How close are the cars to F3 performance?
Very. If anything, they have the potential to be faster at some circuits.
The best direct comparison comes from last week’s test at the Snetterton 300 circuit. The conditions matched those of the last British F3 event held there from 2014. Ricky Collard topped the times with a 1m41.614s lap at an average speed of 105.18mph. That’s 1.4 seconds faster than the quickest lap of the 2014 F3 championship round – a 1m43.051s (103.71mph) set by Sam Macleod in his Dallara F312-mercedes
When compared to the heyday of British F3, Collard’s time isn’t too far adrift of Felipe Nasr’s 2011 outright record from qualifying of 1m39.147s (107.80mph) in his Carlin-run F308-volkswagen.
Most of that deficit comes from the tradeoff between power and aerodynamics between an F3 car and the TatuusCosworth. The Tatuus outdrags an F3 car on Snetterton’s long straights due to it running less aerodynamics so it therefore has less drag, but it can’t match the cornering speed of a true F3 car.
There will be more performance to come from the Tatuus-cosworth too as teams figure out set-up tricks and get the most from the Pirelli tyres.