Jenzer Motorsport might just have made some of the shrewdest signings in the winter break. A very promising line-up of Taylor Barnard, Nikita Bedrin and Alejandro Garcia looked settled from the word go in Sakhir, Bahrain.
Two cars inside the top 10 on the first morning of pre-season testing kicked off what was a encouraging week for the Jenzer Motorsport crew, though the typical room for improvement remains. The boys in Jenzer blue look to be more than ready for the forthcoming campaign and already know where the key areas to fix are.
After the final days of on-track running ahead of the first race weekend of the season, 2023 could be a promising campaign for Jenzer Motorsport.
There were fits and bursts in 2022 that showed Jenzer could content for the points-paying positions, it was doing so on a consistent basis that proved the challenge for the team. This year, the target is clear: improve on the seven points finishes of last year. That should be well within range following the unveiling of its line-up for 2023.
Taylor Barnard arrives following a runner-up finish in the 2022 ADAC Formula 4 Championship. He also claimed P2 in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship in 2023 already, putting in some stand-out performances along the way. Nikita Bedrin finished two places back from Barnard in ADAC F4, and took two wins in FRMEC earlier this year. Alex Garcia was consistently in the points in Euroformula Open in 2022 en route to 7th in the standings.
In Bahrain, each had their challenges as rookies to Formula 3, but there was a positive undertone after stepping out of the car. For Barnard, Day 1 was a good start but ups and downs across the remainder of the test means there’s untapped potential heading into Round 1. The British driver says he is feeling comfortable though heading into the first race weekend of the year. He expects issues to be resolved, with the potential there for a good start to the year.
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“Bahrain for me as a rookie was quite a positive experience during the first test. I got settled into the car and the team very quickly and, as a result, the first day was a positive day and we had a fairly positive result.
“The second and third day we struggled a bit more with a few issues, but now we have a couple of days to step back and look at a few things, address the issues and solve them. Hopefully we can come back to the race weekend a lot stronger and take the results that we deserve.”
Across the garage, Bedrin was equally honest about how the test had gone. He underlined that there were some areas that needed tidying up, but he was equally enthusiastic about the prospect of that happening.
Last season, a best Qualifying result of 7th was the best the team managed. Making sure the drivers have a better chance of points starting higher up the order will go a long way in determining how the team’s season unfolds.
For Bedrin, Qualifying is the target area that will be the focus heading into Sakhir, and he has a good idea of where the lap time can be found.
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“It was quite ok for me, it wasn’t the best performance from me to be honest and we were still working on the car a bit. But it was only my second time in the car so I had to get used to it again because it’s been quite a long time since I drove it in Jerez.
“I think I did quite well, found improvements throughout the week but there’s still some to do, especially in Qualifying simulations – those weren’t so good. But the progress was good from the start. There’s still some things I need to improve and the team needs to improve also, but I think throughout the season, we can definitely do some good races and score good results.”
Of course, as rookies they will be facing an uphill battle versus those with experience in 2022 in relation to the Pirelli tyres. Ensuring peak performance is maintained throughout the race stints is a crucial factor in performance, and another area Bedrin says he made progress with in Bahrain.
The Jenzer man added that the Qualifying process he has become used to is totally different than the one F3 requires of the drivers.
“The tyres were completely different to the ones I used to drive in Formula Regional and Formula 4. Here you have to take care of them so much in the race because you can find so much more performance if you take care of them thoughout the race.
“That’s a key factor in Qualifying because usually you only have one lap. I struggled a bit to put the lap together because the second lap is usually at least half-a-second slower, or in that range anyway. That was my main struggle – putting one lap together, that’s the thing I need to work on the most but if I fix that, then results will definitely be better.”
With a strong line-up signed off the back of a positive 2022 season, Jenzer is targeting a step up from last year. Testing times can’t be taken at face value, but the team’s drivers feel the potential is there for some good races in 2023.