After enduring what he says was “definitely the toughest year” he’s had in racing, Kaylen Frederick is hoping that a positive season with Hitech Grand Prix can make the experience worthwhile.
A late arrival on the grid in 2021, Frederick missed all of post-season testing and only officially joined Carlin just over a month before the start of the season.
After an up-and-down opening few rounds, the American nabbed his first points in Race 1 at the Red Bull Ring, before injuries and illness ruled him out of the next two and caused him to go two months without driving.
He returned for the final two rounds of the season but failed to take any further points as he battled to re-adjust to the car.
“There was a lot learned from it, even if it doesn't look that way,” said Frederick. “There is something to be said for going through various trials and tribulations, it helps you learn. I think coming from a tough year, we can put something really special together.
“The positives that we took from last year may not show in the results, but in terms of what I learned about myself, I think that it was a positive year. I know a lot about where I need to be mentally.
“Last year, I was coming in pretty much fresh to most tracks, and although we have a few more new ones this year, I am feeling more comfortable with my track knowledge now. I know from previous years that I can be quite quick, so it is a matter of maximising it when it matters. That comes down to your preparation and how you are mentally.”
Making the top 10 in four out of five sessions at post-season testing in Valencia with Hitech Grand Prix, Frederick seemed to swiftly click with his new team, who, like him, are looking to bounce back after finishing sixth in the standings last year.
The team were title challengers in 2019 and frontrunners in 2020, so they will be looking to return to those heights this season with Frederick.
“We had a really, really good official test in Valencia, and that was promising,” he continued. “The team have had some great results in the past and have shown that they can be a race-winning outfit.
“I was pleasantly surprised with all of the different procedures in testing and their way of thinking. We were learning a lot every single session. There was a lot to think about, but I liked it because everyone was pushing, and it was a really nice team environment to be a part of.
“I think the key will be in my preparation. I kind of rushed into 2021, the deal with Carlin was done quite late and I didn't really do any proper F3 testing before 2021, whereas I am more prepared now.”