Home Formula 3FIA F3 Championship Marti gains pole for Monaco F3 sprint race after Saucy penalty

Marti gains pole for Monaco F3 sprint race after Saucy penalty

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Pepe Marti has been promoted onto reversed-grid pole position for Saturday’s Formula 3 sprint race in Monaco after Gregoire Saucy was penalised.

Saucy, currently second in the championship standings, was originally set to start the race from pole having been the sixth-fastest driver in the slower of the two qualifying groups.

However, the ART Grand Prix driver was later found guilty of not respecting a yellow flag and was given a three-place grid penalty.

The incident is understood to have happened at the end of the first qualifying group after Sebastian Montoya had hit the barriers and stopped his damaged car at Turn 15 – the chicane at the exit of the Swimming Pool section.

Stewards determined Saucy “was on a fast lap and driving towards T15 when he saw a single yellow flag being waved and a car which had crashed on the left side of the track. The driver had adequate time to react to the notification and he confirmed he saw the panel and flag.

“Marshalling segment data showed that the driver set a time that was faster that his previous session times and consequently he drove his fastest lap time of the session. This does not reflect a significant reduction in speed as required by the regulations.

“Video evidence showed that a marshal waved a green flag just after the crashed car, which made the yellow area much smaller than the marshalling sector.”

In addition to the grid penalty, Saucy also recieves two penalty points on his record, his first of the season.

The penalty means the three drivers who were set to start behind Saucy all move up one place, with Campos Racing driver Marti gaining pole with Leonardo Fornaroli to start alongside him and Taylor Barnard in third.

Marti already won the season-opening sprint race in Bahrain, while Fornaroli and Barnard will look to secure their first F3 podiums.

Another driver penalised after qualifying was Mari Boya, who was originally set to start both races from 17th. A three-place grid penalty for impeding Zak O’Sullivan in qualifying, plus a five-place drop carried over from the last race in Melbourne for running into Nikola Tsolov, means Boya will start the sprint race from 25th.