A new era of Formula 3 got underway at the start of the year with the formation of the new FIA-backed international series which replaced GP3 on Formula 1’s undercard.

FIA Formula 3 was quick to attract entries from an array of junior drivers and teams, with the likes of Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull all opting to place its young stars in the series for the 2019 season.

With three rounds remaining in the season, the title fight is still wide open - but how did we get to this point? Here’s a look back on the championship year so far.

Round 1: Spain - Shwartzman Lucks In

The opening race of the new FIA F3 season saw Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman take the early lead after scoring victory from pole position - albeit after finishing second on-track, benefitting from a post-race penalty.

Prema Racing’s Shwartzman lost the lead at the start to Renault youngster Christian Lundgaard, and spent the entirety of the race trailing the Dane. However, the Russian was ultimately promoted into P1 when it was found that Lundgaard had accidentally broken procedure under the Virtual Safety Car, resulting in a five-second time penalty.

Shwartzman’s Prema teammate Jehan Daruvala was able to follow up with victory on Sunday for the Italian team, crossing the line ahead of Red Bull youngster Juri Vips after a Safety Car-laden Sunday race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Round 2: France - Prema’s Streak Continues

Even with a one-month break between the first and second rounds of the season, Prema showed few signs of any rustiness as it continued to dominate proceedings at the head of the field at Paul Ricard.

Daruvala was able to follow up his Sunday victory in Spain with a second straight win, this time coming for maximum points on the Saturday as he led home Shwartzman for a Prema 1-2. The team had been on course for a podium sweep, only for contact between Marcus Armstrong and HWA Racelab’s Jake Hughes to end its hopes.

Shwartzman was able to extend his early championship lead by taking his second win of the season in the Sunday race, charging from P7 on the grid to claim an impressive victory, complete with a double overtake on the Mistral Straight.

With Daruvala finishing third and Armstrong recovering to sixth despite dropping to the back of the field at the start, it was clear that it would take something special to stop Prema one week later in Austria.

Round 3: Austria - Victory For Vips, Pain For Prema

Prema’s streak had to end at some point, and so it did in Austria as Hitech Grand Prix took to the top step of the podium for the first time courtesy of Juri Vips.

Vips managed to battle past Max Fewtrell and Prema’s Armstrong en route to victory in Saturday’s opening race, making good on some of the promise he had shown through the early part of the season.

Prema had a golden opportunity to strike back on Sunday as Armstrong and Shwartzman dominated proceedings at the head of the pack, only for the teammates to make contact on the last lap of the race as they scrapped for the lead.

The contact left Armstrong limping home in P19 with a puncture and Shwartzman with front-wing damage, the latter ultimately receiving a time penalty for causing a collision that dropped him to third, having kept his car on-track to cross the line still leading.

HWA’s Hughes managed to benefit from the clash and scoop up his first win of the season, while Daruvala took second to gain on his teammate in the championship standings.

Round 4: Great Britain - Vips At The Double

Two weeks on from his breakthrough victory in Austria, Red Bull junior Juri Vips was at it again as he took an impressive win at Silverstone from pole position following a race-long fight with Jehan Daruvala.

Vips managed to soak up significant pressure from Daruvala throughout the race before pulling clear in a final five-lap sprint to the flag following a Safety Car period, crossing the line to clinch a second straight Saturday.

Fifth-placed Robert Shwartzman had lost the championship lead as a result of Daruvala’s podium, but the Russian managed to regain his advantage on Sunday after finishing second behind Leonardo Pulcini. Late contact left Daruvala without points, while Vips’ lowly P15 finish meant Shwartzman remained in charge despite a second weekend without a win.

Round 5: Hungary - Redemption For Lundgaard

Having cruelly lost a victory on debut in Spain, Christian Lundgaard managed to return to the top step of the podium with a dominant display for ART Grand Prix in Hungary.

A tricky run of races had seen the Dane finish no higher than fifth since the Spain weekend, but he answered back in fashion with pole and victory at the Hungaroring, heading up a one-two finish ahead of teammate Max Fewtrell.

Prema managed to end its winless streak in the Sunday race as Marcus Armstrong picked up his long-awaited first victory, crushing the field by 12 seconds. Robert Shwartzman ended the day pointless after contact with Felipe Drugovich when fighting for third left him with a broken front wing, closing things up at the top of the championship with three rounds remaining.

Formula 3 Drivers’ Championship Standings - Top 10

1. Robert Shwartzman 124
2. Juri Vips 112
3. Jehan Daruvala 104
4. Marcus Armstrong 98
5. Christian Lundgaard 73
6. Jake Hughes 56
7. Max Fewtrell 55
8. Leonardo Pulcini 53
9. Pedro Piquet 43
10. Liam Lawson 22