Home Esports Podcast: Creating FIA Formula 3 driver rankings for F1 2020

Podcast: Creating FIA Formula 3 driver rankings for F1 2020

by Formula Scout

Photos: Getty Images

A new feature on the official F1 2020 game enables you to sign drivers from 2019’s Formula 2 grid to race in your own F1 team. Formula Scout has gone a step further and added this year’s FIA F3 grid

Using numbers on a scale as a metric to create competition in a game was first mastered by card playing franchise Top Trumps in the late 1970s, and in recent decades has been surpassed in popularity by console-based football simulator FIFA.

Formula 1 caught up to that bandwagon earlier this year and introduced driver ratings for the 2020 F1 field and the starting grid of the 2019 Formula 2 season to the latest edition of its official tie-in racing game. It caused a lot of debate, especially as the F2 drivers were marked on a rating out of 100 for their attributes as if they were racing in F1 rather than a scale of their ability in F2. Which would make it all the more fun to make some predictions on how FIA Formula 3 Championship drivers would fit into the same parameters after the end of their 2020 season.

In the latest episode of the Formula Scout Podcast, the team does just that, and with only a few rules: no FIA F3 driver can have an attribute score higher than the game developer Codemasters issued to an F2 driver, and no FIA F3 driver can be slower than MP Motorsport’s 2019 F2 struggler Mahaveer Raghunathan on pace.

You can find it on Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Castbox, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Here’s a taste of the debate that went on, and what scores were awarded:

Elliot Wood: To inform our choices, we’ve used the data presented here to get an understanding of how quick drivers were in qualifying and races, and how they fared against their team-mates. As this data shows, the title race was a lot less close than the actual competitive order in both qualifying and on race pace.

Because we did have cameoing drivers this season – and here’s what’s going to make our driver ratings interesting – with people like Ben Barnicoat at Carlin who was top 10 on pace in his two appearances at Silverstone despite not racing in single-seaters for several years, that does make him eligible for our driver ratings, even if Codemasters wouldn’t.

Let’s say we’re in MyTeam on F1 2020, and we want to choose an F3 driver to take into F2 for 2021, and then go into our career mode for 2022. It could be Alessio Deledda, it could be Ben Barnicoat, it could be champion Oscar Piastri. To further explain our choices, this is F1’s explanation behind the attributes we can score these drivers on, and how that can impact career mode gameplay.

Craig Woollard: Let’s start with the champion Piastri, who I have given an overall rating of 64 and highlighted his Awareness as his top attribute. The highest rated 2019 F2 driver was Jack Aitken, he got 67, and that was a controversial score in itself.

Josh Suttill: I agree with the 64. One of the best in the field, his best attribute for sure was racecraft and his awareness. Just look at Monza for that, the way he was able to come through the field. Maybe lacking on the ultimate pace, certainly in qualifying, but in the races, he made up for it. When you’re in a good position, you don’t have to push, so maybe your lap time is less [than it could be].

Bethonie Waring: I didn’t put Piastri as high up in my overall ratings. Controversial considering he won the title, but I don’t think by the end of the season he was the best driver. I’ve given him Awareness to as his top attribute because I figured that he’s not top on pace is he because he wasn’t always in clean air, so it was a toss-up between Awareness and Racecraft for me because if you’re not at the front and you’re still getting points, it means you’re driving well enough to stay out of everyone else’s accidents. Obviously he did a couple of times, but he was pretty good at getting points.

EW: I think the overall rating is acceptable, racecraft can’t be as high as 64, only three lower than Guanyu Zhou’s 2019 F2 score. I don’t think FIA F3 is really where you do prove your racecraft, I think that’s F2. Racecraft I would lower to high-50s, and you’d have to give him good Awareness and good Experience. Throughout his career he’s not been a top qualifier, so dare I say pace down at 55.

CW: Frederik Vesti by the end of the season was arguably the man to beat. He won three Saturday races, I’ve given him an overall rating of 52, and put racecraft as his weakest attribute and pace as his strongest.

EW: I think Vesti was very quick in quali and the races, and he had three Saturday races where he retired so it cost him the title. He is a good race, he just doesn’t have enough opportunities to show it. Look at his 2019 Formula Regional European title.

CW: There must be some kind of hidden unknown rating which is ‘ultimate potential’, and all of these drivers are going to have the potential to grow higher. Vesti’s potential is going to be really high.

JS: He had a lot of bad luck too. I put Vesti a lot closer to [the third Prema driver] Logan Sargeant in the ratings, not much between them. Given Sargeant had an extra year in the series, by the end Vesti was probably the best Prema driver.

