Caio Collet, Van Amersfoort, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023

No points awarded as Collet wins Safety Car-strewn F3 sprint race

Formula 3

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Caio Collet mastered tricky conditions to win the Formula 3 sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps after several Safety Car interruptions.

But he and his rivals will score no points as only a single racing lap took place without the interference of the Safety Car.

That development will come as a relief to championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto. A dramatic qualifying session left him only 15th on the grid, and he retired before the end of the race while key rival Zak O’Sullivan finished fourth.

Hugh Barter started from pole position on a partially reversed grid in damp conditions. Paul Aron joined him on the front row, with Taylor Barnard and Collet directly behind.

As rain clouds loomed, the drivers started on slick tyres The front runners approached turn one cautiously, Barter maintaining his lead. Aron dropped to fourth, however, after a poor exit at the opening corner allowed Barnard and Collet to sweep through.

But as the field charged through Eau Rouge and Raidillon, the slipstream from the leader’s car was strong. Barnard quickly overtook Barter for the lead on the Kemmel straight, before Collet claimed second moments later.

Further around the opening lap Collet performed a daring move on the outside of Blanchimont to claim the lead from Barnard. Meanwhile, Barter continued to drop down the order with Aron back into third.

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However the Safety Car was deployed moments before the opening lap finished. It came after a collision between Sebastian Montoya and Rafael Villagomez, both running out of the points, at the exit of Bruxelles, which put the Red Bull junior out of the race.

Setting the tone of things to come, the race restarted on lap three, but drivers did not even complete a tour before the Safety Car reappeared.

At turn 10 Josep Maria Marti, Bortoleto’s nearest championship rival, tried to overtake Gabriele Mini on the outside but his rear-left tyre got tagged by the Hitech driver. Both spun off.

Then, in a moment of madness, Marti rushed to rejoin the track before the traffic had passed the scene.
He left Ido Cohen with no chance to avoid him, causing a collision which put both drivers out of the race. Marti, clearly distraught over his potentially dangerous misjudgement, ran over to Cohen to apologise.

The race restarted at the end of lap seven. The front runners kept position and the following lap was completed without disruption.

But on lap nine Dino Beganovic locked up into turn one and hit the rear-left suspension of Bortoleto, who had climbed up to ninth. Soon afterwards, Bortoleto brought his car to a stop at the side of Kemmel straight in what appeared to be another twist in the championship picture.

This immediately put the race under a third Safety Car period with three laps remaining. Collet was still in the lead ahead of Barnard and Aron. As drivers remained behind the Safety Car, rain started to fall at various points of the circuit as the race did not get underway again.

Collet subsequently crossed the line ahead of Barnard and Aron with Zak O’Sullivan in fourth. Jonny Edgar was fifth ahead of Franco Colapinto, Barter, Nikola Tsolov and Beganovic, while Luke Browning completed the top 10.

Because no points were awarded, Bortoleto keeps his 42-point lead in the championship ahead of Marti, with O’Sullivan 43 points behind the Trident driver in third.

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Formula 3 Belgium race one results

117Caio ColletVan Amersfoort
227Taylor BarnardJenzer
31Paul AronPrema
43Zak O’SullivanPrema
512Jonny EdgarMP
610Franco ColapintoMP
725Hugh BarterCampos
89Nikola TsolovART
92Dino BeganovicPrema
1016Luke BrowningHitech
114Leonardo FornaroliTrident
128Gregoire SaucyART
1326Nikita BedrinJenzer
1429Maxwell EstersonPHM Racing by Charouz
157Kaylen FrederickART
1621Caio ColletMP
1711Mari BoyaMP
1830Roberto FariaPHM Racing by Charouz
1918Rafael VillagomezVan Amersfoort
2028Alejandro GarcíaJenzer
2119Tom SmithVan Amersfoort
2224Christian MansellCampos
2320Oliver GrayRodin Carlin
2431Woohyun ShinPHM Racing by Charouz
DNF5Gabriel BortoletoTrident
DNF15Gabriele MinìHitech
DNF23Pepe MartíCampos
DNF6Oliver GoetheTrident
DNF22Ido CohenRodin Carlin
DNF14Sebastian MontoyaHitech

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

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3 comments on “No points awarded as Collet wins Safety Car-strewn F3 sprint race”

  1. Wow. So enough laps were done. But not green flag laps. What horrible luck for the winner.

    I think the rules need to change (again). If the full racing distance is completed, at least some points should be awarded.

    1. Yellow Baron
      29th July 2023, 10:44

      Agreed, it’s like the opposite to spa 2021

  2. I’m pretty sure a good lawyer could make a case from the unclear (and probably purposely poor) wording of the ” a minimum of two (2) laps have been completed by the leader without a Safety Car and/or VSC intervention” thing. What’s the meaning of “complete” a lap? Finish it by crossing the start/finish line? Well, the leader crosses it under green flag at the end of every SC intervention, so technically there is no SC at the moment of the completion.

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