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F3 ITALIAN GP: BORTOLETO CHAMPIONS BEFORE THE SHOW



As expected, Gabriel Bortoleto demonstrated the ability to seal the deal early at Monza, clinching the title of FIA Formula 3 2023 champion even before the race lights went out. The Brazilian driver only needed Paul Aron and Pepe Martì not to secure the pole position to celebrate his first career title, and that's exactly what happened. Aron finished third, while Bortoleto came in fifth, and Martì even ended up in sixteenth place.


For Bortoleto, this title is the result of a well-disputed season, marked by two victories, three second-place finishes, two fastest laps, and one pole position. His leadership was never in question from the very first round in Bahrain. The mathematical certainty of the title was also sealed by his teammate Oliver Goethe's fastest lap, earning him his first pole position of the season. This outstanding result brought great joy to the Trident team, who could celebrate on their home turf, further solidifying their dominance in the category, following their team title win in the 2021 season and the rookie title in the previous Formula Regional season.


RACE 1: COLAPINTO WINS, IMPRESSIVE COMEBACKS BY MINÌ AND BROWNING



The disqualification of Hitech drivers, including Gabriele Minì, Luke Browning, and Sebastian Montoya, along with Francesco Simonazzi and Ido Cohen at the end of qualifying, gave Franco Colapinto the opportunity to advance to the 12th position on the starting grid. The proud Argentine driver made the most of this opportunity, starting from pole position for the Sprint Race and securing his second win of the season. This victory catapulted him to 110 points, placing him in second position in the overall points standings. Colapinto benefited from the retirements of Paul Aron and Pepe Marti, who were involved in a multiple-car incident caused by Caio Collet at Turn 1, putting him in contention for the vice-champion title.


For the MP Motorsport driver, the main threat came from his teammate, Mari Boya, who passed Colapinto at the start. However, by the tenth lap, Colapinto managed to reclaim the lead, but Boya overtook him again a couple of laps later. On the 13th lap, the young Argentine from the Williams Junior Team made the decisive move. Boya then had to fend off the challenge of newly-crowned champion Gabriel Bortoleto, who attempted to secure the second position on the final lap. Despite contact at the first chicane and at Biassono corner, Boya managed to hold off Bortoleto, displaying great determination.


Bortoleto, now free from the title pressure thanks to his qualifying performance yesterday, produced a brilliant comeback from eighth to second place. This result, combined with the sixth and seventh-place finishes of Leonardo Fornaroli and Oliver Goethe, brought Trident within just four points of Prema, setting up an exciting battle for the team championship in Race 2.


Prema faced a setback due to Aron's retirement, who was involved in a collision with Collet on the main straight. With a punctured tire, Aron was unable to brake, inadvertently colliding with Marti and Jonny Edgar at the Prima Variante. Dino Beganovic finished 14th, while Zak O'Sullivan received a 10-second penalty for causing Gregoire Saucy to retire.


Taylor Barnard delivered a strong performance, finishing fourth after his triumphant weekend at Spa, while Luke Browning accomplished an incredible comeback of 22 positions to finish an impressive fifth, despite being excluded from qualifying. Gabriele Minì also displayed a remarkable recovery, starting from 26th on the grid and finishing eighth ahead of Christian Mansell and Nikola Tsolov, the latter unable to defend the third position he held on the grid, slipping to tenth.


Nikita Bedrin had a solid race, finishing 12th at the halfway point, despite having only 10 minutes of free practice before his car was engulfed in flames. The Russian driver, with a tri-color license, thus rewarded the hard work of the Jenzer mechanics with an exceptional performance.


RACE 2: EDGAR'S REVENGE, PREMA TEAM CHAMPION



At the end of an exhilarating showdown, it was the Prema team, owned by the Rosin family, that clinched victory in the team standings for the fourth time in the last five editions of the FIA Formula 3. Despite a disappointing Race 1, which allowed the Trident team of Maurizio Salvadori to close the gap to just six points, Prema deservedly secured the title at the end of a season marked by five victories and 13 podium finishes. Zak O'Sullivan's second-place finish proved crucial, earning him the title of vice-champion, while Paul Aron finished third in the standings, repeating his achievements in the 2021 and 2022 seasons in the Formula Regional by Alpine.


The team, led by Giacomo Ricci, had already secured the drivers' title at the end of Friday's qualifying, but experienced an unfortunate day with all three of its drivers. Pole-sitter Oliver Goethe couldn't even start due to a throttle issue. Gabriel Bortoleto was pushed off the track by Nikola Tsolov but managed to recover to fifth place, while a 5-second penalty hampered Leonardo Fornaroli.


The final race of the season was won by Jonny Edgar, a 19-year-old British driver who entered single-seater racing as a natural talent, representing the Red Bull Junior Program since his promising debut season in Formula 4. After claiming the ADAC F4 title in his second year, he faced a challenging season in FIA Formula 3 in 2022 and also battled Crohn's disease. Despite his promising past, the Red Bull Junior Program decided to exclude him at the end of the season.


Jonny Edgar stayed in Formula 3 for another year, and in what could have been his last race in the lower categories, he secured his first personal victory in the series. This win marked a return to his brilliant talent, reminiscent of when he secured eight wins in Formula 4. This success could enhance his prospects as he prepares for an imminent debut in higher categories, as he suggested in a recent interview with Formula Scout.


Edgar was followed by an all-British trio, with O'Sullivan in second place thanks to a double overtake on Caio Collet and Taylor Barnard in the final restart. At Lesmo 2, Barnard also overtook the initial leader Collet, demonstrating that his outstanding weekend at Spa was no fluke.


Collet finished fourth, followed by Bortoleto, while Mari Boya preceded Aron, Christian Mansell, Dino Beganovic, and Rafael Villagomez. Francesco Simonazzi delivered an impressive performance, finishing 11th just out of the points zone. Simonazzi skillfully avoided trouble, making a remarkable recovery of 19 positions from the back of the starting grid.


The race was marked by numerous penalties issued by the stewards due to multiple contacts, leading to the deployment of the safety car on three occasions. Among the drivers scrutinized by the stewards were Fornaroli and Minì, who were found guilty of forcing Aron and Nikita Bedrin off the track, respectively. Minì also collided with his teammate Sebastian Montoya, sending him into the gravel trap at the Roggia chicane and prompting the second safety car intervention.


In the restart, Pepe Marti was involved in an incident with Ido Cohen, leading to another safety car deployment, which had already been brought out earlier to remove Franco Colapinto's car, struck by Tommy Smith.




© Cavalieri Garage & Co.

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