RaceFans’ top 10 FIA Formula 3 drivers of 2023

Formula 3

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For the first time ever, Formula 1’s third tier single-seater support series raced on three continents this year and there were 35 drivers who took part.

As the seasonwent on, more and more of those drivers got snapped up by F1 teams to become junior drivers, which has helped several be able to stay in Formula 3 for another year and for others to step up to Formula 2 in 2024.

But who impressed the most over the 18-race Formula 3 championship campaign and what can we expect of them in the future?

10. Caio Collet

Collet took his sole victory at Spa
Van Amersfoort
Wins: 1
Podiums: 4
Points: 73

Over 97% of Van Amersfoort’s points were scored by Caio Collet, who was consistently strong in qualifying but found himself trying to lose as few positions as possible when it came to races rather than looking to move forward. He did get podiums at the Red Bull Ring and won the Spa-Francorchamps sprint race, but his average finishing position was 12th. Lots to improve on for 2024.

9. Dino Beganovic

Beganovic secured a top six finish in his rookie year
Podiums: 4
Points: 96

Sixth place in the FIA F3 standings is nothing to be sniffed at, except Dino Beganovic was the lowest placed of Prema’s three drivers, was the only driver in the championship’s top 10 not to win a race, the most inconsistent driver in the paddock when it came to qualifying (despite his team having a car that should have guaranteed him a top 10 placing at every track) and his final championship placing was basically the lowest he was likely to finish anyway given Prema’s competitive advantage.

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8. Jonny Edgar

Edgar became a F3 winner at Monza
MP Motorsport
Wins: 1
Podiums: 1
Points: 55

It is approach, rather than pace, that earns Jonny Edgar a spot in the top ten. His patience was rewarded when he made the podium for the first time in the season’s final race at Monza. To get a feature race victory in Formula 3is a difficult accomplishment, and it was a hard-fought for win too. It can’t be understated how important that result was for Edgar’s season, as he delivered MP Motorsport their only Sunday win, and his future in racing. Whether that did enough to keep him in single-seater racing is yet to be determined.

7. Franco Colapinto

Franco Colapinto, Monza, 2023
Colapinto’s second win wasn’t enough to secure runner-up spot
MP Motorsport
Wins: 2
Podiums: 5
Points: 110

Franco Colapinto came into 2023 adamant he could win the F3 title. During the season he never qualified lower than 12th, but also never higher than third. Therefore he was too reliant on sprint races for points, and his non-score in the season finale left him fourth in the standings. He was more consistent than in his rookie season, but not notably faster. The Williams junior has already made his F2 debut and will race there full-time next year, but it would be easier to do the extra learning he needs with another season in F3 rather than the more challenging environment of F2.

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6. Gabriele Mini

Mini was the first to take pole, feature race win and fastest lap
Wins: 1
Poles: 1
Podiums: 4
Points: 92

Gabriele Mini scored twice as many points as both of his team mates, but was awfully inconsistent and under-performed too often. Four times he qualified in the top three, but on four occasions he also qualified outside the top 10. That meant he was letting himself down before reaching races, where he was consistently fast (his average long-run pace across the season being the best of anyone) but often starting too far down the order to benefit. Taking away Monaco, where he did not have to do too much to win once he had qualified on pole, he only scored in three feature races.

5. Paul Aron

The second of Aron’s four podiums was in Monaco
Wins: 1
Podiums: 4
Points: 112

Only the champion had fewer non-scores than fellow rookie Paul Aron, and the key difference was the former used their consistency to rack up podiums while Aron’s consistency rewarded him with finishes outside of the top three most of the time. Four podiums from 18 starts in a Prema-run car is too little a return. But like his team mate one position above in the standings and this rankings, he found a way to bring home a lot of points. He does show year-on-year growth, but by stepping up to F2 next year he denies himself the opportunity to see how much he could improve in F3.

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4. Zak O’Sullivan

Zak O'Sullivan, Hungaroring, 2023
O’Sullivan won from pole at the Hungaroring
Wins: 4
Poles: 1
Podiums: 5
Points: 119

There’s a reason why Zak O’Sullivan was championship runner-up despite failing to score in half of the year’s races. He could be at the front on pace, as shown by his win from pole at the Hungaroring, or he was making mistakes in qualifying and leaving himself with too much to do. The in-between was being fifth or sixth fastest, a good place to be to score sprint race points.

