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Monaco Mini Beganovic F3

F3: Inaugural qualifying in Monaco sees Mini take pole position

The Monaco Grand Prix is a historic race in motorsport and 2023 is Formula 3's first season racing around the Principality

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Formula 3 took to the streets of Monaco for the first F3 Qualifying that saw Gabriele Mini take provisional pole after beating Group A’s fastest driver, Dino Beganovic. 

F3 Formula 3 Monaco Qualifying Bortoleto
Gabriel Bortoleto, Championship leader, drives on track during practice ahead of Round 4:Monte Carlo of the Formula 3 Championship. (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

This weekend is the Monaco Grand Prix and it is the first year that Formula 3 is racing around the Principality. Whilst a usual race weekend spans three days, Friday to Sunday, the Monaco weekend for both feeder series began yesterday.

The free practice session of F3 saw Gabriele Mini top the time sheets. The 45 minute session saw all 30 drivers go out in the wet, learning the track.

Whilst some Formula 3 drivers have raced in Monaco before, in series like FRECA, the track is unknown to the majority. Sophia Floersch of PHM Racing by Charouz spoke to FormulaNerds ahead of the weekend and admitted she believed it could get “messy” with 30 drivers on the tight and narrow circuit.

But for Qualifying, the F3 grid was split into two groups determined by the drivers’ numbers. Group A consisted of the 15 drivers that have an even car number and Group B included the 15 drivers with odd car numbers.

After both groups have completed their 16 minute session, the one with the fastest overall time takes pole position. From there, the fastest driver in the second group will start the Feature Race in P2. Each position from P3 is then alternated between the groups to set the grid. As usual the Sprint Race will see a reverse grid with the top 12 from Qualifying reversed. This means the driver in the second group that is sixth fastest will start the Sprint Race on pole.

So let’s get in to what happened during Formula 3’s first Qualifying session around Monaco.

Group A Out First

Whilst practice was a wet session, the conditions for Qualifying were dry and a lot warmer. The 15 drivers of Group A went out on track, being the first cars on the circuit today.

Despite there only being 15 drivers on track, traffic and finding a suitable track position was difficult. The first times were set with Ido Cohen initially going fastest with a 1:46.487. Cohen did find the wall in free practice yesterday but Rodin Carlin managed to repair the car to get the Israeli driver out in Qualifying.

Other drivers began their flying laps once they’d warmed up their tyres. Cohen was soon knocked off the top spot by Nikita Bedrin, followed by Oliver Gray and then Luke Browning.

With only 10 minutes to go, drivers were getting faster and the order kept changing.

Dino Beganovic, who currently sits in third in the championship, then topped the timesheets with purple in sectors one and two.  The PREMA driver set a time of 1:25.308 ahead of Browning in P2. Further down the field, Cohen locked up his tyres but kept going.

Franco Colapinto, who looked strong around Monaco yesterday, completed a push lap. The Argentinian did complete a purple sector one but it was soon beaten by Leonardo Fornaroli.

Colapinto went P2 but Browning once again went fastest and pushed Beganovic into P2 and Colapinto into P3.

Two minutes to go

A yellow flag was brought out after Oliver Goethe went wide in sector one in the run-off section. However, the track was then green once the Trident driver got going again.

Montoya, who managed to put his car second, came over the radio. He told his team he thought he hit the wall, but it all looked okay.

As 30 seconds remained, it was a rush to the finish. Beganovic’s final lap saw a purple third sector and a time of 1:23.880 putting him at the top of the timesheets. The PREMA driver is also the only driver on the current F3 grid to have won around Monaco before.

Browning was completing another push lap but bailed out, remaining P2. His Hitech Grand Prix’s teammate, Montoya, however, unfortunately hit the wall, bringing out the yellow flags once again. Montoya was then out of qualifying in third.

F3 Monaco Formula 3 Browning Beganovic Montoya
Sebastian Montoya out of Qualifying in Monaco for F3 (Credit: Twitter: @Formula3)
Group A Results

1 – Beganovic

2 – Browning

3 – Montoya

4 – Colapinto

5 – Fornaroli

6 – Saucy

7 – Bedrin

8 – Edgar

9 – Goethe

10 – Mansell

11 – Villagomez

12 – Gray

13 – Cohen

14 – Garcia

15  – Faria

The time to beat for Group B is 1:23.880. Will anyone in Group B be able to go faster?

Group B Out Second

The green light was given for Group B of the F3 grid. For this group, the track is more rubbered in after the first session of Qualifying.

The drivers spread out a little bit to make some space between them for their push laps. Caio Collet topped the timesheets but the championship leader, Gabriel Bortoleto soon went faster.

However, Paul Aron, who achieved a fastest first sector then went into P1 with his PREMA teammate Zak O’Sullivan behind in P2. Bortoleto then parted both PREMA’s pushing O’Sullivan into P3.

As more drivers began setting fast laps, the order quickly changed.

Gabriele Mini managed to go P1 with a 1:24.946. Bortoleto was completing another flying lap, with a purple sector one, trying to get ahead of Mini. But unfortunately, there was traffic in the way, meaning he only went P3.

Aron had a scare scraping the wall on a push lap, but ultimately bailed due to traffic in his way. Pepe Marti of Campos Racing then set a 1:24.850 around the Monaco streets whilst Collet found the wall; however, The Van Amersfoort Racing driver managed to continue.

Two minutes to go

As the clock continued to go down, Mini managed to maintain the top spot; but was still slower than Beganovic’s time from Group A.

Mari Boya of MP Motorsport also found the wall whilst Hunter Yeany became familiar with the kerbs after locking up.

Marti went to set another lap but was forced to bail out after reaching traffic. Bortoleto couldn’t improve and finished the session fourth, whilst Mini continued to set a new lap time.

With the clock at zero, Mini managed to set a 1:23.278 going faster than Beganovic from Group A. The Hitech Grand Prix puts his car on provisional pole.

Group B Results

1 – Mini

2 – Aron

3 – Collet

4 – Bortoleto

5 – Barnard

6 – Marti

7 – O’Sullivan

8 – Tsolov

9 – Boya

10 – Smith

11 – Barter

12 – Frederick

13 – Wisnicki

14 – Yeany

15 – Floersch

Formula 3 Qualifying in Monaco

With Gabriele Mini beating Dino Beganovic’s time in Qualifying around Monaco, the Alpine Academy driver will be take pole position. PREMA’s Beganovic will then line up in P2.

The rest of the grid will then alternate with Group B’s Aron in P3 and Group A’s Browning in P4. From there, the rest of the grid will alternate.

These are the provisional results and this article will be updated when the FIA and F3 release the official confirmed starting grid for both races this weekend in Monaco.

Headline Image: GettyImages

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