It’s rare in Zane Maloney’s career that he hasn’t been the first from his country to compete in each championship, and that will be the case again in Formula 3 when the Barbadian lines up on the grid for the first race of the season at Sakhir.
The Trident racer says he hopes to see the Barbados flag above the podium in his rookie year, although he can recall several appearances early in his career where they’ve had trouble finding the right flag, having never previously needed it.
“It’s different now, but at first when I was on the podium, they would almost forget the flag because they didn’t know what it looked like,” laughs Maloney. “To be the first one coming up from Barbados, doing these things, it is a privilege. I do it for my country and everyone back home.
“It is nice and sunny back home, so coming over to England in the cold is tough, but I have adjusted - I cannot wait to see that flag on the podium again. I am the first person from Barbados doing these things, so it is tough, but I have great sponsors, great backing and a great family.”
Maloney tested F3 machinery for the first time at the end of season tests in Valencia, making the top 10 in five out of six sessions.
“It was a great test,” he continued. “Trident were the best team last year, so to be able to drive for them and to be up there in the times was great. It doesn't really mean much until you get to the races but my first time in the F3 car went well.
“It’s a nice car, quicker than anything I have ever driven. Giacomo (Ricci) and all of the team were very welcoming straight away - it’s like a family. I will be at the factory a lot before the season to prepare.
“I don’t really have any expectations. Of course, I want to win the championship like any season, and with Trident, I think I have a good chance of being up there every round, so we are putting in as much work as possible.
“I have great sponsors who have allowed me to be here so I would like to thank Bushy Park Barbados, Rock Hard Cement, Alpinestars, Mjet FBO, my family and everyone who is supporting me. I cannot wait to start the season and hopefully get my country’s flag on the top step.”
After winning the 2019 British F4 Championship, the 18-year-old made the switch to Euroformula Open, where he finished eighth with Carlin, before spending 2021 in Formula Regional European.
Placing fourth with one win and a total of eight podiums from 20 races, Maloney felt it was a solid effort, adding that the ups and downs of the season reiterated the importance of consistency to him, an area he hopes to improve upon in F3.
“A lot of highs, but a few lows – I was pleased mostly, but two or three bad rounds cost us fighting for the championship,” he explained. “Winning at Monaco was amazing and there were a lot of other great, great moments last season with R-ace GP, who are a top team and did a great job all season long.
“In any Championship, I think the main thing is to be in the points all of the time, and then you'll be up there in the Championship fight. I wanted it to be better, of course, but I think I showed a lot of my ability and hard work.”
Asked what fans can expect from him, he added: “I would say that I am very aggressive. In slippery conditions, I am usually up there. I love racing and I have usually been good on the first lap.
“Last year I struggled a little bit in qualifying and I have been working to fix that, but on the racing side of things, I have always been very, very strong."