• 7th and 4th place for Jake Hughes, DNF and 17th for Bent Viscaal, 19th and 23rd for Keyvan Andres
  • HWA RACELAB ends the season in 5th place in the Team competition
  • Bent Viscaal: "I have learned an awful lot and am already looking forward to next year."
  • Jake Hughes: "If I were not already infatuated with motor racing, then I would have fallen in love with it this year."
  • Keyvan Andres: "I would like to thank the team, which supported me all season.”
  • Thomas Strick: "The way everyone showed such great personal commitment to this competition from the outset was outstanding.“

Sochi, 29th September 2019 – As was the case on a number of occasions over the course of the season, the final round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship was held in changing weather conditions. On Saturday, conditions on the 5.8-kilometre track at the Sochi Autodrom were far from easy for the drivers. The circuit was still damp after a shower in the night, and it rained again during the race. The wet surface proved the downfall of Bent Viscaal (Netherlands): He skidded on the kerbs on lap two and crashed into the wall. Viscaal was unable to continue following this collision. When another driver crashed out as a result of the slippery conditions, race control decided to implement a safety car phase.

Jake Hughes (Great Britain), who started the race from sixth place on the grid, had lost two positions at the start, but soon climbed back into seventh place at the re-start. He then maintained a consistently good pace, demonstrating his potential with the fastest lap of the race, and picking up two bonus points in the process. On lap 15, he set about taking sixth place, although the courageous manoeuvre did not quite come off. Three laps later, on tyres that were starting to wear, Jake had to concede seventh place. However, he was ultimately awarded seventh place when a rival was penalised after the race. That seventh place earned a further six points for HWA RACELAB.

Keyvan Andres (Iran) started strongly from 27th place, immediately making up four places, and continued to make good progress after the start. By the halfway point, he had already climbed as high as 20th place. With two laps remaining, he moved into 17th place. However, a five-second penalty resulted in him finishing 19th.

Fourth place for Jake Hughes on Sunday
Having finished seventh the previous day, Jake started Sunday's race from second place and once again made a good start. He immediately closed the gap to the leader and put him under huge pressure in the early laps. The pair were side by side on lap four, but Jake was unable to pass the race leader. On lap five, he became embroiled in a battle with third-placed Leo Pulcini (Hitech Grand Prix), during which there was contact between the two cars. Jake's rival skidded off the track and the HWA RACELAB driver consequently lost speed and dropped back to fourth place. Jake then set consistent lap times, until he was passed by newly-crowned FIA Formula 3 Champion, Robert Schwartzman (Prema Racing), with five laps remaining. Jake gained a position and climbed into fourth place when a car in front of him was forced to retire, and then set his sights on the podium. However, he eventually had to settle for fourth place and another eight points at the end of the season.

Bent produced a sensational fightback on Sunday. After failing to finish on Saturday, he was forced to start from down in 28th place on the grid. However, he did not spend much time at the back of the field. Bent had already climbed into 23rd place shortly after the start, and found himself up in 21st place on lap two. By the halfway point of the race, he was running 18th and within striking distance of his team-mate Keyvan ahead of him. The HWA RACELAB duo were then involved in a close battle, which saw them both leave the track briefly. They adopted 16th and 17th place with the retirement of a rival. Bent pulled out an impressive final lap to finish 14th, but was then punished with a five-second penalty, which ultimately saw him classified in 17th place.

Keyvan was unlucky at the end of the race: Running 16th on the final lap, he collided with another car and was unable to continue. He eventually had to settle for 23rd place in the final classification.

HWA RACELAB ends the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship in fifth place in the Team competition with 100 points to its name. The team's debut season included one race win and a further three podium finishes.

Quotes on the race weekend and the season

Bent Viscaal (20, Netherlands, car number 10), DNF and 17th place
"The first race was over in a flash after my crash in turn five. Starting from 28th place on Sunday was a real challenge. However, I did make it as high as 14th place. Although I ultimately had to settle for 17th place after a time penalty, we still made great progress. Today's race has definitely made me hungry for more. The season had its highs and lows. My best result came at the start of the season, with fifth place at Paul Ricard. I struggled a bit after that, but race two in Sochi was a positive way to end the season. I can now head into the winter break with a good feeling. I have learned an awful lot and am already looking forward to next year. I would like to thank the whole team for everything they have done for me this season. I am incredibly grateful for the support."

Jake Hughes (25, Great Britain, car number 11), 7th and 4th place
"It was a good final weekend for us. We may not have made it onto the podium, but we were not far away. We can really be happy with P4 and P7. In race one, I was battling for fourth and fifth place for a long time. Unfortunately, the tyres wore a bit and I finished seventh. I had a good start today and could fight for the lead in the first laps. There was then contact with the car behind me, which resulted in me losing my rhythm and dropping back to fourth place. I had good pace at the end and was challenging for a spot on the podium. It is a shame that I came up just short. Without the early incident, I could have been looking at another podium. As a team, we can be proud of what we have achieved this year. This was the first season in Formula 3 for HWA RACELAB, in a strong field with 30 cars and some very talented drivers who have tasted success in other series. Personally, I can be satisfied with seventh place overall. With a little more luck, it could even have been fifth place. A big thank you goes to the team, who gave me the opportunity this year. I really enjoyed being part of a fantastic team and a magnificent company. If I were not already infatuated with motor racing, then I would have fallen in love with it this year."

Keyvan Andres (19, Iran, car number 12), 19th and 23rd place
"Unfortunately, it was another disappointing weekend in the end. My exhaust exploded in qualifying, which meant I had to start from 27th on Saturday. I made it up to 17th place, which was not a bad effort, but unfortunately I was punished with a time penalty and dropped back to 19th. Today, I had a good start to the race, but I then made two mistakes when overtaking, which resulted in me coming off the racing line. I then collided with another car too. There are not many positives to take from this weekend. On the whole, it has been a tough season, for many reasons. Formula 3 is a difficult championship. With 30 cars on the track, it is usually quite busy. I was unfortunate to often get caught up in all the mayhem. I would like to thank the team, which supported me all season."

Result of race 1, Saturday 28th September:
1. M. Armstrong Prema Racing 42:35.319
7. Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 42:46.741
19. Keyvan Andres HWA RACELAB 43:15.170

Result of race 2, Sunday 29th September:
1. J. Vips Hitech Grand Prix 38:55.595
4. Jake Hughes HWA RACELAB 39:05.885
17. Bent Viscaal HWA RACELAB 39:36.199
23. Keyvan Andres HWA RACELAB 41:05.045