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Formula 2 Formula 3 testing
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 14: Jack Doohan of Australia and Virtuosi Racing (14) drives on track during day one of Formula 2 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 14, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

F2/F3 pre-season testing recap

Both series completed three days of testing two weeks ahead of the start of the season

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Formula 2 and 3 have now completed pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit.

Formula 2 Formula 3 testing
Roy Nissany in the 16 PHM Racing by Charouz car on day one of testing (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Getty Images)

Both series took to the track from February 14-16, each completing three days of testing. Let’s take a look at what went down and find out a little more about what to expect in 2023.

Formula 2

The Formula 2 grid is already complete, leaving no surprises in the lineups for testing. Of the 22 drivers, only four return to Formula 2 with the same team as last year. The drivers switching teams, as well as the rookies coming from Formula 3, had the task of getting up to speed throughout these past three days.

Unsurprisingly, it was one of these four drivers, ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire, who topped the first day of testing. On that day, there was just one Red Flag in each session, so finding running time wasn’t much of an issue.

It was PREMA Racing’s Oliver Bearman who ran the most laps in the morning session (37), although Jack Doohan beat him in the afternoon session with his 39 completed laps.

Day two focused on race simulations for most teams, so drivers completed more laps than they had the day before. PREMA’s Frederik Vesti topped the morning session with a 1:44.234, while Richard Verschoor with Van Amersfoort Racing topped the afternoon session with a lap time over two seconds faster than that.

More race simulations dominated Thursday’s morning session, with Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung being the only driver to break into the 1:45s range. It was his teammate Kush Maini who topped the much faster afternoon session, setting a 1:42.623.

Several other drivers frequented the top five spots throughout testing, including rookies Arthur Leclerc and Victor Martins. Still, testing isn’t often indicative of actual performance to the audience, so we’ll have to wait for qualifying in Round 1 to find out who actually has the best pace.

Formula 3

There’s just one spot left on the Formula 3 grid, the third seat at Hitech. Luke Browning filled the seat for the three-day test at Bahrain, and is expected to take it full-time but has yet to be announced.

Browning did the most laps in the first morning session, completing a total of 29 laps to finish 21st as the last driver with a lap in the 1:50s range. 13 of the 30 drivers were able to set a lap within 1:49s, with ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy being the fastest with a 1:49.155.

Formula 2 Formula 3 testing
ART’s Gregoire Saucy on track during the final session of testing for the week (Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images)

The Swiss driver topped the afternoon session as well, this time getting into the 1:47s, followed by PREMA’s Paul Aron and Campos’ Josep Maria Marti.

Saucy topped his third session in a row on the morning of the second day, improving still with a time of 1:46.642. While no one else made it into the 1:46s that session, two rookies, Dino Beganovic and Gabriele Mini weren’t far off.

Mini then went on to take the top spot in the afternoon session, racking up 29 laps and finishing with a best of 1:48.175. But less than two-tenths off was Saucy again, and Hitech’s Sebastian Montoya followed the pair.

With just one session on the final day of testing, race simulations took up most of the running. ART and PREMA were both fast throughout, with their drivers trading top times for most of the day.

But in the end, it was Trident’s Gabriel Borteleto who topped the final day with a 1:47.417. He was followed by Mini, and then Saucy, who finished in the top three in all five sessions.

With testing now over, there are just two weeks now until Formula 2 and Formula 3 return to racing at this very track in Bahrain.

Feature Image Credit: Bryn Lennon – Getty Images

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