2020 FIA F3

FIA Formula 3

Liam returned to the FIA F3 championship for 2020, the first time he has raced in a series using the same cars over consecutive years. Switching from MP Motorsport to the UK-based Hitech GP team, he scored his first win with this car at the opening round of the season at the Red Bull Ring.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the normal calendar was compressed into a 3-month European programme with double-header rounds at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone back-to-back racing over three consecutive weekends. The championship still featured 18 races over 9 rounds.

At the second round, back at Spielberg (Red Bull Ring) Liam started 10th after a disappointing qualifying session. He worked his way to 8th before the treacherously wet first race was stopped after 14 of the scheduled 24 laps. In the second race, a superb race-long battle between Liam and Jake Hughes saw the pair trade the lead of the race five times before they touched wheels on lap 21 of 24. The resulting wheel damage to both cars saw both drivers retire.

Worse was to come at Budapest.

A week later when Liam retired from both races with engine failure, the second in spectacular fashion when the car’s engine burst into flames.

The next three back-to-back rounds were held at Silverstone and Barcelona. 

Liam won the feature race at Silverstone along with a points-collecting finish in the reverse grid race. He stole the lead on the first lap with a bold move at Stowe corner and then led for the duration, which strangely ended with taking the chequered flag in pit lane. A late race accident put the field behind the Safety Car with less than four laps to go. On the final tour Liam was advised to lead the remaining 24 cars down pit lane to end the 20-lap race. A week later he collected more silverware at Silverstone with third in the opening race. Another podium, 2nd, at Barcelona and 7th in the reverse grid race had Liam third in the championship standings when he left Spain.

The season ended with races at Spa, Belgium and two rounds in Italy – Monza and Mugello. Clutch issues hampered his car’s performance for the qualifying and the first race at Spa, but he salvaged another podium with 2nd in the final race. In the first race at Monza Liam dragged a damaged car over the finish line in 6th after he was crashed into in the early part of the race. In the other race he crossed the line in 2nd place, only to be handed a 10-second post-race penalty which dropped him to 7th.

At the season finale at Mugello his weekend was compromised when he went off track in Qualifying on his hot lap with new tyres, but he recovered well to punch out a time that put him 13th on the grid. He then worked his way up to 10th place and that gave him the pole position for the top-ten Reverse Grid race. Keeping his best performance of the year until the very last race, Liam led from the moment the lights went out for the entire 21 lap race. He disappeared into the distance to win by 7.8-seconds, the second biggest winning margin on a dry track over the 18-race season.

Photos by Dutch Photo Agency