His signing with MP Motorsport has been confirmed and Jonny Edgar has been hard at work preparing for his third campaign in Formula 3, one he hopes will culminate with a pursuit of the Drivers’ Championship.
Following the trials and tribulations last season that included a battle back to full health and return to the Championship following an absence of recovery, the Briton has been hard at work with his new team preparing for the new campaign.
“I'm excited to be joining MP Motorsport for another year of F3. The test went quite well with them and it's nice to be racing with them. I think we have a really nice team and it’s good to have strong teammates as well. Hopefully we can do well this year.
“I went to the factory in October and November last year. I'm going again next week to make the seat fit and do some simulation running with the team. It’s winter so I’ve really just been spending time at home and training really.”
That test in Jerez following the end of the 2022 season was the first taste of what this season might hold for Edgar. Joining a team that recorded nine podium finishes last year with three of those being race victories, the standards and expectations are high already.
Having experienced the car, team and having had some time to get himself reacquainted with some familiar faces, Edgar says that the transition to MP has been as smooth as he might have hoped for.
“It felt a little bit different from what I was used to. You always get that between teams - things feeling a bit different, but I already knew a few of the people at the team, so it made it a bit easier getting used to things. I tested with them in F3 back in 2020, so that made it a bit easier already knowing a lot of the team, it obviously helped me even if some things had changed. In different teams you get used to having different or a few new things to get used to. It all went quite well and all felt good.”
Though the break between the final race of last year at Monza and the first round of 2023 in Sakhir has been a long one, it has been a welcome respite for Edgar. The 18-year-old admits that it has been boring at times to not be racing, but the opportunity to build up to full fitness has been a huge benefit according to the man himself.
With the season in full swing upon his return in 2022, it wasn’t until after the summer break that Edgar felt some semblance of satisfaction with his performance levels from a fitness standpoint. That has only been strengthened in the off season between the ’22 and ’23 campaigns, with Edgar stating that he feels he will be back to his best by the time the grid forms up once again in Bahrain.
“It's obviously a bit boring being at home for so long, but it's been nice to have some time for training consistently for me because last year, obviously when I came back after being ill, my fitness was always improving but even by the end of the year, I wasn't 100%. So it's nice to have this time to be consistently at home and improve our fitness which has been good.
“I think you saw at the end of last year I was getting better and better and better fitness-wise. Even in the last few rounds, I wasn't 100%, but I was a lot closer to where I wanted to be, so it was more that kind of way. Every weekend was getting easier and easier and as it got easier for me, the results improved. I was in the top 10 regularly in the last three rounds, it all went pretty well. I had four top five finishes as well and was in the points in all six of those races, it was much better.”
One new challenge facing all the drivers will be the tackling of Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia as Formula 3 heads down under for the first time ever. Melbourne will be the third round of the season and part of the year Edgar believes will be critical to any drivers’ hopes of making a serious title bid.
From there, Edgar says that keeping things consistent in the middle phase of the year to keep himself in touching distance of the title is the aim. Fighting for the crown in the final stages of the season will be an altogether different task though as Edgar has split up the season in terms of mentality and approach.
“The goal is to start off strong because most years you see that as you go through, everyone gets closer and closer throughout the year. Rookies improve and maybe if someone's been getting Qualifying wrong or making mistakes, everyone kind of fixes it. So I think it's quite important to try and start off strong. From there, you can train to stay consistent rather than having to train while catching. Having a lot of experience should help.
“There are a few new tracks as well, Australia's new for everyone so that'll be interesting. For teams and drivers, I think there we’ll see bigger differences between people who get it right and wrong. I'm looking forward to that track. Albert Park is a track that’s really quick, especially now since they changed it for last year. I'm looking forward to going to Australia, maybe not the travelling, that won't be very fun. But once I'm there, it should be good.
“My target for this year is just to be consistently up front and in Championship contention. Obviously I want to and everyone wants to win the Championship, but there's so much that can go right or wrong. Just being consistently there and at least in range for the final three rounds and a chance at the Championship, then you can kind of see how it goes because you can get lucky or unlucky or someone else can get unlucky. Then from there you also need to not make any mistakes. That’s the goal.”