For the first time since the 2020 campaign, PREMA Racing haven’t lined up on the grid with numbers one and two on the noses of their cars. Instead, the Italian team ended last season fourth, but this season has been a convincing return to form.

Frederik Vesti and Oliver Bearman have combined for nine victories already this season, and there’s no doubting they will be in contention to add more come Yas Marina. But how has the season taken shape for the perennial front runners, and can they win back the Teams’ crown?


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A tricky opening weekend in Sakhir left PREMA rooted to the bottom of the Teams’ Standings without a point to their name heading to Jeddah. A variety of reasons were behind the difficult start, but the team was fully confident that it understood where it had gone wrong and that it was a circuit-specific blip.

Come Jeddah, they were proved exactly right as both Bearman and Vesti secured top 10 starting positions in Qualifying, with the Briton heading the charge from second on the grid, and Vesti going from seventh.

The Sprint Race wasn’t what the British rookie had hoped for though, taken out of the running after a collision with ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire, who missed his braking point and collected the PREMA driver at Turn 1 in the early stages.

Vesti meanwhile kept himself out of trouble to bring home a P6 finish, his first of the season having taken a grid penalty for causing a collision in the season-opening round. Sunday’s Feature Race was proof that the team had reversed its fortunes, with Bearman fighting for the lead until inexperience led to a spin, while Vesti pressured Victor Martins into a pirouette of his own, handing the Dane P1 and his first Feature victory of 2023.

The visit to Melbourne didn’t bring another podium, but a great race on the alternative strategy netted Vesti fourth along with the fastest lap point having started from P13 on the grid.


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Back on familiar ground, PREMA staked their claim as the team to beat. Bearman put together an historic weekend in Baku. He topped every single session and won both the Sprint and Feature Races, missing out on the full score of 39 points by virtue of Isack Hadjar stealing the fastest lap on Sunday.

Vesti closed to within three points of the top spot in the Drivers’ Championship while Bearman shot up to fourth following the Azerbaijan weekend. It also lifted PREMA into triple digits and to the summit in the Teams’ Standings, unsurprisingly after such a strong weekend.

READ MORE: Jeddah Flashback: Vesti and PREMA Racing return to form

The winning feeling didn’t stop there, with three victories in the next four races. Vesti claimed the Monte Carlo Feature and Barcelona Sprint honours before Bearman took the top step in Spain and the Feature event that weekend.

Another Feature Race podium in Spielberg for Vesti and victory in the Silverstone Sprint were followed by podiums for both in the Sprint and Feature Races of Budapest respectively. It represented the best patch of form for PREMA this season. Six wins and 10 podiums across six rounds meant Vesti and PREMA topped both Championships.


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From the highs of their summer spell, returning from the break brought with it a total reversal in fortunes. Spa-Francorchamps’ awful weather served up opportunity, and PREMA locked out the front row of the grid in Qualifying, taking advantage of their position in the pitlane to get both drivers a lap in before the worst of the rain arrived.

A season-changing moment followed on Sunday, with Vesti spinning off the track en route to the Feature Race grid, forcing him to watch from the sidelines. It was a mistake compounded by title rival Pourchaire making it back-to-back P2 finishes to retake the lead in the Championship. ART also leapt 30 points clear in the Teams’ Standings following the Belgian race weekend.

Things didn’t improve in Zandvoort either. The two PREMA drivers were able to qualify ahead of the ART duo, yet it was an off weekend for both outfits. A scoreless Sprint courtesy of adverse weather conditions meant that Sunday’s Feature Race was emphasised even greater than before.

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Things were looking strong for Vesti after an error for Pourchaire brought out the Safety Car and allowed both PREMAs to pit for their mandatory stops. Unfortunately for the Dane, the rear wheels weren’t fastened to the car, putting him out of the running.

Bearman had been contending for a podium finish after the Safety Car, but he too lamented what might have been. Contact with Martins left the Briton with race-ending damage.

Things were mixed fortunes too on their return home and visit to Monza. Usually a circuit that the team goes well at, there was extra pressure this season with the Championship fights coming to the fore.

Bearman on the front row was good but with Vesti down in eighth and prime opposition in Pourchaire taking pole, the onus was on the Dane to stage a fight back. He was defiant in the Sprint, holding Martins at bay to take his first win since the Silverstone Sprint back in July.

Sunday’s Feature was heartbreak and triumph all in one, however. Vesti spun into retirement on the opening lap, leaving Bearman to lead the PREMA charge and he duly did so, winning his first race since the Barcelona Feature.


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PREMA has an uphill task on its hands heading to Yas Marina. The Italian team has seen it all before as a vastly experienced competitor, so can they turn it around?

Well, they will take some comfort in knowing it has what it takes to win around the Abu Dhabi circuit, victorious with Oscar Piastri at the wheel back in 2021. What the team needs though is a weekend like they had in the middle phase of the year. Vesti’s hopes are intertwined with Pourchaire’s fortunes and whether he gets a clean weekend. But, having taken five wins to the Frenchman’s one, he can drive without pressure which could just play to his advantage.

In the Teams’ stakes, PREMA will arrive on Yas Island 26 points behind ART, a surmountable gap and one that could be more than cut in half before the final Feature Race of 2023. An outfit with PREMAs experience will know that nothing is over until the final chequered flag of the campaign. Bearman’s recent gains in speed and performance will likely be critical in their chances of turning things around right at the last.