With 24 rounds covering 14 days, the BRDC British F3 season provided lots of excitement and entertainment. The championship was no exemption from the pressures that were created because of the pandemic with the championship closed off to the public.
ROUND 1/2/3/4 – 1st/2nd AUGUST – OULTON PARK
After a tough and unexpected start to the year, British F3 got underway at the Oulton Park track with tight media restrictions and behind closed doors. The first pole of the season went to Double R Racing’s Louis Foster, 0.159 seconds clear of Carlin’s Kaylen Frederick who had dominated for most of the session.
Because of the nature of the championship, race three is based on each drivers second-fastest times in qualifying. Foster, Frederick and Carlin’s Nazim Azman were the top-three drivers in qualifying so that’s how they lined up for race 3.
After a good start, Frederick moved up from P2 to P1 after pole-sitter Foster had a false start which Frederick used to his advantage. It appeared to be plain sailing for the American after creating a gap from the cars behind. But as they got to the checkered flag penalties were given out. Frederick found himself with a 10-second penalty alongside pole-sitter Foster and Douglas Motorsport’s Manaf Hijjawi, who originally finished in 10th. The penalties dropped Frederick to P8 and Hijjawi to P16 with Kiern Jewiss being promoted to P1 alongside teammate Ulysse De Pauw in P2, and Azman taking P3.
With the reverse grid coming into play, it was Lanan Racing’s Piers Prior who dominated the race and took his first win in his debut British F3 weekend. Despite pressure put on Prior from Hitech GP’s Kushu Maini, he didn’t crack under the pressure and took a solid win.
Wanting to prove himself, Frederick took race three under his control and finished a deserving winner. Much like race one, he took P1 from under Louis Foster and it was plain sailing for the American until the checkered flag. He took an 8 second lead from teammate Azman who finished the race in P2. Once again, penalties changed the outcome of the race and Ulysse De Pauw was disqualified from the race after failing to comply with yellow flags. This promoted pole sitter, Foster to P3.
Once again it was Frederick who took the top step of the podium in race four to take his second victory of the weekend. He finished 2 seconds clear of Hitech GP’s Kush Maini in P2 and Lanan Racing’s Piers Prior took his second podium of the weekend. This amounted to Frederick taking the championship lead.
ROUND 5/6/7 – 15th/16th AUGUST – DONINGTON PARK
Rounds 5, 6 and 7 saw Frederick increase his championship lead taking second place in race 2 and taking the top step in the final race of the weekend.
It was Foster, however, who took the top step of the podium in race one of the weekend. The Brit showed a great deal of promise in the opening round and proved his talent finishing 1.4 seconds ahead of Hitech’s Reece Ushijima, with fellow teammate Maini finishing in P3. Championship leader, Frederick took P8 in the end after crashing out on the 13th lap.
Race two brought about its own challenges as Britain displayed what it is known for, the weather. With a wet race looming at Donington Park, the checkered flag saw De Pauw securing a maiden BRDC British F3 victory. P2 was secured by Frederick who drove a fantastic race, climbing from P11 to P2. The podium was completed by Hillspeed’s Oliver Clarke, bringing home his first podium in British F3.
Again, it was Frederick who claimed his third victory of the season with a dominating gap of 11 seconds to P2, claimed by Chris Dittmann Racing’s Josh Skelton. P3 was claimed by Maini.
ROUND 8/9/10/11 – 29th/30th AUGUST – BRANDS HATCH
Rounds 8,9,10 and 11 saw a new championship lead for British F3 claimed by Maini after a wet weekend at Brands Hatch. He took victory in the final race of the weekend as well as P2 in race one and P3 in race three. Starting the weekend as the championship leader, Frederick ended up tangled in incidents losing valuable championship points. Giving Maini a 29 point advantage once the weekend concluded.
This wet and wonderful weekend also saw Ayrton Simmonds return for a one-off weekend and claimed two impressive wins for Chris Dittmann Racing and a double pole.
It also saw Azman take the victory in race two. The Malaysian got off the line with an advantage that saw him climb from P4 to P1. Azman withstood any pressure from behind and claimed his first win of the season.
After a dramatic third race, the top step of the podium was once again claimed by Simmonds who also took the win in race one at Brands Hatch. De Pauw skated into the barriers on lap one bringing out the safety car, which shortly turned into a red flag for the race after Frederick, Prior and Manaf Hijjawi came together causing a lengthy car cleanup.
The final race of the weekend saw Mani secure his first win of the season after a solid drive in the final race. Consequently extending his championship lead from Frederick after an eventful weekend for the American.
ROUND 12/13/14 – 19th/20th SEPTEMBER – DONINGTON PARK
Arriving at Donnington park for the second time this season, the weekend ended with Mani maintaining his championship lead. Even after a strong weekend from Frederick who took a double pole and a win in the first race.
