Oliver Bearman took FIA F2 pole in Barcelona denying Enzo Fittipaldi, as Pepe Marti took a home F3 pole.


Oliver Bearman denied Enzo Fittipaldi pole position by just 0.077s with a 1:23.546 in the final moments of Qualifying. The Rodin Carlin provisionally held the top spot until the PREMA Racing driver’s late effort was just good enough to beat the Brazilian to P1. Jack Doohan will be hoping to reignite his season, going from P3 for the Feature Race on Sunday.

Victor Martins led the field out of the pitlane as the light went green to get Qualifying underway. The Frenchman set the initial benchmark but that was swiftly beaten by those behind. Fittipaldi briefly held the top spot until Doohan laid down a 1:24.078 to go three-tenths clear and Ayumu Iwasa slotted into P2, leaving the Rodin Carlin driver third. Dennis Hauger was 0.4s back from Doohan in fourth, just 0.002s clear of Kush Maini in P5.

PREMA Racing opted to run both of their drivers in the gap after the first efforts were complete, joined on track by only the MP Motorsport drivers. Hauger took the top spot with a 1:23.923 while Jehan Daruvala lifted himself up to third. Bearman posted his first lap to go fourth while teammate Frederik Vesti was 0.7s down on pole and eighth after his initial attempt.

With 10 minutes left, the next flurry of laptimes arrived and it was Théo Pourchaire that went to the top of the times next. That was until Fittipaldi set a 1:23.623 to put himself P1 once again. Martins moved up to P4 while Juan Manuel Correa and Richard Verschoor were sixth and seventh for Van Amersfoort Racing.

Into the final five minutes and Iwasa was up to P2, 0.116s off Fittipaldi, while Bearman set purple sectors further back. The Briton went to the top with a 1:23.546 just as Doohan had gone fastest of all in the middle sector. The Australian ended up a tenth adrift at the line on his last effort.

Fittipaldi was narrowly beaten in second at the chequered flag with Doohan and Iwasa on the second row, third and fourth respectively, Pourchaire was fifth with Hauger sixth. Martins, Vesti, Jak Crawford and Amaury Cordeel completed the top 10, with the Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver lining up on reverse grid pole tomorrow.

UPDATE: Théo Pourchaire has been handed a three-place grid penalty following Qualifying for Round 7 in Barcelona. During the session, Pourchaire was shown to have potentially impeded MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger at Turn 3, with the Norwegian on a fast lap at the time.

Following a post-session investigation by the Stewards, the ART Grand Prix driver was judged to have driven unnecessarily slowly, impeding Hauger in the middle of the corner. The Stewards acknowledged that Pourchaire had done his best to keep out of the way once he was aware of Hauger’s approach. The penalty drops Pourchaire from sixth on the Sprint Race grid to ninth, promoting Ayumu Iwasa, Jack Doohan and Enzo Fittipaldi as a result.

UPDATE 2: There was a protest made by Van Amersfoort regarding MP Motorsport’s Hauger’s lap in qualifying which they deemed to be outside the track limits. The protest was rejected considering they did so after the 30 minutes of the deadline. But the stewards did not deliberate if the lap time was valid as per the track limits.

Here’s the statement: https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2023%20Barcelona%20Event%20-%20DECISION%20-%20Protest%20from%20VAR%20against%20Car%201%20-%20qualifying.pdf


Josep María Martí gave the Spanish fans plenty to celebrate by securing his maiden Formula 3 pole position on home soil. A nip-and-tuck session went all the way down to the final attempt, with the Campos Racing driver’s 1:27.587 beating out Jenzer Motorsport’s Taylor Barnard and Franco Colapinto for MP Motorsport by two-and-a-half tenths.

As dark clouds loomed worryingly overhead, the field opted to head out at the first opportunity, with Martí heading the queue. With little breathing space around the 4.657km circuit, drivers duelled for track position before they fired up for their first flying laps.

Keeping things neat and tidy, Leonardo Fornaroli briefly nabbed the fastest lap, but Paul Aron quickly shot up into P1 with a 1:28.369, going over a tenth quicker than the Trident driver. Dino Beganovic also moved his PREMA up inside the top three.

Banker laps in the bag, drivers peeled into pits to change on to a fresh set of hard tyres and returned to the track with 18 minutes remaining. Colapinto went out front with a 1:28.233, despite the MP Motorsport driver finding traffic through the final few corners. Aron swiftly responded by reclaiming the top spot momentarily, before Martí, Sebastián Montoya and Barnard demoted the Mercedes junior to fourth.

Less than a second separated the top 20 and so it all came down to one final shot. Beganovic threw down the gauntlet first, breaking into the 1:27s. However, the #23 Campos of Martí was flying, going purple in the first two sectors to snatch provisional pole position and with no further improvements in the closing two minutes, his job was done.

Practice pace-setter Barnard continued his upward momentum with his last flying lap scoring him his best ever Qualifying result in second, while Colapinto took third. Beganovic and Aron secured their spots in the top five ahead of Championship leader Gabriel Bortoleto. Montoya beat Mari Boya and Fornaroli for seventh, whilst Grégoire Saucy completed the top 10 for ART Grand Prix.

Zak O’Sullivan and Luke Browning will line up in an all-Williams junior reverse grid front row for Saturday’s Sprint Race. The PREMA Racing driver will be on pole when things underway at 10:30 local time.

[Note: The story is as per press release]