CW: I’ve Sargeant an overall rating of 60, as have you Bethonie.

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

BW: He didn’t quite have that edge over Piastri, or the consistency Piastri had, but on his day he was better than Piastri was on his [best] days. But Piastri was above average more often that Sargeant was above his own average. That’s my basis, as I’ve given Piastri 61. They were pretty evenly matched.

JS: Sargeant got more of his maximum potential out than Piastri. This will probably stand as his best year in car racing. Racecraft-wise is probably where he’s lacking, pace-wise he’s very much up there – it was his pace that took him to three poles, but only became a win. It’s difficult to say, I’d probably put him fourth or fifth best in this field for me.

CW: Next is Liam Lawson. Won three times, much misfortune and engine failures. Not every driver got on board with the way he raced, which is why I have given him an overall rating of 52, very strong pace, quite high racecraft, but awareness is lacking somewhat.

EW: If I was a My Team team boss, I would go hmmm to signing him. (But this does not reflect my real-world view).

CW: Now Theo Pourchaire, title runner-up, one of the youngest and least experienced, but acquitted himself incredibly well in FIA F3. I’ve given him an overall score of 60, I see some higher scores.  I’ve highlighted awareness as something that can definitely be improved, he had a few incidents, but he will learn. But I thought his racecraft was exceptional this year and his pace was very, very strong.

JS: I disagree with you on this one. To me, he’s the brightest prospect in the field, only his third year in car racing and I thought he was brilliant. Shades of Yuki Tsunoda in the way that he’s very, very quick, adapts very quickly. Don’t want to jump the gun on this one but if I’m thinking of My Team and who I want to promote to F2, it would be Pourchaire. There’s so much more to come.

BW: By the end of the season I thought he was the best driver out there. His first season where he hasn’t won a title though.

EW: I was very impressed by him. Very mature. He was very quick, but the field was so tight it exaggerated his pace advantage over his ART Grand Prix team-mates. But on race pace, he was second only to Vesti. To be faster than lots of experienced drivers, that’s mad skills. Long-term prospects on My Team, high pace, high awareness, racecraft is good, only experience is lacking. If I were a top F1 team I would sign him, but if I wasn’t I wouldn’t sign him as I need the in-game resource points that more experienced drivers can provide.

CW: A driver who can provide that is Trident’s David Beckmann. He inherited two Sunday wins this year. I gave him an overall rating of 58 but highlighted his awareness as the top attribute. He only failed to score when Piastri took him out at Monza. But he sometimes lacked some decisiveness in racecraft and his pace wasn’t as strong as some other drivers.

EW: I think Beckmann did a really good recovery job after 2019. What cost him this year was race pace. I would have given him the single-lap pace attribute on the grid.

JS: Don’t agree with that. He’s up there, especially in consistency, but not top. There should really be a consistency attribute. Good to see him back on form this year, but felt like there was something missing in race pace too.

CW: Over at HWA Racelab, Enzo Fittipaldi came on strong at the end of the year. Given him an overall rating of 45, which isn’t high on paper, but definitely potential for him to climb further. And that rating is based on his 2020 as a whole.

BW: I think 45 is where he was. He was one of the drivers that really missed out by the season being so compressed. He showed that he was growing, and hopefully stays in F3 in real-life rather than jump to F2 for 2021. Showed surprisingly good awareness, he was a decent driver.

EW: His race runs in the second half of the season, once HWA had changed set-up direction, were incredibly consistent. Good choice for MyTeam as his surname should bring sponsors.

CW: Fittipaldi’s team-mate Jake Hughes, gave him an overall rating of 62. I think the second highest I’ve awarded. Given him the highest experience score too, not much of a surprise, awareness was good, racecraft was pretty stellar as well, and I thought he was quite strong pace-wise. There won’t too many flaws with Hughes this year, just wasn’t with a top team at the start. But neither was he particularly outstanding in any area.

JS: I think that’s about right. He definitely got the best out of the HWA package, but there was a lot more that could have come from him this year. Look at his pace, and it doesn’t match up to the overall standings after the technical problems he had.

BW: A risk to stay in F3 for another year, but he did do well and he can be happy with this year. Don’t think I would have made him second-best, but he deserved a relatively high rating. Got the best out HWA’s package, and didn’t show himself up with that. And now he’s debuting in F2.

CW: Moving on to MP. Bent Viscaal took a win, lost a second one at Hungaroring. Gone for an overall rating of 49, highlighted his awareness despite the penalties that cost him the Hungaroring win.

