F3 races at Monza called off due to poor driving [w/video]
Want to see the next crop of Formula One drivers before they make it up to the big leagues? The FIA Formula 3 European Championship is as good a place as any. So you’d expect the drivers competing in the series to demonstrate some competent driving skills, but that’s not how things went down this weekend at Monza. In fact, things went so poorly that the proceedings had to be canceled – and not for poor weather or technical issues: it was called off because the drivers just couldn’t get their act together.
The first of three races ended largely without incident, with Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist taking a hard-fought (but largely uneventful) win and the safety car deployed just once. Things started to unravel, however, in the second race on Saturday that was punctuated by two barrel rolls, three stints behind the safety car, and a red flag. The race was called early after just 12 laps were completed, with Rosenqvist once again taking top honors (but only half points). The third race went even worse, though.
The drivers were warned after Saturday’s debacle that if they continued to display the same degree of unprofessionalism, the race would be red-flagged again – and that’s just what happened. After the safety car had to be called out twice in the first nine laps, acting race director Nils Wittich canceled the race, with Rosenqvist in the lead once again.
Filling in for the usual head marshall Sven Stoppe (who was in Germany handling DTM), Wittich acted at the urging of former Scuderia Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali, who heads the FIA Single Seater Commission. “During the briefing we informed the drivers that it was not acceptable or the way we want to present F3,” Wittich explained to Autosport. “I was talking with the stewards and they said this is the only way to do it – you could see pushing on the straight and overtaking manoeuvres off the track.”
The most spectacular of the crashes over the weekend at the championship’s fastest track involved one Lance Stroll. Ferrari’s Canadian prodigy spun out in the first race (recovering to finish 11th), but cartwheeled in a spectacular crash (as you can see from the video below) in the second race, forcing him to start from the pit lane in the third race to come in ninth place. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in any of the incidents at Monza this weekend.