After the Melbourne round, which also marked the debut of the propaedeutic category in Australia, the F3 opted for two in-season test sessions between the Spanish circuit of Barcelona and the Italian circuit of Imola. An opportunity also to bridge the long break of over a month and a half between the Australian appointment and the next stage on the calendar, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix towards the end of May.
The first two days of testing took place on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 April in Spain, while the second was completed this week, Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 on the track on the banks of the Santerno.
On the first day, the fastest rider was Nikita Bedrin, who set the fastest time in both the morning and afternoon sessions. In a morning dominated by qualifying simulations, in which the drivers were able to gain further confidence with the single-seaters, the Jenzer Motorsport standard bearer set a time of 1:31.445 in the last hour of practice, with less than a tenth of a second of advantage on Paul Aron and Gabriele Minì, with the latter trailing by 72 thousandths. The Italian from Hitech is also the driver who completed the most laps in the morning, putting together a total of 37 laps.
In the afternoon of the first day, Bedrin did it again, lowering the time obtained in the morning to 1:30.368, this time ahead of Gabriel Bortoleto and Dino Beganovic but with a lead that he exceeded by more than three tenths. As the final half hour approached, two flags temporarily halted the session: first for Leonardo Fornaroli stopped in the gravel at the exit of turn 18 then, shortly after the restart, Mari Boya went off the scene at turn 10 six minutes from end of session. Bedrin’s time was set right between the two stops, when the track temperature had dropped to around 24°C, much lower than in the morning.
Eventful session for Bortoleto, with the Brazilian of Trident who lost part of the session due to a technical problem with his single-seater. Goethe and Rodin Carlin’s Oliver Gray made the most of the time available on the track, completing 45 laps each.
Nikita Bedrin, Jenzer Motorsport
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
On the second day, rookies Gabriel Bortoleto and Nikita Bedrin repeated themselves once again, setting the best times at the Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari. Bortoeleto set the best time of the tests with a 1:30.312 in the morning, when the track temperatures were around 40°C. The Brazilian prevailed right in front of Franco Colapinto and Bedrin, with the latter then taking the lead again in the afternoon, albeit setting a lower time than Bortoleto.
The Jenzer Motorsport driver was fastest in both sessions on Tuesday, repeating himself on Wednesday afternoon’s finale. In the afternoon session on the final day he finished 0.221s ahead of teammate Taylor Barnard, while Bortoleto finished in third place. More behind Minì, who ended the morning outside the top ten, while he managed to climb up to seventh position in the following hours before the test ended.
The afternoon session was especially useful for completing a good number of laps and riding consistently, with Zak O’Sullivan who managed 66 laps ahead of Collett and Saucy, who stopped at 63.