Roundup of the fifth round of 2023 F3 season as the season hits its main straight.
With four rounds in five weeks, the trip to Austria marked the start of a decisive period as drivers looked to build some early momentum heading into a packed month which could determine the championship destination.
Trident’s Gabriele Bortoleto entered this round as championship leader but with the chasing pack tightly packed, it was vital that the Brazilian continued his consistency in a round which saw one team dominate both races.
Now, here is a full roundup of all the action across the fifth round of the F3 season in Austria.
Hitech GP’s Sebastian Montoya was first out on track but it was his teammate – Luke Browning who set the initial benchmark time of 1m 33.994 in the fifth minute, although their fellow teammate – Gabriele Mini went 0.053 seconds faster.
MP Motorsport’s Mari Boya however quickly displaced the trio with 1m 31.390 a minute later but the Hitech GP trio swiftly hit back with representative lap times, although VAR’s Caio Collet went even faster with 1m 22.228 as times soon fell.
PREMA’s Paul Aron then went 0.230s quicker but Montoya and Collet swiftly responded but Aron hit back with 1m 21.205 in the ninth minute.
Collet managed to get to within 0.048s of Aron’s best lap time in the 11th minute but his lap time was deleted, after the Brazilian was found to had exceeded track limits.
ART GP’s Gregoire Saucy went quickest in the 13th minute with 1m 21.188 but Browning went 0.132s quicker with 1m 21.056 just seconds later, which wouldn’t be beaten until Bortoleto posted 1m 20.929 to go top in the 19th minute.
Montoya meanwhile spun out at Turn 7 and caused the only red flag of the session in the 29th minute, which led the session to resume five minutes later with everyone scrapping for position.
As the checkered flag fell, Bortoleto emerged fastest as he lowered his benchmark time to 1m 19.410 in the 41st minute, as Jenzer’s Taylor Barnard finished second-fastest ahead of Mini, Collet and Franco Colapinto.
|1||Gabriel Bortoleto||Trident||1m 19.410|
|2||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer||+ 0.148|
|3||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||+ 0.253|
|4||Caio Collet||VAR||+ 0.273|
|5||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||+ 0.315|
|6||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||+ 0.353|
|7||Paul Aron||PREMA||+ 0.428|
|8||Pepe Marti||Campos||+ 0.499|
|9||Dino Beganovic||PREMA||+ 0.507|
|10||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||+ 0.586|
|11||Christian Mansell||Campos||+ 0.641|
|12||Oliver Geothe||Trident||+ 0.657|
|13||Zak O’Sullivan||PREMA||+ 0.744|
|14||Leonardo Fornaroli||Trident||+ 0.753|
|15||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer||+ 0.772|
|16||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport||+ 0.890|
|17||Nikola Tsolov||ART GP||+ 0.895|
|18||Hugh Barter||Campos||+ 0.962|
|19||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||+ 1.034|
|20||Kaylen Frederick||ART GP||+ 1.163|
|21||Oliver Gray||Carlin||+ 1.396|
|22||Sophia Floersch||PHM Racing||+ 1.617|
|23||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||+ 1.639|
|24||Alejandro Garcia||Jenzer||+ 1.647|
|25||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||+ 1.695|
|26||McKenzy Cresswell||PHM Racing||+ 1.695|
|27||Tommy Smith||VAR||+ 1.762|
|28||Hunter Yeany||Carlin||+ 1.838|
|29||Ido Cohen||Carlin||+ 2.040|
|30||Roberto Faria||PHM Racing||+ 3.168|
VAR’s Collet and Smith were first out on track and Collet set a benchmark time of 1m 21.078 in the eighth minute, which was quickly bettered by Colapinto, Boya and Aron amongst other drivers.
Once opening laps were completed, Beganovic sat top with 1m 20.518 and just 0.003s clear of his teammate – Aron, whilst championship leader – Bortoleto sat third as Frederick occupied 12th and reverse-pole position.
Mayhem soon ensured ahead of the final laps as everyone jostled for position tightly packed together which led some to cut through the pits, in desperation to create some track space for their flying laps.
With a minute left on the clock following the first fliers of the final runs, Aron sat on pole position from Saucy and Beganovic but his 1m 20.283 was deleted for exceeding track limits.
As the checkered flag fell, Saucy rose to the occasion and delivered 1m 20.457 to snatch pole position by just 0.004s from Beganovic, with Bortoleto and Aron qualified third and fourth ahead of Collet, O’Sullivan, Colapinto, Goethe, Frederick, Mansell, Mini and Marti.
Post-session, Mansell was handed three-place grid penalty which dropped him to sixth on the grid for the Sprint Race, after he was adjudged to had crossed the white line on pit entry as he returned to the pits.
