Year two in Formula 3 for Tommy Smith and the Australian remains with Van Amersfoort Racing in 2024. He continues from last season after a year of learning the F3 ropes and getting close to points on a few occasions where he stood out in the midfield battle.

Races like Silverstone where he carved back through the pack, missing out on a top 10 finish on the road by the slimmest of margins, or a battling drive on home soil to finish on the cusp of the point-scoring positions. Races like those are the focus for Smith this time around as he aims to make them a much more frequent occurrence, as VAR target regular points finishes in 2024.

“My Expectations is to be a regular points scorer. The team and I made a lot of progress towards the end of the year, being very close to points in Monza, but if I think back to Bahrain test 12 months ago, the amount I’ve learnt in 12 months has been massive.

“Having Caio (Collet) & Rafael (Villagómez) alongside me last year with them both having done a few seasons already helped speed up my learning of the FIA F3 car.”

This season, Smith is joined at Van Amersfoort by Sophia Floersch and Noel León. The former achieved points in 2023 and was consistently fighting in the upper midfield while the latter is fresh from winning the Euroformula Open Championship last year.

All three believe that there’s a good prospect of fighting for points at every round this campaign, with the team looking to improve on their points tally last year.

The Australian driver says he can achieve more points finishes this year having progressed from last year
The Australian driver says he can achieve more points finishes this year having progressed from last year

Ever the popular figure within the team, Smith says that ahead of the 2024 season getting underway, the mood in the VAR camp is particularly good, with the team firing on all cylinders ahead of lights out in Sakhir.

“The Atmosphere seems really good, there’s been plenty of new faces arriving in the past 12 months ago since I joined the team. Everyone wants to do really well and is driven.

“Also having Sophia with her vast experience from FIA F3 & 2023 EFO Champion Noel, it’s set for us to have an improved year, and I’m really looking forward to getting underway in Bahrain.”

Preparations are already well underway, with the team now focused on pre-season testing around the Bahrain International Circuit in what will be the final outing ahead of the season getting underway proper.

READ MORE: Pre-season expectations: What each team will be aiming for in 2024

Prior to that, Smith went to Macau alongside his new teammates at the tail end of 2023 following post-season testing around Jerez, Barcelona and Imola.

Those six days of testing were extremely positive says Smith, who says that the team learned a great deal before heading out to Macau.

“Post-season testing went well, was great to spend a few days in the car after the season, practice and put in place what we’ve learnt. In Imola we ended up doing some Macau setup preparation as well so was useful.”

With the first round of the new season fast approaching, the experiences of last year will hopefully count a lot more in his favour. The Australian driver admits that in Melbourne especially, his inexperience and the overwhelming home support was tough to handle in what was just his second weekend in Formula 3.

Smith is hoping that the teams positive momentum can continue in 2024
Smith is hoping that the team's positive momentum can continue in 2024

Still, he achieved a strong result and hopes to go even better this year and he hopes to soak up the atmosphere even more this time around.

“Melbourne was so surreal last year, the Australian Grand Prix really put us Aussie drivers on a pedestal that weekend, was a bit overwhelming, it was also only my second FIA F3 event so think I’ll enjoy the experience a lot more this season as I know what to expect on and off the circuit.

“It was an up and down weekend but coming from 28th to 12th in Sunday’s race was very satisfying.”

Looking ahead to what’s to come, Smith believes that points are a must this time around, with his experiences from 2023 leaving him in a great position to capitalise on the team’s promising speed.

READ MORE: Experience, pace, and familiarity but will Van Amersfoort Racing climb the Championship ladder?

The VAR driver says that last year’s results betrayed where he should be at, and he is optimistic of making strides this year with the Dutch squad the perfect place to be in order to have better results.

“I hope I can get early points in the bank! I really hope we can do it sooner rather than later, to open my FIA F3 year like this would set us up for a really good year.

“It’s really hard to predict just how well the season will go, but this year I’m optimistic and to be honest, the standings from last season don’t reflect the pace I had last year, even compared to my teammates, so I’m very capable of making this happen.”