Luke readies for F1 debut as F3 campaign ends

Rising star Luke Browning is busy preparing for the biggest day of his racing career to date following the end of his rookie season in the FIA Formula 3 Championship season at the famous Monza circuit.

The Cheshire racer headed for the high-speed Italian venue on the back of a points scoring performance at Spa, a circuit where he had previously tasted success en-route to the GB3 title twelve months earlier.

Showing top ten pace in free practice his Hitech Pulse-Eight car, Luke qualified in ninth place following a chaotic session that featured multiple red flags, which made it difficult for drivers to complete their planned on-track programmes.

However, post-session there would be disappointment as the Williams Academy-backed racer was one of five drivers excluded from the results after it was found that the tyres on his car had been changed when under parc ferme conditions.

Demoted to the back of the grid as a result, Luke would then deliver one of the drives of the season in race one, avoiding drama ahead on the opening lap and then storming through the pack to secure a remarkable fifth-place finish.

Unfortunately, Luke would then see the result taken away post-race when the ‘lowest point of the side floor fin on the right side of the car was found to exceed the limits as proscribed in the 2023 F3 technical regulations’ – putting him out of the results.

No fewer than four caution periods would hamper Luke in his bid to repeat his race one heroics in the second race of the weekend, and 18th place from the back of the grid – having picked up a five-second time penalty mid-race – was little reward for his pace displayed across the weekend.

Whilst data showed Luke to be one of the quickest drivers in the field in terms of one-lap pace and race pace – an impressive stat considering 34 drivers appeared on track over the season – a number of unfortunate results meant he would end the season 15th in the standings, with the undoubted highlights being a fine fourth place in Monaco and a podium finish in Spain.

With his racing season at an end, Luke’s focus now turns towards his debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, which will take place at Silverstone with the Aston Martin Racing team.

That outing is part of the prize Luke secured last year as the latest winner of the Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year; an award previously won by the llikes of Lando Norris, George Russell, Paul di Resta and Jenson Button

“The opening race of the weekend was a lot of fun and to come from P27 on the grid to P5 was great,” he said. “To then lose the result was really disappointing but we learn and grow together as a team, and these things can happen in motorsport.

“I have to give huge thanks to both Hitech Pulse-Eight and Williams for helping me to develop this season. Okay so it wasn’t our weekend to finish off the campaign, but I’ve been able to learn a huge amount this year that is going to benefit me going forwards.

“There are exciting things to look forward to before the off-season kicks in, and then next year I focus on coming back and smashing things out of the park.”