Home Featured Leonardo Pulcini to make FIA F3 return with Carlin at Barcelona

Leonardo Pulcini to make FIA F3 return with Carlin at Barcelona

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Joe Portlock / LAT Images / FIA F3 Championship

Carlin has signed Leonardo Pulcini as its next FIA Formula 3 Championship stand-in for this weekend’s Barcelona round, following Enaam Ahmed’s departure from the team last month.

Pulcini finished eighth in FIA F3 last year with Hitech GP, winning once at Silverstone after starting the season as title favourite. It was the Italian’s fifth full year at an F3 level, having won the 2016 Euroformula title and come fourth in GP3 in 2018.

The 22-year-old is now a Lamborghini junior and is racing for Vincenzo Sospiri Racing in Italian GT. He replaces Silverstone stand-in Ben Barnicoat, who required permission from McLaren Customer Racing to join Carlin and is now required on sportscar duties again.

“This was something of an unexpected call up to return to the FIA F3 championship but of course I am excited to get back in the car again and assist Carlin this weekend in any way I can,” said Pulcini.

“As a driver, you want to race at every opportunity so it’s exciting to be back on track in an F3 car in Barcelona. The team have obviously made some good progress in recent weeks and we will be working hard to continue that trend this weekend.”

Carlin team boss Trevor Carlin added: “We’d firstly like to thank McLaren for allowing Ben to race with us at Silverstone but of course his McLaren programme remains his priority so we understand he can’t be with us in Barcelona.

“Leo will be a fantastic asset to the team this weekend. He has great experience in the series, is a proven race winner and will provide useful feedback as we continue our upward progression. We’re grateful he was able to join us this weekend between his Italian GT commitments.”

Barnicoat is also contracted to Carlin to race prototype sportscars, but his current European Le Mans Series campaign has been put on halt, and he last raced in single-seaters in 2016 before his surprise FIA F3 call-up.

He finished 20th and 12th in his first two races back, then scored a point in the first race of the second Silverstone weekend. This put him on reversed-grid pole for what currently stands as the final race of his return, and may have resulted in silverware as he was running in third before a mechanical issue led to him retiring.