After a disappointing campaign for Carlin that saw them fail to build on the progress they made in 2020, boss Trevor Carlin says they’ll be undergoing a “bit of a restructure,” as he bids to shift his team towards the top of the table.
Carlin improved from ninth to eighth in 2020, taking their first two Formula 3 podiums thanks to Clement Novalak, but the British side failed to match or improve on that in 2021, dropping to last, with just 25 points.
It’s an experience that Carlin is determined not to repeat, and the team owner says the changes he’s been making are already bearing fruit.
“That is the 64-million-dollar question,” Carlin said when asked where the team need to improve. “We are working hard, and we are having a bit of a restructure. I am bringing in some new guys from an engineering point of view and it’s already having a positive input.
“They are bringing in good ideas and I think all in all, we should make a reasonable step forward. We have got a good understanding of what we need to fix, and fingers crossed, we can fix our issues, but it isn't just one thing, it’s not that straightforward.”
One of three teams to run an all-rookie line-up in 2021 - featuring ADAC Formula 4 Champion Jonny Edgar, BRDC British Formula 3 winner Kaylen Frederick and two-time Euroformula Open podium finisher Ido Cohen - Carlin refused to pin any of the team’s struggles on the lack of experience in his side, praising all three of his drivers.
“The (lack of experience) doesn’t help, but to be fair, we started the year off reasonably well, and as the drivers got more experienced, we seemed to get worse and worse,” Carlin said. “At the end of the day, you can’t, and we won’t, lay the blame at the driver’s door.
“We didn't do a good enough job as a team - we need to pull our socks up and do a better job. I think that it would be unfair to blame the drivers, if you give your drivers a fast car, then they drive fast, it’s as simple as that.#
We are having a bit of a restructure. I am bringing in some new guys from an engineering point of view and it’s already having a positive input.
“All of the drivers kept their chins up when we were struggling, though, and I have to thank all three of them for bearing with us. They have all learned loads because sometimes in adversity you learn an awful lot.
“When it is too easy, you don't dig deep, and all three of them have had to dig deep this year, and I am sure that all three of them will be stronger for the experience next year, wherever they end up driving.”
Edgar was Carlin’s highest points scorer this year, impressing with five top 10 finishes and 18th in the Drivers’ Championship.
There was also plenty of promise shown by Cohen in the latter stages of the campaign, with the Israeli starting Race 2 in Zandvoort from reverse grid pole, only falling out of the points due to a penultimate lap collision with Dennis Hauger.
It was more of a stop-start season for Frederick, who seemed to be hitting his stride in Round 3 with his first points in Race 1, before a wrist injury and a positive COVID-19 test saw him miss two rounds.
“Jonny (Edgar) was fabulous, a great team player, he got involved” continued Carlin. “He was never happy when we weren't doing well, but he had a positive outlook and we kept pushing forwards.
“Ido (Cohen) was absolutely fab in Zandvoort, he was on fire. If it wasn't for that little incident at the end of the race, then I was hoping he would finish around the top five, which would have been brilliant for him. but that is racing. They have all learned from things and I hope they can improve next year.”
“It was tough for Kaylen (Frederick). We were just starting to get on top of things, and it was going quite well, but then he was out for two rounds, which was a disaster. He lost a lot of momentum, especially with so few races this season.
“To lose two rounds was pretty tough on him - he was just starting to get on top of things, and you could see he was improving.”