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F3: Drivers give their take on the weekend ahead in Monaco

2023 sees Formula 3 add two new circuits to the calendar in Melbourne and Monaco

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Formula 3 hits the streets of Monte Carlo this weekend in Monaco for the first time and three F3 drivers give their take on the weekend ahead with a prediction of some “tough” on-track sessions. 

F3 Monaco Formula 3 Floersch Saucy Gray
Formula 3 during the Feature Race of Round Two in Melbourne, Australia with Gabriel Bortoleto leading the pack. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

The 2023 Formula 3 season is underway with only two rounds complete. Round three was originally supposed to occur last weekend in Imola. However, due to the bad weather in the Emilia-Romagna region, the Grand Prix was cancelled. Therefore, F3 is back for its third race weekend at a circuit new to the championship.

Formula 2 has raced on the streets of Monaco before but F3 hasn’t. With the track being a street circuit, and particularly narrow, the weekend for the feeder series begins early. Tomorrow, Thursday 25th May, both F2 and F3 have their free practice sessions. On Friday, the format changes again with qualifying being split into two groups for both series to manage all the drivers on track.

Ahead of the weekend, FormulaNerds, along with other selected media, spoke to three Formula 3 drivers about the upcoming races. We spoke to ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy, Rodin Carlin’s Oliver Gray and PHM Racing by Charouz’s Sophia Floersch.

Floersch: “It’s going to be messy”

Chaos ensues around the streets of Monaco when there are only 20 Formula 1 cars on track with incidents and traffic issues. But this weekend, there will be 30 F3 cars on track during free practice and both the Sprint and Feature Races.

PHM Racing by Charouz’s Sophia Floersch told FormulaNerds that she’s “super happy to be here in Monaco”. The German driver said that she’s been to Monaco several times “but never raced” or driven the “legendary track” before.

Commenting on how she’s prepared for the weekend ahead and her expectations of it, Floersch said:

“I’ve spent many hours in the simulator to prepare obviously, just because it’s so legendary. It’s a street circuit, super tight, super slow and some quick parts as well.

“It’s going to be a tough one, especially tomorrow in free practice for 30 minutes with 30 drivers in 3.3km. It’s going to be messy, let’s say.

“I guess we’ve all got to do a good job I hope at least so we can get some time to drive. Qualifying is going to be different because that’s just 15 or 16 minutes. But obviously for us, because it’s the first time for us drivers, but also especially for the team and engineers here, it’s more going to be about learning.

“Also first time on the soft tyres, so many new things coming together but the goal for sure is to finish the races, which I think is not so easy here and then we’ll see. Hopefully a top 15 result would be amazing and that’s kind of the goal I have.”

Gray: “It’s really cool to be here”

Whilst Floersch returns to Formula 3 and Saucy continues in the series for a second campaign, 2023 is Oliver Gray’s rookie season. The British driver is racing for Rodin Carlin and expressed his excitement at being in Monaco.

Gray said:

“Obviously we are first in the pitlane this weekend so first out on track, so hopefully we can maximise that. A little advantage to putting a good lap together without any traffic hopefully.

“It’s really cool to be here. Just being amongst the whole of F1 in Monaco is just amazing. The track is awesome. I’m really looking forward to racing around it.”

As 2023 is Gray’s first season in F3, he’s still getting used to the demands of the series. Speaking to selected media, Gray mentioned that using the simulator is a “massive part of the preparation” for the feeder series.

Gray admitted that the simulator helps him across a race weekend in lots of different aspects. He said: “The sim is becoming a massive part of the preparation, especially in F3 and F2 because you rock up on a race weekend and have 45 minutes, maybe three or four push laps on new tyres to get a good lap time in and understand the balance of the car.”

Rodin Carlin are currently ninth in the Teams’ Championship with zero points, equal to PHM Racing by Charouz. With Monaco as a new track, both teams could be in to score some points if Monaco proves to be eventful.

Saucy: “We need to adapt well”

One driver who has been consistent in scoring points in the first two rounds of F3 is Gregoire Saucy. Saucy currently sits P2 in the championship standings and he spoke to FormulaNerds about the Monaco street track.

Saucy echoed Floersch in that the circuit is “really exciting”. But for the ART driver, it won’t be the first time he’s driven in Monaco. Saucy said:

“I already drove here in FRECA. It’s a really really nice track and of course, what Sophia said about traffic tomorrow, it will be a bit tricky.

“But in the end, for everyone, it is the same, so we need to adapt well to that and then we will work a lot for the qualifying.”

“My goal to win the championship”

FormulaNerds also spoke to Saucy about the championship. Whilst it’s still early days and F3 have only completed two rounds, the championship battle has begun.

Gabriel Bortoleto leads the championship after winning both the Bahrain and Australian Feature Races. But after finishing each race in the top 10 this season, Saucy is in the championship fight.

F3 Formula 3 Monaco Saucy Gray Floersch
Race winner Gabriel Bortoleto, Second placed Gregoire Saucy and Third placed Gabriele Mini celebrate on the podium during the Round 2:Melbourne Feature race of the Formula 3 Championship. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

FormulaNerds spoke to the Swiss driver about whether he was focusing on the championship at this stage. Saucy answered with:

“Actually, I’m not focusing on the championship. I’m focusing on each race by race to improve myself, to learn, to continue to learn with my team and my engineer. I’m still working session by session.

“Now I will focus on my free practice tomorrow, not about the qualifying, mainly the free practice. And then after the free practice, I will work for the quali and etcetera. I’m working really like that and not about the future.

“But for sure, it’s good to be P2 in the championship now and I will work a lot session by session and race by race to achieve my goal to win the championship.”

The Formula 3 2023 season consists of nine races now after the cancellation of Imola. With Monaco as a new track for the championship, who will come out victorious?

Headline Image: GettyImages

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