Ahead of the FIA European Formula 3 Championship races at Silverstone this weekend, we have been looking at the prospects of the three British drivers taking part. Having focused on Dan Ticktum yesterday, today sees the turn of Hitech GP teammates Enaam Ahmed and Ben Hingeley.
The hypetrain in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this season has been driven by Dan Ticktum. He is not the only British racer who has been showing some fine form in the series though. Local squad Hitech Bullfrog GP is home to two graduates from British Formula 3 – Enaam Ahmed and Ben Hingeley.
Winning is something that has come readily to Ahmed (Brit Pack Ranking – 12th) over his career. European and world titles in karting led, obviously, to cars with 2017 proving to be a spectacular season. The West Londoner dominated the British Formula 3 series, recording an incredible 13 wins against a strong domestic field including the talented likes of Toby Sowery, James Pull and Hingeley.
The next logical step was European Formula 3 and it was no surprise that Ahmed hit the ground running. The opening Pau rounds saw him qualify impressively over one of the trickiest circuits in modern motor racing, as well as record three top six finishes. At this early point in the season it was hard to believe that Ahmed was a rookie in a series stacked with experienced talent.
After the second round of races, Ahmed was leading the championship with two wins from three at the technical Hungaroring circuit. Since then though the 18-year-old Londoner has struggled for consistency, mainly through no fault of his own.
The Hungaroring performance got a lot of tongues wagging and suddenly Britain’s rising star was not the Red Bull-backed Ticktum. But qualification woes and being a bystander in other peoples’ accidents have cost Ahmed valuable ground in the standings. With 15 races left to run and the championship wide open though, the 48 point gap to leader Marcus Armstrong is certainly not insurmountable.
The recent round of races at the end of July in Spa could point to Ahmed turning a corner with his form. Fifth and sixth place finishes were his best results since the Hungaroring and with underrated Spaniard Alex Palou lending his experience to Hitech, there is plenty of time and opportunity for Ahmed to stay in the title hunt.
Teammate Hingeley (Brit Pack Ranking – 70th) has endured a difficult first season in European F3 in comparison to his compatriots. The 21 year old from Wales started the season well enough with some impressive qualifying and race performances at Pau, which included a stunning 4th in the second race in the French town. Since then though there have been just a further three points-scoring finishes and scores of rotten luck.
Hingeley, who finished third in British F3 last year, has been blighted by mixed results in qualifying and these have put him down amongst the part of the grid where accidents have tended to happen. Zandvoort in mid-July was a case in point. A spin in a promising qualifying session left him down in 17th for the race. Progress was steady before he was caught in someone else’s accident, thereby compromising his final result.
It was a similar story in the first race at Spa too. After qualifying an impressive 8th, Hingeley started superbly to climb up to fourth halfway around the first lap. After a safety-car restart, he was challenging series leader Marcus Armstrong for third, only for the Kiwi to clip his front wing, causing the Welshman to pit and fall out of contention.
If he can take this step-change in form into the Silverstone meeting this weekend, we can expect to see Hingeley challenging for points finishes – at the very least. The Northamptonshire track is one he knows well and he won here last year in British F3. Silverstone is also the home race for Hitech GP. It bodes well.
You can watch the three races from Silverstone this weekend live on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship YouTube channel, by clicking here.
Images courtesy of FIA Formula 3 European Championship.