Thoughts from Maloney, Stanek & Bearman
FIA Formula 3: Zane Maloney, FIA Formula 3 Race Winner on a Sunday. How does that sound?
Zane Maloney: Yeah, it sounds amazing! Of course, the day that we had yesterday was probably the worst day of my career, I was very lucky to get out of that crash uninjured. It was a very, very big crash. So obviously the team got no sleep to rebuild a new car and put a new engine in. They did an amazing job, and I was just the last part of the puzzle.
FIA Formula 3: Last part of the puzzle, but there was a lot of work to do on track. Can you take us through the start and that moment where you overtook Caio Collet but then you had to give the position back?
Maloney: I got a really good start. In turn 1 I tried to stay behind Caio to get the slipstream to Eau Rouge, which I got, and we were side by side into Turn 5. I thought I was a bit ahead but obviously, I saw he was coming in quite quickly, so instead of trying to get around and maybe crash, I just cut the chicane and obviously I had a feeling that I would have to give back the place. I tried to do it in a good way, but he had just been overtaken by Oliver at that point, so yeah, it was very difficult.
FIA Formula 3: It was an eventful race with Safety Car periods. How difficult was it for you to stay focused and manage the lead?
Maloney: Once I got into the lead I didn’t think that Caio had the pace compared to Roman and me, so it was quite difficult for him to stay where he was and I was just trying to save the tyres at that point to keep a good distance to him. When Roman got by, he was just as fast or even a bit faster than me, so I then started to have to push quite hard and the last two laps were really tough. The rears were going away quite a lot. I'm happy to bring it home.
FIA Formula 3: It was a strong weekend for Trident, especially today. What does it tell you after a season of ups and downs?
Maloney: As I said, they've done an amazing job all season long, I think they’ve deserved a lot more than they've gotten, so to do a 1-2 today and to have Roman and Johnny up there yesterday as well it’s good points for this weekend. Now it's time to push on for the next two rounds.
FIA Formula 3: We're back on track next week in Zandvoort. What are your expectations for that round over there?
Maloney: I'm glad to be back in three or four days. The short breaks are the best. We just need to keep the momentum going. We've been there all year, so just try to continue to push hard and I'm sure if we do the job, we'll be at least close to the front. The plan is to just continue to work hard and do the same thing.
FIA Formula 3: Well thank you very much Zane, and congratulations for today. Roman Stanek, P2 in today's FIA Formula 3 Feature Race here at Spa-Francorchamps, another podium finish for you this weekend. How are you feeling right now?
Roman Stanek: It's not a win, to be honest, but I feel like I've done a good job and also the team did an amazing job to place all three cars in the top spots. But as I said, it's not the win. So, we keep working and we will try to bounce back to the top place in Zandvoort.
FIA Formula 3: Let's talk about today's race. How tricky were the conditions out there?
Stanek: The start was quite ok, there was not any big issues. Then we had two Safety Cars. It's tough, you know, this track it seems that it's quick, but from the quick corners, you get a lot of degradation on the tires. So, you have to push, but at the same time, you have to save the tyre. It was a tough race, but to be honest. It's just amazing to drive around this track. With the elevation and all the special corners. We did a bike ride on Wednesday here, me and my manager, and it's just amazing.
FIA Formula 3: You're mentioning that P2 today is not the win. What was missing from you today to get the win?
Stanek: I think just to start a bit more in the front. In Qualifying I was a bit unlucky with the yellow flag in the last corner, I was not able to push on the last lap there. Starting P5 is good, but it's not the best. Of course, this compromised today's win.
FIA Formula 3: You mentioned the fact that in a few days' time we're going to be in Zandvoort for Round 8. How are you going to prepare for this challenge? Obviously, you scored big points, the aim is still the title, I'm guessing?
Stanek: The aim is to do the best job possible, so if we have the car to win, we will try to win, but if we have the car to be P5, we'll take P5. The same with me. I will try to extract the best. I never want to look back and say that I didn't do my best. This is the worst thing you can feel. So, we’ll just continue to do our best and we will count the points after Sunday's race in Monza. I'm sure we will do a big, big party with Trident because I think we will have a good year behind us!
FIA Formula 3: Thank you very much. Well done this weekend. Oliver Bearman, P3 in today's Feature Race here at Spa-Francorchamps, following a maiden win yesterday in the Sprint Race, now you're 105 points in the standings, one point from Isack Hadjar who's leading the Championship overall. Would you say that it's been a good weekend?
Oliver Bearman: Yeah, it was a really good weekend. I was a bit disappointed after quali because I don't think I maximized everything and I made a bit of a mistake on my last lap, which I knew would be the fastest because the track was getting faster every lap. So I was a bit disappointed after quali, but I knew this track is probably the best place to qualify low down because of the overtaking opportunities. I knew there was some potential there and I knew I could fight for podiums in both races and managed to score them. So, I think I maximized the weekend and that was our goal.
FIA Formula 3: Let's talk about today's race. Lots of action, it looked like it was hard for you to get onto that podium. How was it from the car?
Bearman: It was a really tough race, but also I really enjoyed it. I spent a lot of the race fighting with Jonny who's tough but fair, which is really nice. There are not many people like that in this Championship where you know, when you go side by side with him, whatever the outcome, it will be a fair result. So yeah, we had some good fighting in the Les Combes chicane. A few times we were side by side, but it was always totally fair from both of us. So, I was really happy with that and I managed to eventually pass him, but it was really tough with the DRS gains because we have a double DRS zone before Turn 1 and also before Les Combes. It's tough, it's a really strategic game. I managed to pass him into Turn 1. He was always leaving T1 open up, kind of inviting me to take it because then he would try to pass me back down the Kemmel Straight, but I managed eventually to pass him and stay in front then. Finally, on the last lap I passed Oliver. It was difficult because he was doing a good job with the defence. I was side by side the last lap into Eau Rouge and so I missed out on the DRS, which is really annoying. But it’s really nice to get on the podium, the hard work paid off.
FIA Formula 3: P3 in the Feature Race seems to be your flow lately. What are you missing to improve that position?
Bearman: As I said, the quali was really poor from my side. So that's I think the difference between winning the Feature Race and P3. Luckily, because of the bad quali, I was starting near the front for the Sprint Race, so I took the win there. Obviously, it's kind of like a ‘fake win’, I'm still rooting for the Feature Race win. I think it will come, but due to factors that I messed up, or were out of our control in these last rounds meant I wasn't quite there to fight. These safety cars didn't help because I really felt I had mega pace, but I couldn't do enough with it. To be honest, I'm just happy to take the points. I'm not so worried about winning the Feature Race, just increasing the points and maximizing the package.
FIA Formula 3: It's very tight at the front of the Championship. First of all, did you imagine yourself to be in this position with two rounds to go? And what's the plan for next week?
Bearman: Yeah, it's super close now. The other Championship contenders had a really difficult weekend, so I felt like I capitalized on that side. It's really tight at the top, I think the top five are all in with a chance, so it will be super interesting. I'm just trying to keep the same approach, to score as many points as I can and just go for it. I'm not really looking so much to the Championship because it's not my goal. I didn't enter this season with the goal of winning the Championship. I entered the season with the goal of maximizing everything, doing the best job I can, and improving race by race.
FIA Formula 3: Well, good job this weekend and we'll see you in a few days' time.