Hitech GP’s trio of talents will look to start the 2023 FIA Formula 3 Championship on the front foot at the Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain this weekend [4-5 March].
For 30 of the world’s brightest talents, it marks the beginning of an arduous, 10-weekend journey to some of the world’s most iconic venues in their challenge for the coveted crown.
Among them will be three representing Silverstone-based team, Hitech. Here’s the lowdown ahead of the season-opening double header:
One of the most exciting line-ups on the grid…
There’s no shortage of talent in Hitech GP’s all-new driver line-up for the 2023 season, including two Formula 1 junior drivers and the most recent winner of the prestigious Aston Martin BRDC Autosport Award.
Representing Alpine Academy is ultra-quick Italian, Gabriele Minì. The 17-year-old’s impressive CV includes titles in karting and Italian Formula 4, and he narrowly missed out on the Formula Regional European Championship crown last campaign.
Red Bull Junior Driver Sebastián Montoya – son of former Formula 1 ® star Juan-Pablo – makes his full-time step up to the series after featuring at the front in two different Formula Regional championships last year.
Prior that, the Colombian starred in the Italian Formula 4 Championship and enjoyed a stellar karting career, marking him out as ‘one to watch’ for the future.
Completing the team’s trio is Luke Browning, one of the brightest talents to emerge from the highly-competitive single seater scene in the UK in recent years.
Last season, the Brit added the GB3 Championship with Hitech to his FIA British Formula 4 crown won back in 2020, before impressing in pre-season testing in Sakhir. A late addition to the grid, but Browning will undoubtedly be among the stars in a blockbuster grid.
Minì sets the benchmark pace during pre-season running…
Gabriele Minì was among the pace-setters across three days of official pre-season testing in Sakhir last week, the Italian narrowly denied the fastest time by 0.035 seconds.
With seat time limited in FIA Formula 3, Minì, Montoya and Browning were all able to build up valuable mileage ahead of the new campaign, and all three showed plenty of promise in the lead up to the season curtain raiser this weekend.
Minì topped the afternoon session on Day 2, and came within a whisker of the quickest time overall on Day 3, with Browning and Montoya both in and around the top ten runners across the week to put the Hitech camp in optimistic mood.
From the Cockpit: Gabriele Minì
“The car for sure is amazing to drive. It’s not too hard physical physically for me, it has lot of downforce and we can carry a lot of speed. That’s the only thing that has to change – the mindset. From what I drove last year, it’s really nice.
“Even though they’re called the hard tyre, they still are a pretty competitive compound, quite soft compared to what I’m used to. Of course, it degrades quite quickly, so you need to really be there on the first push especially in Quali, and then in the race, you have to be really good at being able to push but not to destroy the tyres in the same moment.
“You learn more and more with every lap you do. I learned quite a lot from the race simulations and those that I did this morning. I tried to put that into the one that I did this afternoon and it was pretty strong and of course, the car seems to be pretty good. We just have to keep working hard and keep going like this.”
When are the cars on track, and where can I follow all the action?
Each event in FIA Formula 3 consists of a 45-minute practice session on Friday, followed by the all-important qualifying half-hour.
The top ten qualifiers are reversed to form the grid for the Sprint Race on Saturday, before the weekend concludes with the showpiece Feature Race in the build up on Grand Prix Sunday.
The timetable for this weekend in Sakhir is as follows:
Friday – Practice 07:55, Qualifying 13:00
Saturday – Sprint Race 09:15
Sunday – Feature Race 08:50
*all times GMT
Fans watching in the UK can watch the action unfold live on Sky Sports F1.