The fourth round of the F3 FIA European Championship saw Raffaele Marciello emerge still leading the series. The Ferrari Driver Academy driver ended the British weekend with two wins and a second place from the three races. However, at the end of the third race, Marciello was disqualified because of an oversight from his Prema team. At scrutineering, it was found that the first gear ratio in his gearbox did not conform to this year’s regulations.
The part came from a batch used in previous editions of the championship, as well as in testing. It was a moment’s inattention which did not however detract from a triumphant weekend for Prema. The team from Venice took two clean sweeps of the podium in races 1 and 2. Winner of the third one was Lucas Auer, who was second past the flag behind team-mate Marciello, but inherited the win in the stewards’ room.
After twelve of the thirty races that make up the season, Raffaele continues to lead the championship on 214.5 points, ahead of Rosenqvist (137) and Auer (130.) In qualifying at Brands Hatch, he was quickest of his group no less than three times, but in all the races, he had to start from second because the fastest man in the second group set a better time. At the start of race 1, Raffaele tucked in behind poleman, team-mate and eventual winner Lynn, while in the next two races he managed to lead off the line, keeping it to the chequered flag. The F3 FIA European Championship will be back on track on 1 and 2 June at Austria’s Red Bull Ring, with the fifth round of the series marking the mid-point of the season.
“I’m very pleased with what we achieved this weekend. On the performance front we were always front runners, managing to get ahead of the redoubtable English teams, who are usually very strong at their home races. We went through a range of emotions this weekend. Qualifying went well and I was quickest in my group, but obviously I would have preferred to have taken pole position. It’s almost impossible to overtake at Brands Hatch and I knew that the start would be the key moment if I was to win. I think I got off the line very well in all three races. In race 1, my team-mate and poleman Lynn was equally good and I wasn’t able to get past him at the start as I’d hoped. All I could do was tuck in behind and the race was thus a long wait for a mistake from Alex, but none came. Race 2 went better and I managed to go into the lead thanks to a very good start. From then on, I managed the race without any particular problems and I got the win I deserved. It was the same story in the last race too, but unfortunately, after the race came the disappointment at being disqualified. These things can happen and I’m sure they won’t occur again. Sometimes drivers make a mistake, sometimes it’s the teams, but as from the next race, I’m sure we will once again be fighting for the top slot, as we did at Brands Hatch.”
Luca Baldisserri, Head of the FDA
“The best way to sum up the job Raffaele did this weekend is to look at the numbers: 3 pole positions in his group, which translated into three starts from second place on the grid, two wins and a second. A shame about losing the race 3 win at scrutineering, because it’s down to a moment’s inattention which certainly had no effect on the car’s performance. However, the rules are very clear and the penalty was the right one. In fact, plaudits should go to the organisers and the stewards for the precise and detailed job they do, in order to ensure the technical transparency of the series. Despite this, the Prema team had a decidedly positive weekend and they will learn from this mistake so that it cannot happen in the future. Getting back to Marciello’s results, I think that, even without the win in race 3, the overall appraisal of the Brands Hatch weekend is a step forward in terms of the championship and confirms how competitive he is. There is still a long way to go this season, but we are concentrating like never before to ensure that nothing is left to chance right to the last lap of the last race.”