F3: The Champions of 2018

Source: supersport.com

Over the years, Formula Three has been a cornerstone in motorsport when it comes to producing the next generation of superstars.

The likes of Jim Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi, Michael Schumacher and Tom Kristensen have all won a Formula 3 title and gone on to achieve success in some of the leading categories, such as Formula One, IndyCar and Le Mans.

And with the famous Macau Grand Prix taking place later this month, here is a summary of those who shone in Formula 3 this year:

Mick Schumacher – 2018 FIA Formula Three European Champion; 6 Poles, 8 Wins, 14 Podiums, 365 Pts

At the beginning of the season, the idea of Mick Schumacher winning the Formula 3 European Championship seemed like a bridge too far for the German, as he’d only achieved a pair of third place finishes after the first four rounds.

He also got caught up in incidents which hampered his progress further.

Schumacher was innocent as he was collected by Fabio Scherer in Pau before he tangled with Sacha Fenestraz and Artem Petrov at the Norisring and was forced out at Zandvoort by Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum.

Then, the next round at Spa-Francorchamps saw Mick turn a corner.

At the racetrack which is arguably most synonymous with his father Michael, Mick Schumacher claimed his first win in Formula 3 by passing two of his Prema teammates en route to the chequered flag.

Firstly, he dispatched Marcus Armstrong through Eau Rouge and used the subsequent momentum down the Kemmel Straight to pass Robert Shvartzman at Les Combes.

The breakthrough at Spa sparked a remarkable run of consistency, in which Schumacher finished 13 of the 15 remaining races in the top five, which included a hat-trick of victories at the Nürburgring.

This helped the 19-year-old overcome a 53-point deficit to beat Armstrong and Ticktum to the championship.

Linus Lindqvist – 2018 BRDC British Formula Three Champion; 3 Poles, 7 Wins, 13 Podiums, 531 Pts

On the surface, the standings in this year’s BRDC British Formula 3 standings would suggest that Linus Lindqvist won the Drivers’ Title with ease.

However, he didn’t have things all his own way.

The Super Swede had to fight hard for wins early in the season and managed to hold his nerve with some great defensive displays against title rivals Nicolai Kjӕrgaard, Kush Maini and Tom Gamble.

With a 120-point cushion in the championship, Lindqvist then experienced a difficult weekend at Donington Park.

Firstly, the Double R driver suffered engine problems in qualifying, before he got caught up in a first lap crash in Race 2.

This subsequently allowed Kjӕrgaard to reduce the gap in the standings by 61 points and take the title fight to the final round in Silverstone.

Despite the shift in momentum, Lindqvist kept his head down and got a good start from Pole Position in Race 1.

However, after Kjӕrgaard crashed out in bizarre fashion after taking evasive action to avoid hitting the car of Carlin team-mate Billy Monger, Lindqvist was left unchallenged to claim the chequered flag and win the Drivers’ Championship in style.

After the race concluded, Linus Lindqvist talked about how joyous he felt after finally winning the Drivers’ Title:

“Emotional, definitely! I’m extremely happy and proud, for both me and the work my team Double R have done. It’s been a journey and it’s been fun.”

Lindqvist added: “I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t do the maths and I didn’t know where Nicolai [Kjӕrgaard] finished, but I just tried to keep focused on my job to win this race and that’s what we did. I’m just lost for words right now.”

Kyle Kirkwood – 2018 F3 Americas & United States F2000 Champion

The F3 Americas Championship has experienced a difficult start to life, with only seven drivers competing over the course of its inaugural season.

In contrast, the Formula 4 US Championship, which was established in 2016, had 52 entrants.

Despite this, Kyle Kirkwood continued his dominant from Formula 4 last year and was crowned the first ever F3 Americas Champion for Abel Motorsports.

The Florida native also won the Drivers’ Title in the US F2000 Championship with 12 wins in 14 races and his performances haven’t gone unnoticed Stateside.

Kirkwood’s dominance has earned him more than $2million in scholarships and he is expected to join the Pro Mazda Championship for 2019.

Sho Tsuboi – 2018 Japanese Formula Three Champion; 14 Poles, 17 Wins, 19 Podiums, 214 Pts

To say that Sho Tsuboi dominated this year’s Japanese Formula 3 Championship is nothing short of the truth.

The Team TOM’s driver made it look easy, as he cruised to the title with 17 wins and stood on the podium after all 19 races this year.

Tsuboi’s nearest challenger was his team-mate Ritomo Miyata, who claimed two wins to finish 97 points adrift in the final standings and completed a clean sweep of victories for the Toyota-backed outfit.

Ironically though, Tsuboi’s standout performance this year was from one of the two races he failed to win.

For the second race of Round Three at the Fuji International Speedway, Tsuboi started on Pole but stalled at the start and fell towards the back of the pack.

The 23-year-old produced a strong comeback and demonstrated why many pundits in Japan believe he could make it into Formula One in the foreseeable future.

Running behind Yu Kanamaru (B-Max Racing) and Ukyo Sasahara (ThreeBond Racing) on the approach to the final corner, Tsuboi got more corner exit speed.

He then used the slipstream advantage to draft amongst them on the pit straight and beat them into Turn 1, before eventually finishing second behind team-mate Miyata.