Stepping up from ADAC Formula 4 to Formula 3 was always going to be a daunting prospect for 16-year-old Roman Stanek - who only joined Charouz Racing System in the week leading up to Round 1 – and the Czech driver admits he didn’t know what to expect from his debut.
In hindsight, tough probably would have sufficed. It’s been a difficult introduction to life on the Road to F1 for Stanek, who has impressed with his pace around one lap in Free Practice and Qualifying, but is yet to score a point in the races.
“I don’t think the results have ended up as we were expecting them to, but it is going a good way, so we are hoping for more in the next few races,” said Stanek.
“The level is really high. There are 30 cars out there and 30 of them are competitive, so if you make a small mistake, you can go from P10 to P20.
“I think that Qualifying, from my side, and from the engineers’ side has been good - knowing where to be, and when to push.
"We still have to improve in the races, because as you know, this car has quite a lot of downforce, so it is hard to stay behind somebody, and in F4, that wasn’t something that I was able to learn.”
The Czech was a late replacement for Niko Kari at Charouz, and as such, missed pre-season testing. Despite this, his initial impressions were extremely strong. Stanek took P3 in his first ever Free Practice, and 10th in Qualifying, in Spielberg.
A buzz of excitement quickly formed around the Czech driver, and although he would end up finishing in 17th in Race 1, it remained a mighty fine first effort for a young debutant.
Things have been a little tougher for him since, as he continues to search for his first points in F3, but he’s shown enough potential to know he can make the step up.
“I think that I can adapt quite quickly,” he explained. “There was a big break for everyone on the grid, from the last time anyone drove, including myself. So, it took them some time to get back into the rhythm of everything, which helped me, and I think I was quite quick to adapt.
“I am really happy with the chance that Charouz have given me, to jump from F4 to F3. But, I have a long way to go and I still need to improve. Both myself and the team are working hard and it is going in the right direction. The crew are nice, and I like my mechanics and engineers, so I am happy with the team.”