Getting reacquainted with a track he’s tasted success at previously, Caio Collet knows what it takes to master Monte Carlo. Enjoying all that one of the jewels of motorsport has to offer, the Van Amersfoort Racing driver says he’s hungry to throw himself back into the mix with the leading pack this weekend.
“Obviously I’m very excited! I think Monaco is one of the weekends that we looked forward to the most when we saw the calendar at the beginning of the year,” an elated Collet said. “So, just to be here is an amazing experience. I’ve been here once before in 2019 and the experience you have being on the track is unreal and the whole atmosphere makes it super special.
One of 12 drivers to have previously raced around the Monaco streets, Collet finished third in his Formula Renault Eurocup appearance four years ago. Whilst the machinery may be different, the principal challenges are the same – with Friday’s split Qualifying session being pivotal to his chances.
Looking to bring his experience into play to avoid exceeding the limit on such an unforgiving circuit, the Brazilian recognises how demanding putting together a perfect lap will be. With only 16 minutes to set his best attempt and the high likelihood of a disruption in his running, Collet doesn’t want to take any chances and is predicting a hive of activity from the get-go.
“Everything’s about Qualifying. I think after Turn 1, the race is pretty settled and finished to be honest. Where you start is more or less where you finish and to get it right from Free Practice is really important with the preparation of the strategy. You do the most amount of laps you can get in as it really counts, so the more laps you do through Practice and Qualifying is a big advantage. So, we plan to do that in Free Practice and see how well we can prepare for Quali.
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“I think everyone will start to get out of the pits quite early to do the most amount of laps and to set a lap as well because I think Red Flags and double-waved Yellow Flags will be an issue here. You need to deal with it. If you can get a lap in at the beginning, it’s always nice, but it’s not always the way it works in F3 so for sure it will be a busy Qualifying.”
After enduring a mixed start to his season, Collet is now turning his attention to making up lost ground as the 2023 Formula 3 campaign heads to more familiar venues. Having scored a podium in the opening Sakhir Sprint Race, the VAR racer has recorded no points finishes since and sits 13th in the Standings.
Nevertheless, their solid one-lap pace has given him a sense of confidence heading into Round 4 and he believes that the potential is there to push himself back up the order given how influential Qualifying will be.
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“Performance is roughly there I think, in both Qualifying sessions we were able to fight in the top 10. Both Sprint Races we were in the front, but I think we’re still missing that little extra to fight in the top three. Coming into Europe now, it’s tracks that we know a little bit better, so I think we can use that in our favour.
“My goal is to just do the best I can. I think for sure what you do in Free Practice will have a big influence and then you need to build your confidence together with the team and in the car. I think we have the potential to fight at the front and just see what we can do.”