EW: I think he underperformed a bit this year. Has a high awareness among the F3 drivers, but racecraft and experience is down. Pace is almost an unknown. We kind of know Viscaal can be a frontrunning, quick driver, but we haven’t seen it enough to know exactly where he sits in the order of things. Pretty low down on the data analysis in positions. Don’t think MP had a competitive qualifying package, which cost him. On race pace, he was 17th fastest, and 0.4% off Piastri, so hard to judge where he was really at.

JS: A lot of untapped potential for Viscaal, who will rue Hungaroring. Was brilliant at Silverstone, showed superior racecraft against Zendeli. Other MP drivers: Richard Verschoor is very, very good and has a lot of potential, but MP was not quite with it. Cost him podiums. Another one who’s hard to place, but certainly above Viscaal.

CW: At Charouz, there were three strong drivers there at various points in the season, but didn’t quite happen for them and scored few points. And some final round controversy in releasing Igor Fraga, who I rated as 51. Looks ridiculously high for a driver who scored one point, but he was particularly effective in Toyota Racing Series at the start of 2020. I thought his pace was pretty good in FIA F3 too, but he was often slower in qualifying than he was in free practice.

EW: Hard to tell how he performed in FIA F3, especially with his qualifying oddity. I think he lost confidence but on a good learning curve. His awareness and racecraft is very good, as we saw in TRS, so put him in the higher end of this field on those attributes, but overall probably bottom third of the grid for overall rating.

BW: A lot of these drivers clearly need a second campaign in something where they can show what they can do. I was really excited about Fraga at the start of the year after TRS. Really hope he can bounce back in 2021.

CW: Carlin had six drivers, and sportscar regular Barnicoat I rated highly from his cameos as he is a bit older, learned quite a lot in sportscars and translated that well in F3. Josh, what did you make of him, and think it’s fair we include him in our ratings given he raced at only one circuit?

JS: By Codemasters’ way of doing things, joining mid-season means you’re not in the game. But it’s our rules, so we’re going to say he is. He was seventh on race pace average, very impressive given his time out of single-seaters. Could have got a podium before a technical failure. I remember his racecraft being very, very good there, as he defended from the front in a car slower than those behind. Adapted very well, and he’s been among some of the best ratings for me. In the high 50s maybe.

EW: If I wanted a totally left-field signing for My Team, who else would I want than someone like Barnicoat. He’s had a mad career, would be fun to have him on My Team alongside someone like Lando Norris.

CW: Alex Peroni had a strong year at Campos, which didn’t have a particularly effective package at some points of the season. He got podiums though and challenged for the top 10 basically every weekend. Very strong second year in the series, coming back from his horrible Monza accident in 2019, and my rating reflects that at 53. Effective in every department.

BW: I didn’t realise he was with Campos! Because he’s had a really good year, solid drives, kept out of messes. I’d be very happy with my performances if I was him.

EW: Probably the class of the field in what he was doing with the equipment he had. At the start of the year, Campos was on the pace, he was close to pole, but then it got slower. Yet he still made the top 10 on all our statistical parameters, and he rivalled Piastri on pace. I would certainly sign him for My Team.

Also, because on F1 2020 you have Hanoi, Baku, Monaco, Singapore, Sochi, where Peroni’s street circuit prowess will be of use. Not sure how that equates to rating but would be a really good signing for My Team.

CW: Unfortunately, Street circuit-ness is not an attribute.

BW: Could do an IndyCar and have a street circuit-specialist and a road course specialist.

EW: Good idea, I’ll have Barnicoat in for all circuits on GT World Challenge calendar, then swap in Peroni for street circuits. Alongside Lando too. Would be brilliant on social media.

CW: One driver you might not want to sign for your My Team (as it’s filled up) is Alessio Deledda. Had a very, very difficult campaign, almost always had incidents in weekends, and he has the lowest ratings. Does he deserve to be at the bottom with an overall rating of 22? A bit harsh?

JS: No. If we compare him to Ragunathan, probably similar, but Raghunathan scored a point and Deledda wasn’t in the top 20.

EW: But we haven’t interviewed Deledda. We don’t know his story…


Formula Scout’s FIA F3 drivers rankings for F1 2020
Name Team Experience Racecraft Awareness Pace Rating
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-Benz 89 93 95 96 94
Jack Aitken Campos Racing 32 56 80 74 67
Oscar Piastri Prema 22 64 73 60 63
Jake Hughes HWA Racelab 31 63 73 62 62
Theo Pourchaire ART Grand Prix 14 65 62 64 62
Logan Sargeant Prema 24 62 56 66 60
Ben Barnicoat Carlin 30 58 73 57 57
Lirim Zendeli Trident 24 52 58 66 56
Frederik Vesti Prema 20 49 54 68 54