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Sauber Junior Team driver Fabio Scherer is hoping to kick-start his FIA Formula 3 Championship challenge when the series resumes at Circuit Paul Ricard in France this weekend (21-23 June).

The Swiss driver is a member of the newly-formed Sauber Junior Team driver development programme and made his debut in the new-look series in Spain last month. However, his hopes of a positive start were thwarted before the first race got underway.

Fabio was involved in a formation lap collision – which the stewards wholly blamed on the other driver – and was forced to start from the rear of the competitive 30-car grid after visiting the pits to have a new rear wheel fitted.

After a six-week break, the FIA F3 Championship will return to action this weekend as one of Formula 1’s support categories at the French Grand Prix.

“For sure, Barcelona was a difficult weekend. But I learned a lot and it was a useful experience when it came to understanding track evolution, tyre usage and when to use the Drag Reduction System (DRS) in a competitive situation,” Fabio explained.

“It was a bit of a challenge compared to what I’ve experienced before but I’m confident that I was able to show good pace when I did get on track. That gives me optimism that I can put in a better performance in France this weekend.”

The extended break between the rounds in Spain and France was longer than Fabio would have liked but it did give the Stobag-supported driver an opportunity to maximise his preparation and reflect on where improvements can be made ahead of round two.

“Since Barcelona I’ve been working and training hard, as I do normally, and I kept my driving skills sharp by doing some karting,” the 19-year-old said. “I also had some PR duties and I visited the Charouz Racing System factory in the Czech Republic.

“We had some good discussions about where we can find some improvements and I did some work in the simulator to prepare for Paul Ricard which is a circuit I really enjoy. I’m pretty confident we’ll be back where we should be in France.”

The return to Paul Ricard marks the first time Fabio will have driven at the 5.84km venue since the inaugural FIA F3 Championship test in March. However, the quick-fire format of a race weekend and a pair of 20-lap races will provide a very different experience to testing.

“In all the championships I’ve done during my career, I never raced at Paul Ricard,” he explained. “But we did the test days during pre-season and they were productive and useful. My objective for the weekend is to qualify inside the top 10 and from there I can hopefully move forward and fight for the points.”

Fabio’s F3 weekend in France will get underway with Friday’s practice session at 09.25 (CET), before qualifying start at 17.50 on the same day. Race One will start at 10.30 on Saturday and Race Two is set to get underway at 09.55 on Sunday.

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