O’Sullivan also received a three-place grid drop after he was adjudged to had impeded Smith at Turn 10, which meant that he started the Sprint Race from 10th on the grid rather than seventh.
|1||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||1m 20.457|
|2||Dino Beganovic||PREMA||+ 0.004|
|3||Gabriel Bortoleto||Trident||+ 0.017|
|4||Paul Aron||PREMA||+ 0.064|
|5||Caio Collet||VAR||+ 0.090|
|6||Zak O’Sullivan||PREMA||+ 0.109|
|7||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||+ 0.147|
|8||Oliver Goethe||Trident||+ 0.185|
|9||Kaylen Frederick||ART GP||+ 0.196|
|10||Christian Mansell||Campos||+ 0.287|
|11||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||+ 0.341|
|12||Pepe Marti||Campos||+ 0.362|
|13||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||+ 0.367|
|14||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||+ 0.523|
|15||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||+ 0.527|
|16||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport||+ 0.615|
|17||Nikola Tsolov||ART GP||+ 0.626|
|18||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer||+ 0.670|
|19||Hugh Barter||Campos||+ 0.685|
|20||Oliver Gray||Carlin||+ 0.750|
|21||Sophia Floersch||PHM Racing||+ 0.810|
|22||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer||+ 0.863|
|23||McKenzy Cresswell||PHM Racing||+ 0.905|
|24||Hunter Yeany||Carlin||+ 1.052|
|25||Ido Cohen||Carlin||+ 1.061|
|26||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||+ 1.063|
|27||Alejandro Garcia||Jenzer||+ 1.477|
|28||Tommy Smith||VAR||+ 1.805|
|29||Roberto Faria||PHM Racing||+ 1.918|
|30||Leonardo Fornaroli||Trident||No Time|
Due to torrential weather conditions, stewards opted to start the race behind the Safety Car for two laps prior to a standing start, much to Marti’s bemusement with the Spaniard eager for a rolling start from reverse-pole.
His feelings proved correct because despite retaining the lead off the line, Marti fought off Frederick whilst Goethe stalled from fourth on the grid, with everyone behind him narrowly avoiding a huge collision amidst heavy spray clouding the visibility level.
Mini meanwhile slipped to fourth as Frederick and Aron leapfrogged him off the line whilst O’Sullivan improved to seventh from tenth on the grid, although the Brit improved to sixth with an overtake on Mansell on Lap 2.
Up front, Marti built up a lead of over three seconds in the opening eight laps whilst Aron fought his way past Frederick which proved successful into Turn 4 on Lap 8, with Mini following suit a lap later.
Aron quickly trimmed Marti’s lead down to 1.3s when the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 11, after Gray and Villagomez collided at Turn 4 with Gray adjudged at fault, which earned the Carlin driver a five-place grid drop to 25th in the Feature Race.
Racing resumed on Lap 14 with Edgar and Beganovic clearing Montoya and Browning for seventh and ninth respectively.
Up front, Marti fought off Aron’s pressing charge until the Estonian got a cutback out of Turn 1 on Lap 18 which gave him momentum to make a race-winning overtake into Turn 3, whilst Mini followed suit on the inside of Turn 3.
Collet, O’Sullivan and Edgar meanwhile further demoted Marti to sixth at the checkered flag as Frederick finished seventh ahead of Beganovic, Montoya and Bortoleto.
In the drivers’ standings, Bortoleto’s lead over Marti was trimmed to 20 points with Mini and Aron sat a further eight points back in third and fourth place as Beganovic rounded out the top five.
|1||Paul Aron||PREMA||20||33m 18.970|
|2||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||20||+ 1.469|
|3||Caio Collet||VAR||20||+ 4.978|
|4||Zak O’Sullivan||PREMA||20||+ 5.486|
|5||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsporrt||20||+ 6.372|
|6||Pepe Marti||Campos||20||+ 7.651|
|7||Kaylen Frederick||ART GP||20||+ 8.332|
|8||Dino Beganovic||PREMA||20||+ 8.490|
|9||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||20||+ 9.679|
|10||Gabriel Bortoleto||Trident||20||+ 10.157|
|11||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||20||+ 10.985|
|12||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||20||+ 11,343|
|13||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||20||+ 12.311|
|14||Christian Mansell||Campos||20||+ 14.374|
|15||Leonardo Fornaroli||Trident||20||+ 15.175|
|16||Nikola Tsolov||ART GP||20||+ 16.057|
|17||Ido Cohen||Carlin||20||+ 17.620|
|18||Sophia Floersch||PHM Racing||20||+ 18.265|
|19||Hunter Yeany||Carlin||20||+ 18.507|
|20||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||20||+ 19.415|
|21||Tommy Smith||VAR||20||+ 20.160|
|22||Hugh Barter||Campos||20||+ 21.705|
|23||McKenzy Cresswell||PHM Racing||20||+ 22.749|
|24||Roberto Faria||PHM Racing||20||+ 25.292|
|25||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer||20||+ 26.873|
|26||Oliver Goethe||Trident||20||+ 88.610|
|27||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer||18||+ 2 Laps|
At lights out, Saucy made a clean start ahead of Beganovic, Bortoleto and Aron whilst O’Sullivan and Colapinto demoted Collet to seventh.
