After a whirlwind two months, the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship season will declare its champion this weekend.
In a season that has seen 30 talented young drivers from around the world battle it out over 18 races across nine rounds at seven racetracks, just three drivers remain in the mix to take out the title.
Fortunately for Australians, one of the contenders, Oscar Piastri, hails from Victoria and currently leads the Championship ahead of the final round.
It’s been a solid season for Piastri, who won the Formula Renault Eurocup series last year and the 19-year-old has not looked out of place during the eight completed rounds thus far.
It was an incredible start for Piastri in July at the Red Bull Ring in Austria as he secured maximum points in his debut race over Prema Racing teammate and fellow title contender Logan Sargeant.
Throughout the year, not much has separated the duo, with each claiming two race wins, four podiums and a number of top 10 finishes, leaving the difference of eight points in Piastri’s favour.
Sargeant went into last weekend’s round at Monza with a slight advantage but gained no points after making contact in both races, while Piastri enjoyed one of his best performances this year, climbing from 15th to third, which helped him regain the championship lead, although his retirement in Sunday’s race didn’t help his ultimate cause.
Making matters even harder after what was a chaotic weekend, both Piastri and Sargeant have been hit with grid penalties, five places for the Australian and three for American, giving the third placed Theo Pourchaire a chance to take out the title too.
Despite the penalty, Piastri remains optimistic about his chances to claim his second title in as many years and identified qualifying as the most important aspect for the weekend.
“I’m feeling confident ahead of this weekend. I had a good weekend in Monza in terms of my own performance, so I’m looking to carry that into Mugello,” Piastri told Motorsport Australia.
“The five-place penalty isn’t going to make life easy, but I’m up for the challenge and the main focus is going to be to qualify as well as I can to try and minimise the penalty’s damage.
“Qualifying is crucial because overtaking at Mugello is difficult and the dirty air will have a big effect due to the high speed nature of the track, so the higher up I can start, the better it’ll be.
“I think Theo is definitely a threat. He needs quite a strong weekend to overcome Logan and I, but as we saw in Monza, a lot can happen very quickly. He also has a bit of a head start heading into the first race due to our penalties.
“Even though eight points isn’t much of a buffer, I’m still glad I have that little advantage and there is still everything to play for this weekend.”
The other Australians competing this weekend will be Alex Peroni, who is vying for a top 10 finish, Jack Doohan and Calan Williams – both of whom are looking to grab their first points for the year.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship concludes this weekend as a support category during the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello Circuit on 12-13 September.
Formula 3 Schedule
Friday 11 September– Qualifying: 10.05pm - 10.35pm
Saturday 12 September - Race 1: 6:25pm – 7:10pm
Sunday 13 September - Race 2: 6:30pm – 7:15pm
*All Times are marked Australian Eastern Standard Time
*All races can be viewed live on Fox Sports 506 or streamed Kayo.