Carlin’s Enzo Trulli has been getting to grips with Formula 3 this season after making the step-up from Euroformula Open racing last year, and it has come with a steep learning curve. Trulli has an F4 title under his belt already in his single-seater career, winning the UAE competition last season, but 2022 has been a year of learning the ropes in comparison.
His P20 finish in Bahrain in the Sprint Race has been the best result so far on paper, but the 17-year-old has been satisfied with his progress in the first few races of the campaign, even if he has higher aspirations. Speaking ahead of Round four of the F3 season, the rookie was honest in his assessment of his season thus far, and already knows what the areas of improvement are.
“This season has been a bit difficult for me so far. Because of the testing from Bahrain when I missed two days because of various issues, the start was a bit tricky. This year is really different from last year’s cars in terms of power, so I’m still trying to adapt to this one. From the start, I’ve improved a lot of little things but it’s still not what I want, I still want to improve more.
“I think in the races we’ve been a bit unlucky maybe, in Bahrain, Imola and Barcelona. I think everything comes from Qualifying. I’m struggling quite a bit to find the pace in Qualifying because trying to find the limit with this car isn’t easy. I’m trying to improve as much as I can, but the race pace is good compared to my teammates. But when you start at the back of the grid, it’s a complication.”
The Formula 3 car has been a tough one to tame. Working hard in the simulator combined with the expertise of the experienced Carlin team has meant that Trulli has found improvements already just six races into the year.
One major aspect that the Italian has admittedly fallen behind in is the momentum that has to be built up across a race weekend. With limited running time ahead of the vital Qualifying sessions, Trulli believes that if he can hit the ground running more often on a Friday, his results will come much easier rather than having to make up for lost time in the Sprint and Feature Races.
That is something that will come in time once he has worked out how to access more pace from the F3 machinery.
“The weight is really high compared to last year’s cars, it’s like 100 kilos more. It’s different the way it works for a fast lap. Last year, everything was faster through the corners so you could control it. This year, you have to try different lines and different things, but I still can’t find the right way. I’m working on it. I’m working in the simulator but in the end, you need to see it on track.
“From Qualifying in Bahrain and the simulations in Barcelona, I think I’ve improved a lot already. I still have a lot to do and I’m trying all that I can, but sometimes you need to try different ways to do it. From Bahrain, I’ve improved little things, I’ve always had race pace with this car even from the beginning of testing, but it’s just qualifying that’s a struggle.
“We might not have a great car but we’re working on it, we’re all trying to improve together. It’s a great team full of hard workers so I feel very comfortable with them.”
That’s not to say that Trulli hasn’t been improving already in other areas as well. He has finished higher up the order in every race so far versus where he qualified barring the Barcelona Sprint, and he believes that with better Qualifying pace he can be further up the grid before the year is out.
“My biggest strength right now is race pace, it’s always been good, and I’ve always had nice reports about how I improve the car. Last year, it was my strength so I’m happy I have it still this year but I’m just missing Qualifying. I’m always pushing to go faster.
“The last two or three months I’ve just been focused on Qualifying to try and find the right fast lap and the right rhythm to unlock a fast lap. It’s just confidence in the car because the grip is different. I’m just looking for that confidence. I need to optimise everything across the race weekend. I need to find the right steps to start towards the front or even in the midfield.
“I want to see if I can resolve this problem that I have right now. Trying to work every day and trying to improve and then when the season is finished, I want to compare from where I was at the start of the season.”
Looking ahead to the next race, the Carlin driver says that the Silverstone circuit will be one that tests his abilities and highlights just how he is faring against those with more experience in F3.
While he admits that the layout might be a tough one to get a handle on, he is welcoming the challenge with open arms. “I’ve only been to Silverstone one time which was last year. I really like the track though, there are really fast corners and it’s a complete circuit. I might struggle a bit in the fast corners but it should be good.”