The news is out, Jonny Edgar is returning to Trident at Silverstone after missing the second and third rounds of the 2022 season.
Following his recovery from health issues that meant he missed races in Imola and Barcelona, the Briton will be back in the driving seat and has been training in anticipation of a return.
We spoke to the Red Bull junior about his time away from F3, training, his mentality heading into his first home race in single-seaters and return to the Championship.
“I’m really happy to be back. I didn't expect to be back this quickly. From what the doctor that we spoke to said and also just how I felt, I thought it would be a lot longer before I'd be back. But, once I started improving, I improved pretty quickly and then started training again. My fitness is obviously not what it was, but I’ve got back to a good enough level pretty quickly I’d say.”
The comeback has been a while in the making. Edgar stepped up his recovery efforts in pursuit of racing fitness over the past month after a call from Trident enquiring about his status came through.
Since then, he says he has been focused on getting in the best shape possible for a return and has been hard at work, ensuring he’ll be ready for the challenge come Silverstone.
“I found out four weeks ago. Trident called up and asked me if it was possible and if I wanted to come back. It took a little bit to decide because I didn't know if I'd be fit enough but I was improving still. We decided that I'd be fit enough to be able to race. Obviously since then, I've improved more and more so I think it should be okay.
“I was working on general fitness because you need to ‘break in’ the neck, upper body and steering. I was just getting back to a decent level so that I could get through the weekend without struggling too much. I think the races, especially Silverstone, will be hard. The first weekend back always will be, but as long as I think I can get through Qualifying, everything being fine. Hopefully I can do well in that and then in the race it won’t matter too much if I get tired, which I expect.”
He has also been keeping a close eye on proceedings from the sidelines during his break away. The 2022 season has been a tightly contested one, with ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins the current leader on 62 points.
The returning Trident driver has been impressed with the level of competition and says he expects nothing less with margins as fine as they are in the Championship.
“It looks quite good. I think no one has been quick every weekend, but because the level is so high, I think you only need to be a little bit off and you can easily end up finishing eighth or ninth in a race. It's hard to be consistent even at the front because of how close it is. And it only takes one thing being a tiny bit off to end up not scoring highly.
“It's been good, and I think it's interesting. You never know going into a weekend who's going to be right at the front. You know who’ll be quick but still, sometimes it's people you don't expect and it’s people you’re expecting quick who struggle more.”
If his return wasn’t already challenging enough, Edgar will be tackling the famous Silverstone circuit for the first time in his single-seater career.
It’s something that the home driver is relishing despite his disadvantage of missing races versus his teammates and rivals, and he says he’s looking forward to the prospect of a weekend racing on home soil.
“It's quite nice. I've never actually raced at Silverstone in single-seaters because I raced in Italy and in Germany. I’ll be there for the first time to race at home. This year I thought I was going to miss it so it’s nice to be racing at home for the first time, but it’s good to have as the first one back.”
With the time away from the Championship recovering from his health issues, Edgar is expecting a tricky return. Trident currently sits third in the Teams’ Standings and has been competitive as usual this year.
Preparations are still ongoing for Edgar, who was in Italy until recently catching up with the team at its base in Milan. Since then, he has flown back to the UK in order to utilise the Red Bull simulator in Milton Keynes, ensuring that he is as prepared as possible for what lies ahead.
“I was in the Red Bull simulator yesterday. I was in Italy but flew home from Trident. I've been there all of this week, checking the seat fit and pedals are all still okay.”
Edgar says that while he’ll be stepping into the unknown versus where he left the team earlier this year, he’s still setting his sights high and hopes to achieve a respectable finish rather than just seeing the chequered flag.
“It's difficult to know what to expect really. Obviously, the car is really good. All three rounds this year we've had two poles and Roman (Stanek)’s been on the front row every week, top two in Qualifying every week, so I'd say it's definitely good.
“Mainly I just need to see how it goes. I think it's difficult to guess, it's possible I could do well, but maybe it'll be difficult and I won't do so well. I just want to be improving from wherever I'm at really.
“I'd be happy with scoring some points in one of the races at least, just to get some points. That would be nice. I think if I score anything, I'd be happy with the weekend. Obviously, it still depends on a lot because there's traffic in Qualifying and there's a lot of other factors to it. I think in the end, even if I got unlucky but the pace was good, I'd be happy with that for the first weekend back.”