Regardless of where he started, he had strong long-run pace that helped him win four races and take three fastest laps. Once he became a title contender, though, he did not falter, and he was the top scorer at the benchmark Prema team despite his habit of taking his car to a position outside of the points. As he was winning races on his strong days, that’s what made the difference. He heads to F2 next year with ART.

3. Taylor Barnard

Taylor Barnard, Formula 3, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Late surge promoted Barnard to 10th in the points
Wins: 1
Podiums: 3
Points: 72

The competitiveness of his team’s package meant Taylor Barnard had a handful of ninth place finishes mid-season and he was 16th in the standings with three races to go. Winning the next race at Spa, then finishing fourth and third in the two Monza races catapulted him up to tenth. His team mates scored 36 points combined across the season, just two more than Barnard scored at Spa alone.

Barnard raced in Formula 4 last year and had a race-winning Formula Regional Middle East campaign at the start of 2023 to prepare for the big step up to F3. His adaptation and points-scoring form in one of F3’s weaker teams makes you wonder what he could have done if he had been driving for one of the big hitters.

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2. Pepe Marti

Marti, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2023
Marti and Campos won at home at Barcelona
Wins: 3
Poles: 2
Podiums: 4
Points: 105

Pepe Marti won the season opener, then took two more wins on the streets of Monaco and at Barcelona. That he sank to fifth in the standings at Monza did not look good, and in qualifying he had a habit of either qualifying on pole or out of the top 10 as he totally lacked consistency. He was the 12th-fastest driver on average in qualifying – yet nobody earned more points from those sessions than him.

Even when starting in the midfield he could show strong long-run pace, key to scoring points in races, and without a disastrous Monza weekend should have been championship runner-up. Red Bull signed him ahead of that weekend, and have put him in Campos’ F2 line-up for 2024.

1. Gabriel Bortoleto

Champion Bortoleto won early in Bahrain
Wins: 2
Poles: 1
Podiums: 6
Points: 164

Fernando Alonso signed Gabriel Bortoleto to his management group last year while he was racing in Formula Regional, where he was capable of winning but not putting together a title challenge, then his reward for becoming FIA F3 champion as a rookie this year was to be signed by McLaren to their driver development programme.

Although Bortoleto started the season by finishing 19th in the opening race, thanks to a crash he was at fault for, he rebounded by winning the feature race at Bahrain and then was super consistent at the front of the field. His only other non-scores came at Spa, and although fifth place was his best feature race result in the season’s second half he was still able to become champion by a sizeable 45 points and secured the title with two races to go.

Matching Oscar Piastri’s title-winning points haul from 2021 shows how well managed Bortoleto’s season was, even though he only took two victories, and now he will be trying to emulate Piastri’s F2 title too as he steps up to the next level with Virtuosi.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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3 comments on “RaceFans’ top 10 FIA Formula 3 drivers of 2023”

  1. It was quite a topsy-turvy F3 season with a lot of crashes and a lot of safety cars.

    I think this list is a fairly accurate reflection of the season that just passed. I’d probably swap Marti and O’Sullivan. Zak O’Sullivan improved so much over the course of the season, and in the last few rounds looked to be the fastest, definitely the most confident driver out there. The ART seat in F2 is a good seat to have!

    As a side note on Taylor Barnard, in Formula Regional Middle East, the very first race, he stormed up the field from last on the grid to the podium, no DRS. A real talent going begging for more recognition.

    Also a shout out to Johnny Edgar, who also flies under the radar. But the driver of the season was the ever-consistent Gabriel Bortoleto.

  2. I’m not surprised to see both A14 drivers at the top of this ranking. Bortoleto’s charge has been really great to watch, he’s been very solid and consistent. Pepe Marti has been more up and down but still super fast on his days.

    Looking at drivers making the jump to F2, I feel it is a bit premature for some drivers. But next year’s F2 is an entirely new car, with powersteering and more in line with either F3 and F1 so maybe the gap isn’t that big anymore.

  3. Nice read – thank you @wood_ida_. And I hope you feel better soon. Sending you a hug.

    I am so grateful I discovered F3 and F2 a few years ago. It’s so much more interesting to follow the trajectory of the drivers who do make it to F1, and the racing is so exciting.

    I think Pepe Marti is going to be the one to really grow in 2024. He looks like a future star to me. And when you’re only 18 years old, an extra year of life is a big slice of maturity pie. Or tortilla. :)

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