Home Formula RegionalEurocup-3 Stenshorne and Tsolov to be barred from F3 races after cameos

Stenshorne and Tsolov to be barred from F3 races after cameos

by Peter Allen

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Newly signed McLaren junior Martinius Stenshorne and Alpine-backed Nikola Tsolov have been blocked from the Formula 3 rounds at Silverstone and Spa respectively after competing in recent races at those tracks.

F3 regulations restrict racing in other single-seater series unless “explicitly approved by the FIA and [championship] promoter in writing”.

Stenshorne was summoned by stewards on Thursday ahead of the F3 round at Imola after taking part in the two GB3 races held at Silverstone last month with Chris Dittmann Racing without obtaining this permission or notifying the FIA or the promoter.

He said he was unaware of the requirements of article 10.4 regarding other single-seater activities, and that his participation in the GB3 races and pre-event testing were arranged “by his management team”.

A representative from his F3 team Hitech “was unaware of the driver’s participation in the GB3 test and competition in Silverstone until he received the summons from the stewards but admitted that Hitech was present in the event as they run three cars in the GB3 Championship.”

In deciding to suspend Stenshorne from the Silverstone F3 round in early July – and award him four penalty points – the stewards noted “that both FIA and Promoter representative admitted that if they had received a request for [Stenshorne] to be part of the standalone race in Silverstone, they would have denied the authorisation due to the similarities between the GB3 car and the F3 car and the sporting advantage gain for the driver.”

On Thursday evening Hitech confirmed it is appealing the decision, describing it as “extremely strong compared to similar infringements”.

Stenshorne, part of the All Road Management stable, was announced as joining McLaren’s driver development programme on Thursday morning together with rival F3 racer Alex Dunne.

Tsolov received a similar punishment barring him from the Spa event at the end of July after taking part in the Eurocup-3 season opener at the Belgian track last month, also without requesting the necessary approval.

He also told stewards he was unaware of this requirement, and that his participation in Eurocup-3 with GRS – which ART Grand Prix’s representative was unaware of – was organised by his management just three days beforehand. He plans to compete in three more non-clashing rounds, having already contested two last year.

Part of the A14 Management group, Tsolov is now up to six penalty points for 2024, having received two for crashing into Dunne in practice in Melbourne.

Another F3 rookie, Arvid Lindblad, had joined Stenshorne on track for GB3 testing at Silverstone with Fortec Motorsports and he too was summoned by the stewards at Imola, who determined neither he nor his F3 team Prema had notified the FIA beforehand as required for such a test.

Lindblad “explained that his management team organised the test session at Silverstone and there was a miscommunication with” Prema, which said it was unaware of the test until it received the summons on Thursday.

Stewards determined “this was an administrative error” by Prema and Lindblad and issued a fine of €20,000, half of which is suspended pending no similar infraction for the rest of this year.