After the safety car being deployed on the first lap of race one, Frederick dominated and took advantage of his pole to lead every lap of the race. Maini, Championship leader, ended the race in P3. Extending his championship lead at the same time.
It was Foster who took victory at the second race of the weekend after a reverse grid start. Foster had a great start, beginning the race in P6 and finishing the opening lap leading the race. Lanan Racing’s Josh Mason provided pressure to Foster, but he maintained his race lead and defended Mason after slowly catching up to him. The race ended with Mason finishing in P2 and Hijjawi in P3.
Maini rounded off the weekend with another win, furthering his championship lead ahead of a thrilling battle with rival Frederick. After being handed a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, he ended the weekend in P4 in the final race. His teammate Azman was consequently promoted to P3 and De Pauw took P2.
ROUND 15/16/17/18 – 3rd/4th OCTOBER – SNETTERTON 300
Once again, the famous British weather came into play when British F3 arrived at Snetterton for rounds 15, 16, 17 and 18. The wet weather saw another double pole for Foster, topping the timesheets for the weekend.
Frederick took his fifth win of the season finishing over three seconds clear of pole-sitter Foster with Fredericks teammate Azman completing the podium. Lanan’s Bart Horsten flew through the grid, originally starting the race in P18 and finishing in P8 ahead of teammate Piers Prior in P14.
Race two saw Maini claiming his third win of the year, with the Indian driver finishing over four seconds clear of De Pauw who climbed his way up the grid from P9 to P2 and Skelton taking third in once again a stellar performance.
Foster in very wet conditions claimed the third race win of the weekend. After a safety car start, he crossed the checkered flag two seconds clear of Frederick in P2 and Pedersen, who held of both Douglas racers to take P3.
De Pauw took victory in the last race of the weekend after taking P1 in the first lap. Frederick ended his weekend on the podium once again, with his teammate Azman completing the podium to give Carlin a double podium after holding off Hillspeed’s Oliver Clarke.
ROUND 19/20/21 – 24th/25th OCTOBER – DONINGTON PARK NATIONAL
Returning to Donington park for the penultimate weekend of the championship both Frederick and Maini were in contention for the championship win. With dark clouds looming, Frederick secured a double pole with just 0.576 seconds covering the top-15 drivers.
The dark clouds turned into persistent heavy rain when the first race of the weekend was scheduled to start, resulting in the race being postponed to the Sunday. Providing a triple header for the second day of the weekend.
The first out of three races saw Frederick taking the win and reclaiming the championship lead from Maini who finished the race in P9. With this being his sixth win of the season he now held a 14 point advantage.
However, the story wasn’t the same for the American in race two as he passed the checkered flag in P7. It was his teammate, Azman, who took the victory in the second race of the weekend who took the lead at the start of the race. The podium was completed by Benjamin Pedersen from Double R Racing and De Pauw taking his second podium of the day.
When it came to Race 3, Frederick played out a classic performance and dominated the final race of the weekend extending his championship lead heading into the final weekend. Race 3 also saw Maini take his first podium of the weekend in P3. Hillspeed’s Sasakorn Chaimongkol claimed his first podium of the year after a fantastic race finishing in P2.
ROUND 22/23/24 – 7th/8th NOVEMBER – SILVERSTONE
One thing that British F3 doesn’t lack is suspense. The championship win came down to the last race after Frederick missed out in the second race of the weekend. However much like the rest of the year, he dominated in qualifying and took another double pole start with championship rival Maini behind him in P2. His perfect qualifying even saw him break the Silverstone qualifying lap record.
After taking his sixth and seventh pole position starts of the weekend he secured the £1,000 prize for the Jack Cavill Pole Position Cup, with his time of 1m 54.354 seconds being 1.5 seconds quicker than the previous qualifying record at the circuit.
Race one was once again dominated by Frederick who had the championship win in his sights as rival Maini finished in P3. He had been passed by Simmonds who returned to the grid for the final weekend with JHR Developments and in turn, gave them their first British F3 podium as he finished the race in a deserved second place.
However, even with the plain sailing from Frederick in the first race of the weekend, this would not be the case in the second race as he finished in P12. His saving grace came about with Maini taking P17. The result saw the rivals separated by 33 points going into the final race of the season. The top step of the podium was claimed by Pedersen who started third but had Horsten hot on his tail after dominating the grid finishing P2 after starting P10. Securing P2 came from a stunning last lap overtake on Azmin who rounded off the podium in a respectable third.
The final race. With the championship still up for grabs, both Frederick and Maini could have ended the weekend the winner after a season no one expected. When the checkered flag was flown for the last time it was Kaylen Frederick who led the entire race securing the BRDC British Championship title in style.
Frederick becomes the first-ever American to win the British F3 title, with championship rival Maini only managing to take sixth place in the final race of the season at Silverstone.
The BRDC British F3 season kicks off in April with the traditional season opener taking place at Oulton Park over the Easter Bank Holiday Saturday and Monday.
All images are credited to: @BRDCBritishF3 Twitter