Mini meanwhile ran deep at Turn 4 and found himself in the gravel trap which brought out the Safety Car a lap later for three laps, with Saucy leading the field back racing at the end of Lap 4 with Frederick passing Collet on Lap 6 in the only initial change on the restart.
Up front, Saucy soon began to struggle with tyre degradation and lost the lead to Beganovic on Lap 7 at Turn 4 as the Swede took the inside line of the corner.
Beganovic however reported on Lap 10 that “The tyres have given up.” but continued to fight off Saucy who collided with Aron a lap later, which gave both drivers a puncture to ruin any hopes of points.
Bortoleto briefly took the lead from Beganovic into Turn 3 on Lap 12 but was repassed into Turn 4, only to gain the lead a lap later into Turn 4 as Beganovic then lost second to O’Sullivan on Lap 14 and then third to Colapinto a lap later.
O’Sullivan meanwhile had managed his tyres throughout the opening stint as the top four scrapped hard and managed to pass Bortoleto for the lead into Turn 3 on the inside line on Lap 15.
The 18 year-old Brit subsequently controlled the race to the checkered flag ahead of Bortoleto, whilst Montoya benefitted from those ahead struggling with tyre degradation or colliding to find himself fourth going into the final lap.
Montoya however tangled with Colapinto heading into Turn 6 as both drivers tried to overtake Bortoleto, which sent the Colombian running wide across the gravel whilst Collet snuck through to finish third ahead of Colapinto.
Beganovic managed to finish fifth ahead of Edgar and Mansell as Barter and Floersch picked up their first points in F3 with eighth and ninth-placed finishes respectively, whilst Montoya rounded out the top ten.
In the drivers’ standings, Bortoleto extended his title lead to 36 points as Beganovic climbed to second place ahead of O’Sullivan and Marti, as the Brit headed his Spanish rival on countback by virtue of a fourth-placed finish in the Sprint.
F3 now heads to Silverstone, Great Britain, for the sixth round of the season across 7-9 July.
|1||Zak O’Sullivan||PREMA||26||37m 59.535|
|2||Gabriel Bortoleto||Trident||26||+ 0.844|
|3||Caio Collet||VAR||26||+ 1.696|
|4||Franco Colapinto||MP Motorsport||26||+ 2.458|
|5||Dino Beganovic||PREMA||26||+ 4.460|
|6||Jonny Edgar||MP Motorsport||26||+ 4.723|
|7||Christian Mansell||Campos||26||+ 5.296|
|8||Hugh Barter||Campos||26||+ 5.676|
|9||Sophia Floersch||PHM Racing||26||+ 6.230|
|10||Sebastian Montoya||Hitech GP||26||+ 8.814|
|11||Pepe Marti||Campos||26||+ 9.530|
|12||Leonardo Fornaroli||Trident||26||+ 10.624|
|13||Oliver Goethe||Trident||26||+ 12.441|
|14||Hunter Yeany||Carlin||26||+ 13.510|
|15||Taylor Barnard||Jenzer||26||+ 13.883|
|16||Nikita Bedrin||Jenzer||26||+ 14.601|
|17||Oliver Gray||Carlin||26||+ 15.148|
|18||Rafael Villagomez||VAR||26||+ 15.803|
|19||Nikola Tsolov||ART GP||26||+ 16.236|
|20||McKenzy Cresswell||PHM Racing||26||+ 16.584|
|21||Tommy Smith||VAR||26||+ 16.921|
|22||Roberto Faria||PHM Racing||26||+ 17.355|
|23||Luke Browning||Hitech GP||26||+ 38.170|
|24||Alejandro Garcia||Jenzer||26||+ 53.151|
|25||Mari Boya||MP Motorsport||26||+ 53.750|
|26||Paul Aron||PREMA||26||+ 66.265|
|27||Kaylen Frederick||ART GP||26||+ 67.566|
|28||Gregoire Saucy||ART GP||24||+ 2 Laps|
|RET||Gabriele Mini||Hitech GP||0||Collision|