Paul Aron says he enjoyed FIA Formula 3’s format on his way to finishing third in his rookie season, as it helps “real good drivers” to standout.
The modern FIA F3 format has often been criticised for the limited track time it provides to drivers aiming for Formula 1 and, therefore, less opportunities for them to learn and improve. However, such conditions could also be said to be ideal for identifying the best drivers, or at least those who can nail a lap at the first attempt on a constantly evolving track.
F3 drivers are the first out on track in the race weekends on Friday for a 45-minute practice session, followed by Formula 2, with both series usually qualifying in the early afternoon after first F1 practice. Saturday is for sprint races, and the feature races take place early on Sunday early morning, with the track rubbered up after two days of on-track activity but with usually lower temperatures than in previous sessions.
Prema driver Aron defended the format and explained Formula Scout why he prefers it over one with a lot of track time.
“Coming into this season, I knew that this championship would play into my strengths,” he said. “I like that there is little track time, I like to be a driver who drives off of instinct. And obviously with this little track time, you don’t have so much time to look at data and learn, you need to go on track and basically drive off your instinct and adapt to the new conditions.
“I’ve liked this aspect of the category and obviously it was new, but nevertheless I prefer a championship with this kind of schedule compared to, let’s say, something we had in the [Formula] Regional that there was a full test day and then we had two 50-minute sessions and then we go to qualifying. Because that gives everybody time to sort out the car balance to, I don’t know, get the driving straight and basically be prepared for qualifying.
“I think real drivers, real good drivers come out when things aren’t so easy, and in F3 having so little track time, you still go into qualifying having to improve in some corners, not really knowing exactly what are the braking points, the tracks are improving. So generally, you need to be much more adaptive and there isn’t this secureness of knowing what to expect.”
Mercedes F1 junior driver Aron will take part in next week’s Macau Grand Prix and the FIA F3 World Cup with Prema, when significantly more track time is scheduled compared to a regular F3 race weekend.