With no British Formula Three championship this year, the F3 Cup is the only championship in the Formula Three category based in the UK in 2015. I went along to watch the F3 Cup at Donington this weekend, as part of the MSVR event there. I have watched and enjoyed the F3 Cup before – including the last race in 2014 at Snetterton – and so was looking forward to seeing the series again. There is a relatively small field in 2015, with a mix of experienced racers and those newer to the series. Interestingly, the series including Louis Hamilton-Smith, who has the day job of being a Red Bull Formula One engineer, so someone who understands racing both from the point of the driver and the engineer.
This weekend saw mixed weather conditions. Saturday was a mix of sunshine and downpours, often heavy. Sunday saw plenty of sunshine and bright blue skies, coupled as they often are at Donington with wind. It made for quite pleasant conditions to spectate at least on Sunday. The first race was held on Saturday after qualifying, and pole sitter Kieran Vernon managed to add the race win to his weekend successes, followed by Aaron Steele and Stuart Wiltshire, who had swapped places from their starting positions to their podium spots.
The second race was on Sunday morning, and we had just sat down at the top of Craner when the action started. Kieran Vernon was soon back in the lead, with Aaron Steele in second, and a battle for third between Stuart Wiltshire, who had been passed on lap one by Steele, and Jacopo Sebastiani. After much very close racing, Sebastiani span at Redgate, and we watched a clouds of dust were thrown up and waited to see if he could keep the car going which, after a dramatic pause, he managed to do. He rejoined the race in fifth place, behind Daniel Tapinos, and spent the rest of the race trying in vain to pass. Adrian Holey came to a stop more or less in front of us on the penultimate lap, before we watched Vernon take his second win of the weekend.
By the time the third race happened in the afternoon, it felt almost like summer rather than spring, with bright blue skies. Aaron Steele was struggling with clutch problems that saw him start from the pits, with Stuart Wiltshire and Daniel Tapinos taking the front of the pack after a tardy get away by Kieran Vernon. However, he was soon back to the ways that had gained him the two wins of the weekend so far, and by lap two, he was up to second place. Vernon passed Wiltshire at Redgate, and was then passed a few laps later by Stuart Wiltshire. The three held these positions for the rest of the race, meaning that Kieran Vernon took all three races of the weekend.
The next weekend of the calender for the series is the first of two visits this year to Brands Hatch, and it will be interesting to see if Kieran Vernon can continue his winning ways.