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The sixth round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium proved to be a difficult weekend for Sauber Junior Team driver Fabio Scherer.

A hydraulic problem during qualifying meant the Swiss driver could only use half of the six gears normally available to him and that placed him P28 on the grid for Saturday’s opening race.

The Stobag-supported driver, a podium finisher in F3 at Spa last season, fought bravely during that 17-lap encounter but a 10-second time penalty for mistakenly completing an extra reconnaissance lap dropped him from P22 to P27 at the finish.

Tragically, the weekend’s pair of races were then punctuated by a shocking accident in the Formula 2 category on Saturday afternoon that claimed the life of Frenchman Anthoine Hubert and left Fabio’s Sauber Junior Team driver development programme colleague Juan Manuel Correa in hospital with fractures to both of his legs.

As a mark of respect for Hubert, Fabio joined fellow F1, F2 and F3 drivers for a minute’s silence at the front of the Spa grid before Sunday morning’s second F3 race.

In tough circumstances, the 20-year-old made up nine places to finish the race in P18. But, reflecting on events at Spa overall, it was a weekend that Fabio is keen to put behind him.

“First and foremost, I send my thoughts and condolences to Anthoine’s family, friends and team and to my good friend JM after what happened,” he said.

“We all know motorsport can be dangerous but when you have a serious accident like that, it’s definitely a tough situation. We all raced with a heavy heart this morning.

“In terms of the results, it was one of my toughest weekends. It didn’t feel like the car had any speed and the balance was unpredictable. I couldn’t push like you would want to normally and that made getting results difficult.”

Fabio and his team won’t have too long to analyse the cause of the performance issues they encountered before returning to the track for round seven of the season at Monza in Italy next weekend (6-8 September).

“The time to Monza is short so we need to act quickly to find a solution,” he said. “You want a package that gives you as much confidence as possible when you’re racing on a high-speed track like that.”

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