will be one of a few Renault drivers in the series vying for a F1 seat in 2022.
Pourchaire has without any doubt been the surprise package of this season given that he doesn’t really has a firm F1 affiliation, because he is backed by Sauber who are racing under Alfa Romeo name currently in F1.
Having participated in the first six rounds as a 16 year-old, Pourchaire quickly recovered from a poor opening round to show his intelligent driving in a wet Styrian Race One to finish ninth before taking his first win after pouncing on a late tangle between Liam Lawson and Jake Hughes in the reverse race.
Now with that first win under his belt, Pourchaire could of collapsed under increased hype but instead delivered a dominant win in first Hungarian race before embarking on an impressive run of consistency to finish as vice-champion after five podiums in the final six races for ART GP.
From my perspective, that is simply a stunning achievement for a 17 year-old and to then follow it up with solid drives on his F2 debut in Bahrain for HWA Racelab is even more impressive, particularly to the extent where Pourchaire is one to watch for 2021 and beyond given his young age.
After struggling to five points in his rookie season with Carlin, I was rather dubious about Sargeant stepping up to PREMA yet he has been very impressive given America’s shaky record in this single-seater racing level.
If there is one positive thing that we have learned about Sargeant this season, it is that he is very consistent when given the right car with his non point finishes all coming down to the silliness of other drivers around him making race ruining contact, including in both Monza races.
If we were to look at the positions that he was in when his five non-scoring races were ended by contact, I would be surprised to find anyone who would say he wouldn’t of won the title given that he finished the season just four points behind Piastri and would of likely been champion if not for those incidents.
Sargeant therefore is a worthy top five driver of F3 this season because bad luck simply was his undoing in the title fight, despite leading with four races left of the season yet three collisions in the final four races cost him.
After enjoying a solid rookie campaign for MP Motorsport in 2019, Liam Lawson has enjoyed an excellent breakthrough season to finish fifth in the standings and with 102 points more than he managed last season after switching to Hitech GP.
Lawson’s driving skills have also markedly matured even though he did make a few blunders at times, particularly in second Styrian race when he made a silly move which cost both him and Jake Hughes the win.
Poor reliability in Hungary with two retirements also cost him because had he won the reverse Styrian race and scored points in both Hungarian races, he could of at least ran a closer title fight given that he finished only 21 points behind Piastri in the final standings after solid consistency in last five rounds.
Lawson is now set to stick with Hitech GP after testing for them in the post-season F2 test so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in 2021, because if he stays in F3 then he should be a title contender.
As the highest placed returning driver from 2019 grid, 2020 was a disappointing season for Jake Hughes through not much fault of his own.
His season began on a rough note after a tyre issue at the start of Race One in Austria ruined his opening weekend of the season, before he got harshly taken out by Lawson in the second race a week later under the Styrian Grand Prix banner at the same track.
Hungary meanwhile was another write off which effectively destroyed any real hope of a title challenge, yet Hughes bounced back with strong consistency in five of the six remaining rounds with exception of Spa.
Two wins however deservedly fell Hughes’ way with his Italian win in the second race being one of his best after driving his way through a chaotic opening ten laps to take the lead, from which he drove to a comfortable victory and nearly followed it up in Tuscan Race One a week later in a tense tussle.
Now Hughes’ future is unclear but he would be a great asset to any F2 or F3 team after enjoying a solid Sochi F2 round for HWA Racelab as a late call-up, showing that he is capable of stronger results if given a chance next season.