Russian Formula 3 driver Alexander Smolyar has reversed his decision not to participate in the FIA series this year and entered as a neutral driver.announced last week he “will not compete in FIA F3 and any international racing series this year.” His decision followed the FIA’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The governing body declared any Russian drivers participating in its series must do so as neutral competitors. They are also required to “sign a declaration committing to adhere to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality.”
The FIA entry list for this weekend’s season-opening races in Bahrain shows Smolyar has entered as an Authorised Neutral Driver.
Smolyar’s confirmation completes the 30-strong F3 grid for 2022. Niko Kari took the last vacant spot on the grid, at Jenzer.
On the rest of the grid, returning race winner Arthur Leclerc and podium finisher Jak Crawford find themselves contending with hotly-tipped multiple-F4 series champion Oliver Bearman at Prema. Juan Manuel Correa continues his impressive return to motorsport at ART, alongside a very strong line-up of race winner Victor Martins and Formula Regional European champion Gregoire Saucy.
Hitech’s Isack Hadjar impressed during the Bahrain test several weeks ago, topping the second and third days’ times and setting the outright fastest lap of testing before running was curtailed by a sandstorm.
Like Formula 2, F3 is returning to a two-race weekend structure this year, having held three races per event in 2021. Although both F3 races are the same length, without a pit stop, nominally the Saturday race is a sprint and so will set the grid by reversing the top 12 from Friday’s qualifying session, with the Sunday race using the order from qualifying.
2022 Formula 3 field
|Prema||Oliver Bearman||Arthur Leclerc||Jak Crawford|
|Trident||Jonny Edgar||Zane Maloney||Roman Stanek|
|ART||Gregoire Saucy||Juan Manuel Correa||Victor Martins|
|Hitech||Isack Hadjar||Kaylen Frederick||Nazim Azman|
|Van Amersfoort||Reece Ushijima||Rafael Villagomez||Franco Colapinto|
|MP||Caio Collet||Kush Maini||Alexander Smolyar|
|Campos||Pepe Marti||Hunter Yeany||David Vidales|
|Carlin||Zak O’Sullivan||Brad Benevides||Enzo Trulli|
|Jenzer||Ido Cohen||William Alatalo||Niko Kari|
|Charouz||Laszlo Toth||Francesco Pizzi||Ayrton Simmons|
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This story has been amended to correct an error regarding Smolyar’s licence
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